Thursday, May 3, 2007

rally up the neighborhood

I wish rallies went like the one in An American Tail where somebody stood on a hat and slammed their fist in their hand and everyone cheered. This was still a good one though.

Photo credit Melissa Guay of the Post Star

We walked around - led by a big flag that said "PEACE". I held a sign that said "Bush Lost the War - Support Our Troops - Bring them Home" that somebody else had brought extra of. There were some younger people who brought a rattle made of nutshells and a djembe drum and those tubes that whistle when you spin them. We walked by a store owner who smiled at us and said his son had served a year in Iraq and I started tearing up. We ended up standing by the construction at an intersection (at the end of South Street). The drumming, rattling, and whistling made it feel like we were doing something, that we were cohesive, that this was almost a ritual- something more than just standing there. Cory showed up and sort of hid behind a construction barricade because he was kind of embarrassed that we were standing at an intersection. After a while he came out from behind it though, and drummed a little on a construction barrel. One guy had driven by and seen us protesting, and he ran home and made a sign ("BUSH PULL OUT THE WAY YOUR FATHER SHOULD'VE") on a piece of sheetrock and came and stood with us, paint from his signmaking smudged on his cheek. He said his friend was over there and they had tried to get him to go. He wanted to call his friend to get him to come down, so I let him borrow my cell phone, but his friend wouldn't come.

I was proud to be with these people, these informed people that were willing to give up their usual suppertime and after-dinner TV to make a statement. We stood there for almost an hour and so many people gave us a thumbs-up or a smile or a wave or a honk or the peace sign. I was thinking, someday I can tell my kids about this. Maybe me standing on a street corner with a bunch of people isn't going to make Bush go "oh, never mind about the veto," but it's something. I can say I tried. It's better than sitting at home watching TV. And it says something to the American people, seeing us there. You can sit at home and have your opinions, but nobody's going to know them unless you get out there and tell them. I was really proud and glad.

We made the newspaper. At the end they say that a soldier says "these guys are going to come over here and kill us if there's no war". And I know he was over there, but I wonder how much of it was drilled into his head in boot camp and how much he knows from experience. I mean, did an Iraqi come up to him and say "I'm going to come over there and kill you unless you kill me first," or was it just his supervisor saying "If you see anybody that looks threatening, kill them, and this is why we're here..."? I guess I won't know. We'll just have to wait and see...

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