Peace rally people
try to make a difference
on others’ opinions
I finally attended my first peace rally. I felt very empowered and while not exactly important, I felt like my presence made a difference. I got my picture taken for the local rag. It was a surprise to find the paper even knew about it, as I only had one day’s notice. I didn’t have time to lay out all my peace sign jewelry, or make a proper sign. I took one of husband’s white t-shirts and my son drew a peace sign on it, and the words “Peace Now” only because it’s very difficult to write on a t-shirt. It seems sort of a cliche, I really believe it. A lot of people honked their horns or flashed us peace signs and thumbs up, but there were a couple of angry shouts from people who thought differently.
I’m sorry to say I didn’t handle the angry shouts the way I would’ve liked, I’m ashamed to say. The accusatory tones used put me on the defensive. I look at this as a learning experience, and tell myself not to respond to anger with anger. One man was complaining that one of our flags was touching the ground. It didn’t start out that way, but it was breezy and it fell and touched the ground. Instead of just pointing it out to me, he got angry and accusatory in tone, like we did it deliberately. I answered him in a similar tone, and was immediately embarrassed. What I should’ve/could’ve said was to ask him if he’d like to hold it for us so it would no longer be threatened with the ground.
The other people were quite nice, though most of them I didn’t speak with. Some just smiled at me and said thanks as I was leaving, Some people were having long conversations, but not with me. I tried not to think about it much. But it’s bugging me just a little. Most of the people were in the 70s and had protested Vietnam. I was a little disappointed we had such a small group. There were about 10 of us on either side of the road. But considering they were only expecting 10-12, it was a good turn out.
I plan to stay involved in the local peace group, though who, what and where it is is a complete mystery. There are two nationwide groups that sponsored this event, and I subscribe to both their pages on Facebook, so hopefully I will know if there will be any more.
I figure it’s good to connect with other people who believe as I do, but I had hoped to feel a little more of a connection by the time I left. It’s always the same for me, I expect to instantly connect with people and when I don’t I’m disappointed. It did seem like a lot of these people knew each other, but not all of them. There were several people I noticed who were obviously new to the group, but they came together. Anyway. Plus 1 for effort, Minus 1 for connection. Good to know.
My main question though, is does protesting make a difference? It did in the 60s, but do live protests really have any impact? It’s not like other people who believe differently will change their minds just because I stood on a street corner and held a sign?