Peace rally a bust

Posted: Wednesday, March 31, 2004

I was at the peace rally on March 20, shivering in the setting sun as 900 or so names of the dead were read off by a cadre of middle-aged former activists and veterans. Occasionally, a name would choke an audible sob out of the readers' throat, but more often the names were read in such docility that they couldn't be heard over the passing cars.

This demonstration was a dismal failure, people. As the litany of too many quiet deaths drew to a close, we left our gathering place in front of the empty Capitol Building, we strolled down nearly empty streets past the empty Governor's Mansion to a warm potluck. On the way, a young activist's attempts at rallying some passion and attention through shouting protest slogans went largely ignored. Maybe the other marchers didn't really want to protest?

What was the point of this event? Hardly anyone even saw it except those with enough determination toward protesting this unjust war to come out on their weekend and stand in the cold for a couple of hours. I salute those with such determination, but I hope you realize that it was merely an exercise in assuaging your own guilt. Since you went out of your way to ensure that none who didn't wish to would be exposed to your opinions, this demonstration was wholly and completely for you, and your sensitive egos.

But, sheepish though it was, at least the people who attended the demonstration were doing something. Where were the rest of you? Where were the thousands I know are out there who don't feel that war is the answer to America's (or the world's) problems? It was your absence that made the protests dismal and ineffective, it is your apathy that allows this war of power and profit to continue. Remember that all that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men and women to do nothing.

I beg of you, we must all stop doing nothing. We are all good people here. We must wake up, get up, and get in the faces of those who would continue the war. We must cause trouble for those who profit from war. We must, if we are to change anything. It will be unpleasant, yes. But it will be far less unpleasant than the daily life of those who suffer under American Empire.

Joe Richardson


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