Sunday, December 6, 2009

The Good Fight

With Obama's announcement this week of 30,000 more troops being deployed to Afghanistan, I got to thinking about a small group of war protesters that's become a fixture in the center of town.

Sure as the clock, there they were again yesterday afternoon. They've gathered every Saturday at 3:00 for the last six years, regardless of blizzards, thunderstorms, high winds, or busy traffic.

They never have meetings and they don't socialize together. They simply show up.

It's always the same group of a people: a retired nurse (scarf and yellow sign), a retired social worker (behind the nurse), an electrical engineer (baseball cap), a guy who "works in a bank" (hat and sunglasses), a grizzled and confrontational aging hippie (who refused to have his picture taken unless I picked up a sign and joined them), and a sweet, stout woman who may be his wife (not pictured, but carrying a 'Books Not Bombs' sign).

These may not be the kinds of people you'd enjoy running into at a party. They've got that activist fatigue I've recognized in myself and certain friends at times: Why am I doing so much, why don't other people pitch in more often, why do we have to go it alone every week? It makes them a little bit surly.

But surly serves you well when you're passionate about what you're doing, and when what you're doing is just. The jury's still out, at least for me, on how big an impact these tiny demonstrations may have on actual policy. But in a world where tech-savvy people have far sexier options, like joining Move On or signing electronic petitions, I'm glad for aging Lefties with placards. And I'm glad for the endurance of sayings like 'Books Not Bombs,' at least while books still exist for a while.


leslie said...

The nurse with the yellow sign is my favorite! We have a similar group here—every Saturday at noon, in front of the courthouse. I admire them. I wished I could believe their voices are heard.

berdawn said...

Great post! (as always)