by Martin Murie
(Swans - December 28, 2009) Saturday in Yellow Springs, snow and cold. Fourteen protesters showed up. We continue to hammer away opposing wars, but manage to slip in Single Payer Health Care and Global Warming. Alison made a poster: GET WAR OUT OF GLOBAL WARMING. I carried my battered old poster, GET OUT OF AFGHANISTAN . . . . AMERICANS WAKE UP.
Anyway, we were all cheered by the good showing. I took a break, walked a couple of blocks, stopped briefly in The Emporium to get warm, then bought cards, Leanin' Tree brand at Dark Star. I heard trombone music, went there, and listened to a group of seven old gents having a great time. At the end of the piece I asked the leader to drop in on our antiwar protest. He said that they were about to break up, no time to visit us. He didn't say a word of objection to our protesting wars. I told him our schedule, every Saturday from noon to one, only two blocks away at a major intersection, and we could sure use some music. He said he'd think about it.
I returned to the demo to find a Jabberwock complaining to two of our stalwarts, who listened with good humor, accepting that they couldn't get a word in edgewise. I touched the guy on the shoulder and reminded him that we were also killing human beings "over there." That got him off on another tangent, our troops being subjected to "friendly fire." I interrupted him again, telling him I lost three friends in WWII from friendly fire. Somehow the exchange was not good. I couldn't get him off the damage to Americans. He went on about the math of wars. Well, maybe that's a beginning for him.
Time passed, in spite of the cold and overcast sky. We protesters often let our posters sag, so busy we are exchanging views on the week's developments. We automatically wave to every passing car. Sometimes I give the honk signal to big trucks. The success rate is good: one out of three so far.
Well, this is a personal report from the street. It's always interesting and encouraging, because we are trying to be honest and at the same time, challenging.
We Swans, and a lot of other citizens, already know about the huge disaster at Copenhagen. I'll just slip in a word here to say that once more we humans are in great danger, the future of the planet, the good earth, bargained away to keep the market economy staggering along for a few more years. Failure of technology is something we Americans and Europeans simply can't face up. The atmosphere and oceans and soils and rocks of our planet have their own ways to go and none of them are at all hopeful for us. Those huge energy systems have only one competitor, nuclear war.
Question: Why are we, the only power that killed thousands of civilians by use of two nukes, empowered to ride herd on nations like Iran, while keeping Israel and our own nuclear arsenal at top volume?
Those questions are easy to answer, but we don't often see it in print or hear it out loud.
To top it off, Ben Nelson, a Democratic senator from Nebraska, managed to re-insert the ban on abortion in the creep toward passage of the sell-out Health Bill. Shame on the Democrats!
Dennis Kucinich, in a talk to a few protesters, including Cynthia McKinney, outside the White House, told Americans it was time to "gather together" -- his words for People Power. Here is the answer, the only answer, telling our Congress people to do what we demand. I've said this again and you can count on it, I'll keep repeating it: People Power.
Once, in a march against the Vietnam War, I heard two women chant: POWER . . . POWER . . . POWER TO THE PEOPLE. They had the cadence just right and the voices. I would like to hear it again. Meanwhile, in these perilous times, enhanced a hundred times by the failure in Copenhagen, I say it is a great pleasure, and fun too, to take to the streets.
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