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Commentary: Protest Activity
Peace and Justice Vigil with Treats
by Roger Goldblatt submitted by Sharon
Email: slockhart (at) kc.rr.com (unverified!)
Current rating: 0
24 Jul 2003
Report on the weekly Tuesday evening Vigil at 63rd & Ward Parkway from our dauntless leader, Roger Goldblatt.
Dear Peace and Justice Advocates,
Tonight was something of an emotional roller coaster with more ups than downs. Our crowd was good -we set a new high for after the bombs started dropping -19 people! Besides our 19, GI Joe was back -plus, as an added bonus, a
reporter for the Kansas City Star, Mike Sherry came to the rally and stayed an hour or more. He interviewed several of our folks, and hopefully his article about the peace movement and the non-existent weapons of mass destruction
will not be relegated once more to the back pages of the Star.
As always there was a lot of enthusiasm from the passersby. And we endured the random personal insult.
Most exciting of all a stranger stopped by just as the rally was getting under way. She said she appreciated what we were doing and then gave us an ice filled cooler with water bottles and little chocolate Hershey bars. The
emotional sustenance of her offering equaled or surpassed the food value of what she gave us.
Then Carol arrived with another cooler filled with ice cold red, white, and blue bonpops -those in honor of my birthday this last weekend!
And you have to know the week is going good when Dick Gephardt says that W. is the worst president he's served under, and he's so bad that he actually pines for the halcyon days of Reagan and Nixon! That's bad! (http://www.commondreams.org/headlines03/0720-06.htm)
Our question of the week concerned the imbalance between military spending and government spending for social programs. One of the veterans in our group -she served for 10 years in the Army-pointed out that not only has Jr. cut back veterans' benefits but -GET THIS-since W. unilaterally declared that hostilities were over on May 1, soldiers serving in Iraq are not entitled to extra combat related pay. So the average private gets about $18,000.00 a year for putting his or her life on the line -and there have been one or two American deaths a day since Bush declared the hostilities had ceased.
All this puts a new meaning to "Support Our Troops".
My favorite sign tonight came from the rally in
Lawrence today in protest of Condaleeza Rice. Rice spoke at a ceremony at the opening of the Bob Dole Institute at the University of Kansas in Lawrence. Referring to Dole's
advertisements for Viagra, the sign read "Viagra helps you make love; Condaleeza helps you make war".
We've been told President Carter's speech at the opening ceremonies was focused, hard-hitting and pointedly critical of Bush. I hope to be able to find it on the Internet.
Near the end of our meeting which followed our demonstration, a neighbor from across the street asked a favor of our group. He asked that we move our
demonstration because he said the honks disturbed his daughter who was studying during our rally.
After he left we discussed his request. It was a lively discussion but the clear group consensus was, though some of us would have liked to have accommodated his wishes, ultimately we did not want to move the venue of our
There were various solid reasons for this, all too numerous to compile. However, this issue certainly is a "sticky wicket", as many of us are aware that our presence in the neighborhood might be disruptive in some way to the neighbors, if only for 90 minutes once a week. Though we have two very friendly neighbors that often speak to us as they walk their dog, we've been met with open hostility by the eggman. Also one other neighbor, only once -and some months ago at that-complained that her husband's migraines were made worse by the noise accompanying our demonstration.
Hopefully our Eagle Scout, who was entrusted with diplomatically conveying our decision to the neighbor today, was able to make peace with him. We hope he will be flexible enough to accommodate our needs for 90 minutes each week. Not only might our presence teach his studious daughter important lessons about democracy in action, but his house is large enough that if the honks of passing cars disturb his daughter, it is our hope that she might be willing to study in the back of the house for those 90 minutes.
For our part, we are truly sorry for the inconvenience, and many of us have decided it would be best to protest in the median, and not on the sidewalk adjacent to his home. We are also aware we are in a neighborhood, and will
try whenever we can to be sensitive to the homeowner's needs, by picking up our trash, and perhaps not lingering too long in front of the homes after the rally…
Let's hope this works out next week and in the future.
Two announcements of upcoming events: don't miss Kathy Kelly from Voices in The Wilderness this Thursday at All Souls Unitarian Church, 7 PM @ 45th and Warwick. I am very excited about her talk; she is a unique and inspired
modern day mentor.
And this Sunday @ 4 PM the KC Iraq Task Force is holding their monthly rally on the Plaza. Go to the KC Iraq Task Force website to learn about both events: http://www.kciraqtaskforce.org/
Hope to see you next Tuesday.