Wednesday, January 31, 2007

We Have A Problem

This Peace March on Tuesdays started just a little over a week ago. A few of us were talking in the Black Cat Coffeehouse about the world situation, namely, the War in Iraq. I said I needed to do more as an individual to help try to end it. Some sort of protest over and above writing letters to Senators and Congresspeople.

I made a pledge to start having a march for the end of the war once per week as I've seen in other places. I thought Ashland needed to have peace marches more often that the rate at which they were taking place. I said I would be on the corner once per week and I would start next Tuesday at 4:00 PM and stay out there for one hour each week.

My idea was received by a few others that said that if I did that, they would join me. I said I was going to do it. My plan was to make the issue only one issue, the WAR. I wasn't interested in blaming or trying to turn people away from other issues pertinent in America and/or abroad. I wanted to focus on one issue. I wanted an end to the war, I wanted our country to be at peace.

We have marched two times now. I carry a sign that asks onlookers to do something to help stop the war. A couple of the others that heard about the march and wanted to partake in it brought signs that were political and against the war, but also raised other issues. One passerby thought we needed to stop abortion and we shouldn't be protesting war, go figure.

The problem is this: Do we march to end the war and that is our only issue? Or do we march for any issue anyone wants to carry a sign for?

I believe that the common ground of 'end the war and return to peace' can bring many people together. I also believe that raising many issues in a march such as this distracts from the ending the war issue and doesn't do a lot to bring people together. I feel some who are against the war, but not against all republican policies, might join in if the issue was one thing, ending the war.

Another says that if they didn't cause trouble and there wasn't bloodshed and fighting, the Vietnam war would never have ended. He says that he would fight if confronted. When someone yells at him, he yells back. When someone flips him off, he flips them back.

Maybe we need to become a company or corporation and organize and lay down guidelines. Maybe our experiment needs a leader that will, with the help of interested parties, write these guidelines.

As it is now, we are unorganized and anything goes. One guy had a sign that said "Get rid of the King". Another said "Impeach Bush". Others were, "End the war" and "Really Support the troops. Bring them Home". Many of us are peaceful and want to peacefully demonstrate. We would lie still on the ground and wait to be carried away if we were arrested. Completely non-violent.

I ask you to give me your opinions. What should we do? What kind of protest march for peace should this be? Should we call a meeting and elect or pronounce a leader? Should we keep the protest at one issue, peace? Or should all the issues be

Please help me out with your opinions. Please do not use this comment section on this post to mount your own protest, but rather use it to help guide us towards a decision on how to proceed with this peace march. If you need more information in order to help us, please ask in comments or e-mail me. The address is on my profile.

Thank you for your consideration. I will be back Friday as I am going out of town until then. Thank you for coming to this sight. Thank you for helping us.


Coffee Messiah said...

I'm so sorry I forgot about giving you a call ; (

From my interactions, you can't debate people that differ so much they attemptto get in your face, or go the childish route and call you names, or flip you off. Better to take a high ground and pretend they are not there!

Sounds as if weather may have been a factor in numbers, but even small numbers show you care, and that's all that matters. ; )

betmo said...

probably should have some ground rules- nonviolence only- and perhaps only pick one thing to protest. whoever your regulars are should form the consensus- and then you just inform the newbies as they come and go. doesn't make much sense to have a protest for peace if folks are going to be confrontational or meet violence with violence.

Mary said...

I agree w/Betmo. Seems contradictory if there is unpeaceful stuff going on. And if children are around it sets a bad example. The protesters I have discovered in my town just got a write up in the local paper. They call it a SILENT vigel and only hold signs that say end the war, Support the troops bring them home. They also have one designated speaker who disucsses what they stand for should anyone ask. The day I was with the Women IN Black they called it a silent vigil too.

DivaJood said...

Spado, one of the problems with peace marches and rallies is that there are often so many fringe groups that it distracts from the message.

Recent example: huge rally in Hollywood had a group claiming meat eaters were murderers; another group of anarchists were calling for the overthrow of government; another group was calling for the dissolution of the State of Israel.

What any of this had to do with the message of peace was beyond me. Also, I believe there is a difference between being anti-war and pro-peace. We attract what we put out in the world, and anger begets more anger.

Spadoman said...

Thank you, each and every one of you, for your comments and input. I also received a comment and some ideas from Anne, "Queen Anne's Revenge"
Via e-mail.

All but one of the group that originated this idea are thinking the same way. We'll see what the future brings.

Thanks again.