Letter — Does this make any sense?
March 31, 2003
I’ve been wondering for three days what prompted the strange events recently at the “Y.”
I was planning to attend the peace demonstration on the northeast corner of Lake Tahoe Boulevard and Highway 50. We had received word that afternoon a counter-demonstration had been organized on the opposite corner, and were asked if we would mind moving our demonstration to another location. No problem; we would graciously agree to move. I thought, though, that I’d stay at the “Y” to redirect those peace demonstrators who did not know the demonstration had been moved.
Now, I was standing silently on the corner opposite the counter-demonstration holding a paper sign that had the incredibly inflammatory slogan handwritten on it (I swear): “Peace Rally Moved to El Dorado Beach.” That’s it. I heard invectives hurled at me from across the street like “Hey, loser, go home! Move to Iran.” I chose to ignore them.
From the counter-demonstration across the street, two men approached me and ranted at me for a few minutes. At the end of their tirade, one of the men tore up my sign to the cheers of many across the street. I went to get my other sign (same message). One of the men returned to try to cover my second sign with an American flag! This is the part that confuses me: why did the representative from the counter-demonstration seek to block my expression with the very symbol that guarantees my right to stand on a corner and hold a harmless paper sign?
Would someone please answer these two questions: what was so threatening to the counter-demonstrators about a single person holding a single sign announcing a simple change of venue? What was it that made them so angry? Please I’m not interested in the standard harangue; Id just like simple answers to these two questions.
Perhaps these behaviors were the actions of over-exuberant participants in a spontaneous rally. Is this, then, what war does to us? If so, I choose peace.
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