Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Take Action Today to STOP THIS WAR

Hilary Lambert © 2007

At the end of my previous entry, I welcomed suggestions from others on how to take real-world actions to STOP THIS WAR, but said I was disinterested in replies beginning with the F-word.

Wow, was I ever wrong. Thanks to Harold for his excellent F-word-based comments (scroll down and click on comment #1) about the war.

“Attaboy Harold,” says an astute international reader.

Commenter #2 (click below) is Jim, who provides us with a statement from Ed Abbey that eliminates any hope you may have to STOP THIS WAR by sitting, enraged and fuming, at your computer; ranting to your friends; or spending hours or days creating clever political jpgs or videos that you send out across the Internet(s) and put on your resumé.

Here is what that all-American man-of-action Abbey said:
“Sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul.”
Now you know why you have been feeling so bad.
Want action?
Following is a discussion of a real-world action step you can take today to STOP THIS WAR.

You may act on this suggestion preferably after you have completed the first step listed in my previous entry (below): 1. Find that discarded anti-war bumpersticker, put it on your car, and drive around boldly with it out there for all to see, for several days.

So, how did that feel, with your opinion out there on your automotive rear-end?
Did the skies open up and swallow you whole?
Did you lose your job?
Did someone key your car, or bash in the windshield?
Did you get pulled over and harassed by the po-lice?
Did any of your other horrific fears spring to life from under the bed?

Most likely, not much at all happened at your end, as a result of your taking an action to STOP THIS WAR.

However, think of the effect on the many who have now read your bumpersticker, whether it says “End this Endless War”, or “Stop the War – Bring our Troops Home Now”, or other excellent variants):

A few sad specimens will wonder, “What war?” Then they’ll ask someone, “What war?”
And they will soon be better informed. YOU DID THAT!

A number will say, “Wow, exactly how I feel – and I thought I was alone!”
And they will feel empowered to speak out, and act. YOU DID THAT!

A number will say, “Traitor! Send the bum to Gitmo!” But they will be thinking, “Could they possibly be right?” And they move just a little bit toward you on the opinion spectrum.

And a number will read it and say, “What the heck good does that do?”
And they will come up with and act on a slightly bolder, stronger idea for action to STOP THIS WAR. YOU DID THAT!

The effect your action has on yourself is not as important as the effect it has on others. Your bumpersticker – displayed, not in a drawer – is a drop of action that, as it hits the water, gently and quietly creates a tiny ripple that spreads outward to touch and affect others.

I don’t want to hear any more about how “the Democrats have failed us.”
I want you to begin to take your own personal actions to STOP THIS WAR.

A couple of weeks back, I stood on a busy street-corner in rush hour traffic with a sign that read: “Honk! Impeach Cheney – First.” This is probably a little bit beyond what most of us are ready to do at this point, though I can tell you that it id did not hurt even one little bit.

This street corner event, “Honk to Impeach Cheney,” was organized by members of the Central Kentucky Council for Peace & Justice.

People sneered at this idea as pathetic – how could honking a car horn help impeach that dreadful war criminal? They said, “Honking to ‘impeach’ is just another sign of how ineffective our anti-war movement has become”, and so on. (Don’t forget those sly Rovian arguments that “impeachment is not on the table because it would be too disruptive.” Huh?)

Well, I made my sign, parked my car at a distance (paid $4), had an invigorating stroll in the rain, and emerged onto the seething major intersection to see three other people with “Honk to Impeach” signs, only dimly discerned through the rain and roar of traffic.

For an hour and a half we stood with our signs, moving with the traffic signals to catch the next stream of traffic turning left, right, going straight, on their way home from work and school.

And lots of people honked. A lot did not.

One girl hung out the passenger window screaming at me, “But what did he do?”

I figured she might ask someone why this crazy woman was standing in the rain with that sign – and she would learn why.

A young male pedestrian asked me, “Why are you wanting to impeach the VICE President?” I smiled and pointed to the word – “First,” on my sign.

He walked away, totally confused. BUT HE WAS THINKING.

Some of the honkers were virtuosos – they did a steady tattoo of little honks all the way through the intersection. One person just sank the honker down and kept it on for about a half-minute – it took on an urgent siren quality that was very satisfying. Two pedestrians across the street accosted one of the other sign-bearers, calling her a traitor and all that; I could hear the man bellowing, over the traffic.

By the time we finished up and folded our signs, there were six of us.
Think of what we accomplished: We got hundreds of people to act.
We got hundreds more to think.

Sure “it was just a honk” – but as you may personally know, that takes a lot of bravery, in this repressed and frightened time. It was that first tiny step.

You need to put a sign today in your front yard or window.
I need you to do this, to counteract the Orwellian one I see on my walks to get newspapers, in a neighborhood far wealthier than mine:

Where is your sign, that reads:

Please do this today (no more excuses).
You have been far too self-absorbed.
The effect your action has on yourself is not as important as the effect it has on others.

Peace and love,
Hilary Lambert


Peggy said...

Yesterday I called Congressman Arcuri (thanks MoveOn) to encourage him to take a firm stand on the budget and not write a blank check for war w/o a timeline. Does that count?

Hilary Lambert said...

That counts big time. It was a real-world physical action taken by you - and to someone you don't even know - bravo!

Oliver said...

This war is not just in Iraq.

It is not just being fought between US soldiers and "insurgents".

All the wars being fought in Iraq are not only being fought in Iraq.

...You said that a bit of daily, face-to-face hostility would be good for the US.

I agree.

So here's a question, here's to put it to you another way.

What is the difference between being in a place where a government--or a State--pursues you, restricts you, indeed persecutes you--and being a refugee?

I never thought I'd hear myself extolling the virtues of "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness", but when the place that you live permits it to you so little--

How many refugees have the machines and policies of the United States created?

How many citizens of the United States are now, currently, being forced to seek refuge from what their country has become?

Stop the war--on the soldiers, on the Iraqis, on the Americans.