Neither rain, nor debris, nor gloom of night

by Jennifer on July 16, 2008

Last Thursday night, through the worst storm we’ve had this year in the Phoenix metro area, a number of people were willing to do this:

*

But how willing would most of us be to camp out all night through a monsoon storm, in 60 mile an hour winds, with debris flying about and ants crawling in our socks, so that we could gather or march in organized protest?

**

I point a huge finger at myself when I ask that question. Though I would never camp out all night or wait in a huge line in order to buy some new gadget or to snag the hot new toy at Christmas (though I’ll admit to wanting an iPhone, I’m just not in a hurry), would I do it to protest war?

I haven’t so far.

Military families have been doing most of the heavy lifting throughout these two wars. The rest of us are just now getting a taste of personal sacrifice, though I suspect our wallets will empty a bit more before it gets better. The line from Point A to Point Gas-is-4-bucks-a-gallon hasn’t been very straight, and it’s taken a long time, but more of us are making changes to our lifestyle now because of increasing prices. Is now when we might finally voice our anger and frustration, and can we still do it proudly after waiting so long? After letting so much ride up until now?

For six years, I’ve wondered what I can do, as one person, to make any sort of difference in our country, specifically to voice my protest against the war. At times, I’ve donated money to candidates I support and to organizations like MoveOn.org. I have used my vote, for what it was worth.

But I wonder what each of us would give up–whether it’s time or comfort or money or time with our families–for social protest? And does protesting make an impact?

What else can we all do? Does anyone else feel frustrated or powerless?

________________________________________________

*Article from East Valley Tribune, Saturday, July 12, 2008
**Protest photo borrowed from Google Images

{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

Tina July 16, 2008 at 10:03 pm

Definitely frustrated and powerless and increasingly angry. Horribly, screamingly, this-has-got-to-stop angry. And not because gas and food have gotten more expensive. This all began for me when Bush was first elected and then re-elected and has just gotten more ulcer-inducing since. But I don’t know what we could do beyond the things you’ve mentioned (which I’ve done, too) that would be meaningful or useful. And I’m not at all certain that any of the things we HAVE done have meant a damn thing. I’m truly frightened.

Tinas last blog post..See this plate?

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Minnesota Matron July 16, 2008 at 10:14 pm

Now the Matron loves you more. She hosted several MoveOn parties!! You can make a difference! She worked for two years, without pay, to lead a grassroots coalition to convert local coal plants to natural gas. And she-they WON. Make every change possible and tell others. That’s the only way. And be present.

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Grandy July 16, 2008 at 11:22 pm

It’s a PHONE people!! Great post! You always get me thinking. 🙂

Grandys last blog post..In Local News…

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Kate July 17, 2008 at 5:21 am

Yes, I feel frustrated.
I was thinking about a similar topic this morning – recycling and our environmental condition – global warming, etc.

And I thought about how I do my best to conserve and protect.. I recycle, buy natural cleaning products, reuse plastic bottles so they don’t take up landfills.

And then I think “but how many people do NOT do these things” and “am I really making a difference?”

I don’t know. But in my heart I feel I’m doing what’s right for me. Not very comforting though – in the light of things.

Kate

Kates last blog post..Callie

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Mary Alice July 17, 2008 at 6:22 am

Jenn – great post. Got me thinking. I started to comment to you and it was so long I figured it should be a post of it’s own….so now it is, with a link and a quote from you 🙂

Mary Alices last blog post..Surprise Party

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Kimberly July 17, 2008 at 6:42 am

Great post. Honestly, with this administration, I’m not sure protests do any good. Bush and his cronies have said clearly that they don’t give a crap what the public thinks (that whole for the people, by the people apparently no longer matters). WIth a new administration? Hopefully it would. They’re supposed to be representing us.

I must admit, I’ve done little besides donate money, vote and write a few letters to support my political views, and perhaps I should be doing more. On the flip side, I’d never wait out all night long – rain or shine – for a new phone either.

Kimberlys last blog post..Wordless Wednesday: Ridiculously silly girls

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suburbancorrespondent July 17, 2008 at 6:47 am

“Be the change you want to see…” Who the heck said that, anyway?

suburbancorrespondents last blog post..Hard Times

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Madge July 17, 2008 at 7:09 am

ugghhhh going to sit in the corner for a bit of self-contemplation.

Madges last blog post..Seven Stages of Blogging

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Kate July 17, 2008 at 7:54 am

p.s. I would not wait in line for a phone..
Patience is not my strong suit.

Kates last blog post..Callie

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Jenn @ Juggling Life July 17, 2008 at 8:40 am

Vote for change is a start. Also, be willing to pay increased taxes for things like building public transportation infrastructure, education, renewable energry resources, health care.

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jenrantsraves July 17, 2008 at 8:55 am

My husband and I go back and forth on this subject frequently. I am a dreamer and a visionary, and I truly believe that one person can make a difference. Unfortunately, when I try to make a difference, things usually don’t go very well, so my husband gets ammunition for his “realist”, doom and gloom philosophy. For instance, I was a sponsor for a child in the Dominican Republic through Children International, and his whole family would send me fabulous notes of appreciation and pictures of him. Then, suddenly and without warning, they dropped sponsorship in his area! I was boiling mad and made phone calls and sent letters, but convinced no one. I still think about him, and it makes me sad.

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Louise July 17, 2008 at 9:01 am

I wholeheartedly agree with Ron.

And to the Kate’s… it doesn’t matter what other people do. It’s what we do ourselves. We can’t control anyone but ourselves, and yes, that makes a difference.

As for the rest, it’s about priorities. I think a lot of people like to talk (and complain) and spout opinions (and find support for their opinions), but it doesn’t go much farther (further?) than that. Their time is still spent in pursuit of the latest gadget or whatever. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but there is more wrong with society than its leaders.

I’m sure that sounded harsh and judgmental. It wasn’t meant that way to anyone. I have just heard a lot of complaining (and with a 4-year-old whiner in my house, I can tell you I’m SICK of complaining), and not much else. How much pain is the average person willing to endure to reach the “ideal.” And what IS the “ideal?” One thing I know is that it is different for everyone, and sometimes my opinion is not the best one.

Louises last blog post..Just Wave

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Dharmamama July 17, 2008 at 9:33 am

Ahhhh, yes. I have, like Tina, been frustrated with that sinking-feeling-in-the-pit-of-my-stomach since the 2000 election. I have protested, I have sent letters – a power company here wants to set up a COAL plant nearby! Coal! How crazy is that? So I went to the public meeting and spoke my piece, e-mailed friends, etc. I’ve attended several peace rallies. I support CHANGE – I do think people are finally fed up with our corrupt system.

This sounds like a copout, but it definitely isn’t: the way I’m raising my kids will make, is making, a HUGE difference in the world. Finding radical unschooling, non-coercive parenting and consensual living means my kids KNOW they are valued, their opinions and wants are valued. They *know* justice and equity because we live it every day. They *know* they have value, because I never speak rudely about them. (Really! Listen to how many parents talk about their kids; imagine your spouse speaking about you that way. It’s awful!)

They relate to the world differently because of how they are being raised.
(off soapbox)

Thanks for your thought-provoking post!

Dharmamamas last blog post..Night Visitor

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manager mom July 17, 2008 at 9:58 am

I definitely feel powerless… and I don’t have any answers, but I did want to say thanks for putting things in perspective. If we could all shift at least 10% of the energy we put into doing things for ourselves into finding a way to make the world better, it would be a big impact…

manager moms last blog post..How Books Are Destroying My Family, Part 1

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RiverPoet (formerly Momma) July 17, 2008 at 10:00 am

Frustrated, powerless, wretched. That pretty much sums it up. If I think too much about the war, I want to get in bed and pull up the covers. I just don’t know what to do. Physically, it would be really hard for me to camp out anywhere, anytime, for any reason. But I would much rather camp out for a protest than to camp out for a gadget. If you want to see a cool gadget that was delivered to my door yesterday (no lines required), take a peek at my latest post.

As for the war, if texting will help, I’m all over it.

Peace – D

RiverPoet (formerly Momma)s last blog post..Not in the Pink Today

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Daryl July 17, 2008 at 12:35 pm

I dont think I would ever wait in/on line for anything … I am a New Yawker and if I cant have it NOW I dont wait. Husband got me the iPhone for my bday … love it and dont see any point in the new 3G .. really it eats battery power faster …

BUT I did back in the 60’s mix it up and protested a lot .. I was in the huge NOW march in NYC and it was a heady experience … today I prefer to rant at the TV from the couch.

Daryls last blog post..thursdays in the hood

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Bruce July 17, 2008 at 3:27 pm

Well, first of all I would love and iPhone, but I am not going to change wireless providers to get one, so I will simply stick with what I have.

Secondly, if you want to make a difference, think small. It isn’t about changing the world. None of us can do that individually, but if we think small and set and example for others to follow, we pay it forward in the long run.

I have been maintaining the common area in our neighborhood, since no one else was doing it. It is gorgeious now, with flowers and no more weeds. No one asks me to do it, I just want to make some small corner of the world a better place. And if nothing comes from it, at least it increase my property value by some small amount. The point is to light a candle and not curse the darkness.

Bruces last blog post..I Like My Job

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we_be_toys July 17, 2008 at 8:50 pm

Sometimes I feel overwhelmed by the way things are going, and how little we as a nation seem to care. But I do have hope and his name is Barack Obama.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

we_be_toyss last blog post..Much Ado About Stuff

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SteveCinNM July 18, 2008 at 12:28 pm

I admire your commitment and like what your post has to say…

…except that you may have jumped to a conclusion that seems to be unsupported by the facts. I don’t see a direct connection between the Iraq War and recent rising oil prices. Sure, the Iraq War had a modest impact on prices, but that was years ago and hardly anyone noticed that bump, I think. A quick survey of reputable online sources puts the reason for the recent changes (zooming past $100/barrel and beyond) on two major factors: 1) the effect of commodity speculation, and 2) flat production with increasing demand, especially from India and China. Combine those two factors with a weakening dollar, and we get rapidly spiking oil prices. (The credit crisis and its subsequent impact on the economy and dollar is another issue. Someone needs to explain to me why the government – i.e., the taxpayers – even needs to consider bailing out people/companies that were too greedy and/or too stupid to make sound investments. But I digress… yet again.) Here’s just one online example of an analysis of recent oil price increases:

http://money.cnn.com/2008/06/09/markets/oil/?postversion=2008060915

Moreover, I am not sure paying $4/gallon for gasoline qualifies as a “sacrifice” for Americans. Other nations have been paying the equivalent of this level (and higher) for years, and that was before the recent spike in oil prices. And more importantly, I would hesitate to put paying more for gas anywhere near the same category as one I would reserve for those who have served or have had family members serve in the war. Service members and their families deserve our respect and support. Admission to their group has a price far beyond the cost of gasoline.

Still, I know what you’re getting at, and I agree. It’s too bad that most us (me included) tend not to pay all that much attention until it starts to hit us in the pocketbook. Sure, we can cheer (maybe even out loud if we’re really bold) when we see some small improvement or incremental bit of progress on any particular issue. But active involvement (maybe even with some of our own money — my biggest criticism of all-too-vocal Hollywood celebrities) does not materialize unless and until it starts to affect our own chosen lifestyle. However, failure to act until that point should not make us hesitate to get involved. If it’s the right thing to do, it’s the right thing to do — yesterday, today, or tomorrow. It just means we might have some catching up to do.

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Ann July 18, 2008 at 4:28 pm

I definitely feel powerless and frustrated and constantly have to remind myself that the small things I do may have untold impact – a lot harder to say than to believe.

Anns last blog post..The Summer Of My Content…

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Ann July 18, 2008 at 4:29 pm

I definitely feel powerless and frustrated and constantly have to remind myself that the small things I do may have an untold impact – a lot harder to believe than to say.

Anns last blog post..The Summer Of My Content…

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Just Jamie July 18, 2008 at 4:41 pm

I’m sincerely hoping the coming elections bring about a change, a “change we can believe in,” in fact. Perhaps then we’ll truly “move on,” and dig our country out of the economic and woeful despair.

Just Jamies last blog post..Where Oh Where Oh Where is Jamie?

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Just Jamie July 18, 2008 at 4:42 pm

P.S. I waited for the new iPhone. Okay, I lie. My Mom waited and called me when she was at the front of the line … which is to say, she called me while I was still sleeping. But I do love it. yup.

Just Jamies last blog post..Where Oh Where Oh Where is Jamie?

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Denise @ EatPlayLove July 18, 2008 at 8:31 pm

Powerless indeed. And I never miss an election which doesn’t seem to be helping lately. I feel so powerless when I think about the troops, losing lives, our nation wasting so much money, for what? Are we going to win? Is anyone going to win? I’ll stop now.

Denise @ EatPlayLoves last blog post..Gentle Reminders

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