Divided We Fall- Thanksgiving 2007
There was a most poignant piece written recently in a local paper about a most special woman. Betty had read about my daily peaceful protests on the road outside of Congressman Feeney's Port Orange office. I would stand there with my signs opposing our country's illegal and immoral invasion and occupation of Iraq, voicing my dissent against this current administration's efforts ( in my opinion) to peel away our Constitution. Betty and her friend Jean, respectively in their 80s and 70s, came down each Tuesday to stand with me. It was the first time either of them had taken the plunge, so to speak, and voiced opinions in the public arena- the street corner. That was before.......
We have a local web site that seems to attract the most rabid and fanatical right wing ideologues. I have been interviewed and had my work posted on it- as has one of my street corner progressive friends, Charlie. From our essays, we attracted retorts that seemed to come straight from the Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity monologues. I ignored most of what was spew my way, and Charlie sometimes got deeper into it with these people. Well, yesterday was Tuesday, and Betty and Jean were supposed to meet me on the street corner. Betty showed up, looking disheveled and not well at all. She was on the verge of tears. She told me that Jean would not be coming anymore, and that she too would not join me. Why? Well, she handed me a printout that Jean gave her. It was from a web site and it contained comments about what Betty and Jean were doing along with me. One comment from the site stated that the writer hoped " the old hag dies of a heart attack .... " . Others accused us of working against what our troops were fighting for...... well, you know the usual drill, right? That we who dissent are helping the terrorists and undermining our troops, and blah blah blah. The only problem is that Betty is in remission from the ' big C ' and not well. Jean is a sensitive soul herself, and her daughter sent her the printout, with advice, strong advice, to give this protest thing up. Bottom line: Betty said that she and Jean were in fear of harm coming to them for standing on the street corner.
It is Thanksgiving. I could give thanks to those brave and wonderful souls who come out each week and stand on the street corners of Port Orange. Folks like Charlie and Walt and Fran and Robert, Bernice, Lynne, Barbara, Mona, Sue and Jack, and Donatella. Most, if not all of the above are seniors. I am the youngest, and I am 50 something. Yes, I could give thanks to all of them. Rather, allow me to be what I am, an activist. Let me activate now. Where in the hell are the rest of the over 75% of you out there who agree with we on those street corners? What is it going to take to get you to drive over and stand with us? How many more Bettys and Jeans have to be scared off by the 25% of our country? Folks, go to your libraries and take out Orwell's 1984. We are living it now!!!!
United we stand..... Divided we fall!