Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Peer Pressure for the Good of America

Due to some scheduling serendipity while visiting family, I was in Chicago last Saturday for the big peace march (which happened in 11 cities throughout the US). I was wavering on whether to go until Patrick Gabridge publicly implied I would be a coward if I didn’t. Technically, he was talking about himself, but Pat has always been an inspiration for me on social action, so I can’t let him call himself a coward without including myself too. I also can’t let him one-up me on social justice causes.

Competition and peer-pressure may not the best motivation for attending rallies, but it worked pretty well for me this weekend. I was going to go by myself until my peacenik niece Britta decided she really wanted to go too. But she wouldn’t go unless Jasmine went, and if Jasmine and Britta went, then Anthony wanted to go, and if Anthony was going, Jeff wasn’t going to stay at home, which meant that Uncle Marcus needed to go as well, to provide more adult supervision. This was the peer-pressure situation at breakfast.

By earlier afternoon, after two soccer games, Jeff had melted down too much to go anywhere, and peacenik Jasmine still wanted to go, but only if Britta went, although now Britta only wanted to go if Anthony went. Anthony decided it would be fun. So, four extra people were delivered to the Chicago rally via peer pressure (five if you include me via Pat). This is critically important, since we need the extra people in order to be accurately undercounted.

Like Pat, I was disappointed with the media coverage. I didn’t get the Sunday Tribune before we left, but the on-line story was quick balance out the 5,000 people at the march with the 20 counter-protesters making the usual silly claims about not supporting the troops. The Champaign News Gazette, unsurprisingly, did not mention anything about it.

You’d think that an estimated 100,000 people gathering in 11 different synchronized rallies would be newsworthy, especially for the liberal, America-hating media, which we all know would do anything to poke America in the face with a stick.

Marches like this may not accomplish much, but I think they are still important to attend. We need to stand up and be counted, even if we are ignored by those in the power. The powers win when we completely give up.

In any case, the march may have been worthwhile just for the cute kid pictures it generated.

Here's me and Jasmine and Anthony. Someone gave Anthony fake money to symbolize corporate greed as the root cause of global conflict. He is holding it up because he thinks it is cool.

Here's Marcus with Jasmine, Anthony and Britta. The march isn't as much fun at this point as they thought it was going to be.

Here's what the march looks like while we are marching. We have no idea of scale, of how many people are there. But the Sears Tower is cool to look at.

Here are our little peaceniks on the way home, happy to have done their part, and happy to be on their way home, where they will take a break from resisting global domination by eating pizza and watching Shrek 2.


patrick said...

Great post, Dan! I laughed, I cried, I clicked on links. I'm just glad I could inject a little peer pressure and competitive spirit into the world of peaceful protest.

Good job doing what I failed to do, and that's bringing a whole bunch of people to the rally. (Kids count!)

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