Bernie Ellis: OpEdNews’ 'Local Hero' #8
By Joan Brunwasser, Voting Integrity Editor, OpEdNews April 5, 2006
I first encountered Bernie Ellis in Cleveland last fall. I was at the People Count 2006 election integrity conference. Bernie wasn’t actually in Cleveland himself. As it turns out, he was already serving time in the half-way house where he is finishing up his eighteen-month sentence for distributing medical marijuana to terminally ill patients (through their social workers). I 'met' his celluloid self via David Earnhardt’s Eternal Vigilance, which I have, by now, seen a number of times. It’s a fine documentary about the Nashville National Election Reform Conference, held in April 2005 which gathered several hundred concerned citizens from 30 states, equally divided between ‘blue’ and ‘red’. Since it took place so close on the heels of the 2004 election, the conference had a sort of post-mortem feel. We survived, we're grieving, we're together. Now, what are we going to do?
This conference was organized by Bernie Ellis and had such a profound effect on me that I felt somehow that I was there, although I first heard of it after it had already taken place. The poignant and always-pertinent words that Bernie used to bring the conference to a close have stayed with me: “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for”. To me, the meaning is clear: it’s up to us, individually and en masse, to bring about change which will not happen any other way. Not of its own accord, not haphazardly, not by a few select ‘activists’ alone, not without a huge concerted push by concerned citizens everywhere. It's become something of a mantra for me. No more lolligagging, no more sitting on the sidelines. It's time to jump in. Now!
Bob Koehler has written an article about Bernie Ellis that I’m confident you will find both interesting and inspiring. I have Bob’s permission to include his piece (below) with these words as a forward. I wanted to nominate Bernie for OpEdNews’ “Local Heroes” corner, and this seemed like an appropriate time and manner to do so. I am filled with deep admiration for him. Let me know if you agree.
Original Content at OpEdNews: http://www.opednews.com/articles/opedne_bob_koeh_070405_devil_weed.htm
April 5, 2007
“Devil Weed” By Bob Koehler