Sunday, March 21, 2010

Why March?

"To get from one place to another," according to my basic training drill sergeant. That's pretty much the entire point. From that perspective, after seven years of war, another march against the war doesn't take us anyplace we need to go. I did not march yesterday. The time and effort to travel to Seattle for any large-scale march (for which I find no evidence in the local media) the is just not worth it. I and many other Americans have been in the streets since 2003. Maybe we kept things from getting worse but we did not stop the greatest disaster of all: extended wars of occupation and garrisoned military bases around the world. To keep doing the same things and expecting different results makes no sense. If I'm marching I want to be going someplace.

Maybe 10,000, maybe less, turned out in DC yesterday to remind our government that many Americans do not consent to war in our name. I'm disappointed that the message doesn't come through more forcefully. Hundreds of thousands should be in the streets, just as millions around the world said "No!" to war seven years ago. Americans overwhelmingly voted to end the war in November 2008. But then, that didn't work, so maybe most of us have decided not to waste the effort required to march.

Here in Olympia, Veterans For Peace held a candlelight vigil Friday evening at Sylvester Park downtown for Iraqi civilians killed in the crossfire. We put up about 500 markers with the names of dead civilians of all ages and circumstances. At 7:34 pm, the time on 19 March 2003 of the first shock and awe strike, we read one name and rang a bell in memory of the dead. We did that 13 more times. Earlier in the evening our regular Friday vigil had more than the usual suspects and the Artesian Rumble Arkestra had its largest ensemble ever--I counted 18 musicians. I had a good breeze for my VFP flag.

Yesterday's marchers, however few, have my appreciation. As frustrating as it may be to petition without effect, the effort keeps the idea alive, still percolating somewhere in the national consciousness. Fortunately, the DC marchers had good weather and from the looks of it some had a good time. If nothing else, joining thousands of others in the streets, is a good reminder that we are not alone.

Best slogan: "Jobs and Education. Not War."

Best sign: "Drop My Tuition. Not Bombs."

Snarkiest sign: "Pinochet's Buddy, Kissinger, Has a Peace Prize, Too."

Labels: , , ,