Report from the Plainfield Protest
My pal, Carolyn, and I went to the protests in Plainfield, NJ, and I am so glad we did. We left work at 11:00 and were back at 11:50 so all we used up was our lunch amount of time! Bush was supposed to be there at 11:30 so I thought we could go at 11:45 and catch him when he left but Carolyn didn't think that was a good idea - that we should get there early - and she was right. There were probably 100-200 people where we were (and I found out later the protestors were supposed to meet somewhere else - it looked like people with signs were going down another street - so there may have been more) and at first we thought the crowd we wound up with were all protestors because of all the protest signs.
Just as we got there and held up our signs, Bush rode by leaving in his limousine...... so it was perfect timing. I carried a sign which said, "John Adams said, 'Corruption in Elections has heretofore destroyed all Electoral Governments. ' You should be ashamed!" and Carolyn carried a poster quoting Korean President and Nobel Peace Prize Winner, Kim Dae Jung , "He who wins by injustice may dominate the present day, but history will always judge him to be a shameful loser. " Then some guy asked to see my sign and I showed it to him, and he read it aloud and seemed interested so I said if he wanted to remember the quote he could have my sign - I was just going to toss it anyway. And he said, "you know, you people should just get over it." And I was a little surprised and I said, "I'm entitled to my opinion" And he said, "you people should stand behind him, he's our president now. " Now I was getting my bearings, and I said, "I'm an American and I am entitled to my opinion and I'm entitled to stand here with a sign to express it. You don't have to agree with me." and it escalated but you know what? I am very glad I said what I said. I told him that I don't "get over" a stolen election. He said it's over and we should stand behind the president and I said I don't feel that way and I don't support him or what he stands for. And I have every right to express that in this country. Then his wife gets into it and, believe me, they were not well off, you could tell, and she says, "I have to take care of my mother and I could use the money, it's my money and I could use it to take care of my mother." And I said, "I don't know how much you make but I can guarantee you that if you are worried about the money to care for mother, you don't make enough to get anything from George Bush." So that's the way it was. We had an argument but I am glad. Frederick Douglass said, "Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet depreciate agitation, are men [sic] who want crops without plowing up the ground." Even the Bible says there is a time for anger.
Now I was the wired one and Carolyn was the calm, observant one. And this whole time she is observing what is going on around us and she told me later that there were people behind me agreeing with me. There was a man holding a very large flag hung upsidedown on its pole and the symbol was very clear. And she also said someone was taking pictures (eeeek! but oh, well). And she made the observation that the people that were there for Bush came in on a school bus and those two who confronted me were part of that crowd. But the rest of us - those of us who had protested - broke up and went separately on our way and so obviously had come individually. So that made us feel good. We protestors didn't have to be bussed in. It was important enough for us to each come on our own. That says a lot.
But Carolyn also made an even more important observation. We protestors getting to the church individually and on our own as opposed to the "supporters" who were bussed in, was just like the democratic party abandoning their consituents after the election and leaving us to make our own way through this political wasteland while they seem to be increasingly getting on the bus with the Republicans singing that ridiculous mantra "bipartisanship." We do feel abandoned by the Democratic party. Where is their outrage? Where is their outrage at a fraudulent election? Where is their outrage at the trashing of Bill Clinton? Why are we on our own?
And what does bipartisanship mean anyway? There's nothing wrong with civility as long as it is not a euphemism for surrender, but " bipartisanship" ? That's an absurd idea! Especially after this election! Civility does not preclude anger - you can be angry and civil at the same time as long as your thoughts are clear.
As we were walking away, the lady who had been arguing with me yelled something like, "maybe you don't care about my mother but I do!" And I yelled back, "Look, I have no problem pooling my taxes with others to take care of your mother, that's fine with me, you'd be better off you know!" And her husband yelled back, "don't insult her mother!"
Isn't that weird? And then I realized that that is why I am not a Republican. Those two didn't hear anything I said. They were responding to their own heads. Which means they don't really hear what Bush says either. They hear what they want to hear. That's why he fools them.
Anyway, as we left, there was a guy who walked with us and he said, you know, I feel the same way you do, but I keep telling myself I have to get over it, I have to let it go. And I said, no, you don't and don't you believe that. Communists get over stolen elections. Americans don't. You can be as angry about it as you want. Don't let them make you feel guilty about being angry about this. If I were traveling to every city to protest and neglecting my job or my family or my friends or something like that, well, that's different. Then I'm out of control. But I'm not doing that so I can be as mad as I want to be. And he said, thank you, thank you, I was feeling guilty........
We have nothing to feel guilty about. And we shouldn't let the propagandists convince us we do.
So I was happy I went and Carolyn was happy, too.
And that's our story........