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How do we make them see?

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I had packed up my sign, was in my car and just starting to pull away from the curb when a tall husky blonde with a ponytail, about 30, drove up in her eggshell VW convertible.

She parked her car so she had me blocked in, locked her eyes on me, got out of her car, and stomped over toward my car, her hands curled into fists at her sides. 

Oh sh*t, I thought. Now what? 

With some apprehension, I rolled down my window (half way) and she said: "I just want to let you know that today is not the day to protest. I lost a co-worker that day!" (Presumably she was referring to Wednesday's bridge collapse). She continued: "Today is NOT the day to protest! I just wanted you to know that I am upset about this." 

I opened my mouth to say I was sorry about her co-worker and that I was out on the bridge holding a sign to hold those responsible for our safety accountable. I only got the "I'm" out and she talked over and through me. "This is not the day to protest. I just want you to know that."

Then she stomped back to her car and drove away. 

What does this mean?  

Because Bush was in town for a couple hours for photo ops, is today, Saturday, August 4, 2007,  "Our "day? Is it Minnesotans' day to gather together in a group hug for the TV cameras brought here by Bush's visit and publicly mourn those neighbors lost to a bridge collapsing? 

For some. For others it is another day to say: No more. 

I know why people died and were injured on Wednesday. It's because Americans continue to look the other way when our treasury and our children’s' futures are stolen to pay for immoral elective wars. They look the other way when Congress cuts taxes for the wealthiest, gives themselves pay raises, and lets our roads and bridges and schools and health and basic rights deteriorate before our very eyes. And do nothing.  

How do we make them see there is a direct correlation between bridges that fall and the war in Iraq? 

There were about 20 of us on the Lake Street bridge between Minneapolis and St. Paul, which we have dubbed “the Peace Bridge.”  All of us were rejecting the policy failures in both the federal and state governments. A new guy about 40 came with colorful flagging and a roll of red caution tape and started to stretch it across the road in order to close it, but a couple of the bridge regulars told him to back off. They didn’t want any trouble. The new guy was a little miffed, his patience has been worn down to the bone, but he got over it and stayed. At 11:40 a.m., three helicopters, one most likely carrying his eminence, flew over us on the way to the airport.  

If not today, when do we stop letting the crooks off the hook? When more of us speak up after every disaster, every theft, every attack on another country, they'll stop killing us slowly.

Bridge of Silence 

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Kathlyn Stone is a Minnesota-based writer covering science and medicine, health care and related policies.ï She publishes www.fleshandstone.net, a health and science news site.
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