Protest at Recruiting Center in Lower Manhattan

protestarmyrecruiters1-20.jpg  I went back to the recruiting center to encourage the many students at the college and high school near it to resist the efforts of the government to enlist them in illegal wars and occupations.  The recent invasion and occupation of Haiti are another reason for me to take a stand.

ElaineBrower.jpg  Elaine Brower, mother of a veteran who served three tours in Iraq, some of them after being called back once his term of service was supposed to be completed, organizes this protest and reads names of military personnel killed in Afghanistan every week.  I walked back toward her office with her when we finished.  She commented on the apathy of most of the young people who walk past.

The college student who interviewed me the last time I was here asked about that, too.  As a person who has participated in many demonstrations, it is a burning question.  I never want to answer it by blaming people for being apathetic.  I think the answer to the question is complex.  I do, however, wish for more people on the streets.  I thought of that lively demonstration during the Bush regime when he was visiting a charter school in Harlem.  I loved the noisy young people who chanted

“Money for jobs and education, not for wars and occupation.”

Or the long one, I can never remember exactly that stated:

“Black, Hispanic, Arab, Asian, and White…”

Many of the young people clapped in rhythm, one of them had a plastic paint can and a drum stick and accompanied us.  How good it would have been on Wednesday, a bitter cold day, to have had that energy with us. How to get them there, I don’t know.  Maybe in fact those particular young people were somewhere else standing up for peace and justice.  I wish there were lots more of them to go around.

People from my generation continue to make up a sizable contingent of those who are visible everywhere, yet we are not numerous enough.  Elaine and other parents of currently serving young people are represented among those who act as well as talk about American aggression.  Again, not nearly enough of that cohort.

There are not nearly enough active dissidents to break through the wall of silence and invisibility imposed by the corporatocracy.  Most people in the world have no idea that there is the amount of dissent that there is.  I will continue to show up and hold a sign and lift my voice, because I must.  What can we do to go from being an annoyance to police and military who deal with such things at the lowest level of the regime, to wresting change from it?   Are we even now causing headaches at least at higher levels?

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