Time to leave your ‘comfort zone’ about war
It was astounding … it was breathtaking … an awesome show of humanity. Throngs and throngs of protesting beings, well over the body count reported by the media (gee, why does that surprise me?).
There HAD to be at least 200,000 in attendance in San Francisco. Tens of thousands filling the Civic Center Plaza, Market Street spilling over with people shoulder to shoulder, sidewalk to sidewalk, for well over a mile back down to the waterfront to Justin Herman Plaza.
After 21/2 hours of shuffling along, packed in like little sardines, we still hadn’t made it to the rally at the civic center. Thousands upon thousands of oldsters, hippies, Republicans, Democrats, Greens, youngsters, war vets, large folks, thin folks, babies, folks of color, lawyers, doctors, teachers, labor unions, nuns, monks, opera divas, prima ballerinas, artists, musicians, housewives, the homeless and hungry, WASPs, Israelis, Palestinians, Buddhists, Catholics, Muslims, Pagans, Jews, you name it … all raising their voices in song and in protest against the prospects of war.
The wave of sound (like in football games, but with voices instead of bodies) would take at least 10 minutes to move from one end of the march to the other, and then would move back again, all day long, up and down the length of the march. You could just feel it coming – and it was hair-curling!
My husband, Paul, and I had had a gig in Winters – billed with Utah Phillips and Bodhi Busick – the night before. While we took BART in from Oakland (again, think “sardines” and long, long lines snaking around the buildings), Utah and Bodhi were picked up along I-80 by the convoy of ELEVEN busloads full of folks from our little hamlet in the foothills. They rode in a bus full of kids from the local high schools, all awed by Utah’s wisdom, knowledge, spirit and energy. He taught them the “old” songs, and they sang nonstop for two hours!
These are OUR very passionate kids, Nevada County … very eloquent in their ability to put forth their own fears for their/our futures and very brave for speaking out. We all should LISTEN.
Our local community radio station, KVMR, devoted the whole day to the events in D.C. and San Francisco, with live call-ins via cell phone from Utah and others on Market Street who were trying (and apparently accomplishing) to transmit the “vibe” from the March. Others from KVMR were performing on-the-scene journalistic duties, recording the rally events for those who had to stay behind.
Huge kudos to those who felt that this was important enough, and who were brave enough, to preempt regular broadcasting for our call to peace … and huge kudos to those dear ones with the Peace Center of Nevada County who organized the movement of the Nevada County participants, en masse, to the march.
My opinionated opinion: It’s time we all think about leaving our “comfort zone” once in awhile for this type of statement if we are aligned in thought and heart with the idea of peaceful solutions. Yes, I am talking to you, my peers, and others who still sit with skepticism or with apathy, or who feel marching isn’t “cool” enough, or wonder, “What will the Joneses think?”, or who are afraid or embarrassed to join the throngs, or who just are too lazy to get off your rear ends.
This problem we all face is very, very real. Our lives, our children’s lives, our world is going to change in a really bad way if we don’t rise up and let the powers that be know that we do not, will not stand for their ways. It may change anyway, but then you can at the very least say you tried; you were there and you made a difference. The numbers do count. Just look at the pictures and tell me they don’t.
Please come with us and the Peace Center of Nevada County (470-9797), and the hundreds of thousands of others next time, and let your voice be heard. Please.
Eleanore MacDonald, a resident of Nevada County for 29 years, is a musician who lives in Penn Valley with husband Paul Kamm and an assortment of four-legged creatures.
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