Sunday, November 16, 2008

I protest!

Occasionally, on a fine Fall day, the Wenches can be found engaging in an activity other than gardening. Quite a shocker, I know. But it does happen. And yesterday was a very fine Fall day. This post has absolutely nothing to do with gardening. It's blatantly political in nature. You've been warned. For this post Wing Nut took the pictures & Curmudgeon wrote the text.

Have you ever taken part in a protest march or demonstration? If you haven't, would you ever consider doing so?

I've participated in a few. How many is "a few" you ask? More than a couple but not so many that I can't remember each one. My very first march was at the age of sixteen when my high school French teacher, Sister J., took a busload of us Catholic school girls to Washington D.C. on a bleak winter's day.  I do not recommend polyester skirts and knee socks as proper attire for a protest march in blustery weather.

When I was in France, in the early 90s, a number of Jewish cemeteries were vandalized and the tombs desecrated. In inimitable French style, the citizenry took to the streets with gusto to exercise their freedom of speech and protest such hatred. It was my students at the school where I was working who took me to my first French demonstration or manif. It was quite a vocabulary builder for me.

What stays with me to this day about my first march, and each of the other marches in which I've participated, is the energy of the crowd. Being part of a crowd that is thousands or tens of thousands strong is a very powerful experience.  It's exhilarating  and terrifying beyond belief--from "I can't believe so many people think like me" to "Oh my GOD! I could get trampled to death" in a single heartbeat.

Curmudgeon that I am, for me participating in a demonstration provides a reprieve from the cynicism that is always lurking, like the troll that lives under the bridge. I don't believe that a march or demonstration will really change anything. I don't believe that minds or actions will be changed. I don't think anybody "on the other side" really listens to the people waving signs and chanting slogans. And let's talk about those signs and slogans. Would a little artistic talent be too much to ask? Check out these protest signs  and you'll agree that, apparently, it is.

So what did I do this weekend? I attended a protest march with Wing Nut and some friends. Why? Because I needed a reprieve from cynicism. Because I felt the need to exercise my right to free speech. Because I wanted to hear my own voice joined with those of thousands of others who think like I do. Because I felt passionately about the issue. Participating in a protest march is a fairly cheap form of hope. This weekend I'm hoping for a better future for my family.

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Wing Nut was particularly moved by these two signs, held by two of the youngest protesters at the march. The kids' spelling is a little off, but the sentiment is right on.  Go kids go!!




--Curmudgeon & Wing Nut


Yolanda Elizabet said...

Sing it sister!

GardenJoy4Me said...

I agree .. and I'm very happy to be Canadian and to say my country believes you have the right to "MAREE HOO You Want" whether it is spelled right or not : )
I worry about you Americans all the time .. but there are always a few that I find comfort in.
Thank you Curmudgeon and Wing Nut !

Shibaguyz said...

GO C&W!!

Our favorite sign pictured here was "Can I vote on your marriage?"

Jason and I have been together for 15 years. We were married by a minister friend in front of a few close friends and his parents.

I can't say enough about the emotions that this has stirred in us. If I were to start now, the anger and rage would fill up pages in the comment section of your blog... so I won't.

A friend of ours is putting together a petition to have the Mormon churches non-profit status taken away as a result of their political campaign and the amount of money they threw into it. We will post about this on our blog and let you know about it as soon as we have details. They will not get away with this. We must draw a line in the sand and demand our civil rights. Enough is enough!!

Thank you for sharing this on your blog.

mr_subjunctive said...


I don't think Prop. 8 will stand, because I don't think it's legal in California. Or at least there are people arguing that.

I also think that it wouldn't have passed had the supporters not deliberately and knowingly spread lies (Your church will have to perform gay marriages!!!! Your kids will be taught about same-sex marriage in school!!!!) about what it would involve. This is sad, in a way, but it's also backhandedly encouraging: they couldn't have won on the prop's actual content. The times, they have a-changed.

So yes, I'm grumbly. (Actually, I was more grumbly about the Prop. 8 stuff because it meant that I couldn't be entirely happy about the election, not so much about the facts of Prop. 8's passage. Because like I said, I don't think Prop. 8 passing is actually going to mean a whole lot in the long run.)

But I'm also sorta proud of the GLBTQAI[1] community, too. I would not have expected this large of a protest. It wasn't that long ago that people within the community were trying to argue that marriage wasn't important enough for us to be bothering with, and we should be focused on some other issue. I don't know that it necessarily was the most important thing we could have chosen to fight for, but fight for it we have, and it seems to be working out more or less okay, actually.

There's a long but worthwhile post about this over at Shakesville, if you're interested.

There's a difference between being beat over the head by a hammer and being beat over the head by a hammer with a billion hairline cracks in it.


[1] We need a better acronym. For those out of the loop who might be reading this comment anyway: it stands for Gay-Lesbian-Bisexual-Transgendered-Questioning-Allied-and-Intersexed. We seem to be adding letters faster as time goes on.

Rose said...

WWW, I came over to read your GBBD post and saw this first. I've been in only a few protest marches, and they were long ago (yes, in my more idealistic days, too). But there are some principles that are worth fighting for--keep on fighting!! I do not understand what some people are afraid of...
I usually keep my political opinions to myself on my blog, but I will say we can be thankful that Sarah Palin is not our VP-elect!

Love those sign by the kids:)

Nicole said...

I just can't understand what drives people to deranged behavior and expressions re same sex unions, marriages or adoptions. I mean, what business is it of theirs what others do? Personally I do not believe in abortion, but I respect the right of every woman to choose for herself. I I do not know why people cannot respect the choices of other people.

Aunt Debbi/kurts mom said...

I still can't get my head around this. Why are we going backwards? I like the sign "My 43 year marriage is not threatened by equality". All couples should have the same rights.

Ms. Wis./Each Little World said...

Thanks for stopping by my GBBD post and thanks for this great post. I still don't understand what some folks are so afraid of but I am not one of them. And I love the name of your blog.

garden girl said...

Prop 8's passing in CA made this election very bittersweet and ironic for me.

It's mind-boggling to me how this even was allowed to come up for a vote in this manner. I don't know of any other situation where a constitutional amendment could be nullified like this. It's shameful to see any kind of institutionalized discrimation.

I'm heartened to see so many voices all over this country being raised in protest. Discrimination has no rightful place in our country or in our world.

One march in isolation might not make a huge difference. But the one heartening thing about Prop 8 is how its galvanized people from all walks of life all over this country, not just in CA, and not just the GLBTQAI community, to stand up and be counted in their opposition to one more form of discrimation that it's long past time to erradicate.

Did you see Keith Olberman's Special Comment on the subject? I don't know how anyone can argue with what he said, and I do hope he might have opened some eyes with his eloquent and impassioned commentary.

our friend Ben said...

Go Wenches!!! I love the signs, and agree with the Shibaguyz that "Can I vote on YOUR marriage?" was the absolute best. I also agree entirely with Nicole's comment. Good God, in a marriage of equals, can't we mind our own business?! Or, say, congratulate the happy couple? Mercy! Until I read your post, I had no clue that the Mormons were involved in this. How ironic. Loved the sign about that, too, though sadly, I'm sure polygamists wouldn't appreciate the irony if they were hit on the head with a hammer, fractured or otherwise.

VP said...

God, you're meant to be in the land of the free for chrissakes!

Hope this law doesn't get passed...

Weed Whackin' Wenches said...

Right on Yolanda! We will contnue to sing our hearts out.

We worry about us Americans too GardenJoy! We are cautiously optimitstic that the next 4 yrs will bring some progress on multiple fronts--eeeh gads how socialist of me!

Thanks Shibaguyz! Yes, do keep us posted. It's outrageous what the Mormon Church gets away with.

Thanks for the link Mr. Subjunctive. Yes, it does seem that attitudes have sure changed radically within the gay community regarding marriage. The mobilization for this march was astounding to me. Also am totally with you on the aconym--soemthing that can be easily pronounced would be nice.

Thanks Rose. Aren't those signs priceless? We agree with you about SP.

Sarah Laurence said...

Beautiful sentiments and expression! I was appalled seeing our nation take a big step forward in the presidency and several small steps backwards on those ballot questions. I can’t believe how people can take something as beautiful as love and turn it ugly. If only all the signs could be as eloquent as your post and as colorful as your signature – for that the kids rule!

Seeing your lovely GBBD blooms below soothed me. That is the solace of gardening.

Karen said...

I wanted to be there that day but we had to be elsewhere. I was there in spirit for sure! Sometimes it just feels so good to make your voice heard, even if it's just to others who agree with you. I hope my daughter's generation fixes what ours has not (yet). Very powerful post!

A Cuban In London said...

Two sides of me came out (no pun intended) whilst reading your post.

The first one was to do with apathy. Being Cuban means that I have taken part in more demonstrations than the average human being. And most of them against my will or without my say. Ask other people born in socialist countries.

The other side that came out was my human side. I would have willingly and voluntarily joined your protest. The cause is fair and worth fighting for. When Labour repealed Section 28 and sanctioned civil partnerships in the UK a few years ago, I felt proud to live in this country. That changed quickly with the invasion of Iraq, but that's another post.

Thanks for your political activism and keep it up and strong!

Greetings from London.

Annie in Austin said...

Hi WWWenches,

Chuck in SF has posted photos of signs at the protest there, too - especially poignant is "Love Makes A Family".
I don't think it is a threat to my 40+ years of marriage for other people to be married.

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Weed Whackin' Wenches said...

Right on Nicole! What a concept, respecting the choices of others. Why is that so hard for some people?

I agree Aunt Debbi! I can't wrap my head around it either.

Welcome ms wis. and thanks for stopping by. I think you hit the proverbial nail on the head--fear. It's at the root of this whole issue. if only a little love and compassion could creep in to those hearts that are so filled with fear.

Weed Whackin' Wenches said...

Oh wow gardengirl! I had not seen the Olbermann commentary but is it ever powerful. Thanks for passing that along. I'm going to attempt to put a postscript on the post and include the link to the video.

OFB you have no idea just how complicated a simple "Congratulations" can get. When WN & I got married my employer in NE would not send out a congratulatory email, as was customary when faculty/staff had "an event" in their lives. It took weeks, a group of faculty protesting that it was rude not to congratulate me, and a signed statement from me saying it was okay for the email to go out, before they got around to congratulating me. To be fair, the President of the university did come with a gift to the party that our friends had in our honor and she did apologize for the issues over the email incident.

The land of the free and the brave VP! Here in Seattle it is much easier to be brave and speak out. In other states I've lived in such as NE it is much more difficult and potentially dangerous. They struggled to get a march together in Lincoln, NE this past weekend but it did not happen.

There most certainly is solace in gardening Sarah! The kids' signs were awesome.

You are so right Karen. It felt great to hear our voices joined with thousands of others. The turnout was pretty impressive.

Weed Whackin' Wenches said...

Greetings ACIL. I have heard others from socialist countries tell similar stories of being forced to attend protests and demonstrations that they did not wish to attend. The apathy here is strong but for different reasons. But this weekend I was pleasantly surprised. Mobilization was swift and the turnouts were quite respectable given that Americans do not easily take to the sttreets. The US does not have the same history of taking it to the streets that the French have.

Hi Annie! Thanks for the link. There was one sign I wish I'd been able to capture, but the crowd was moving and I was having one of my "Oh my GOD! I could get trampled to death" heartbeats. The sign read STRAIGHT REPUBLICAN FOR GAY MARRIAGE. The guy wasn't marching. He was just standing on the sidewalk holding his sign up for us to see as we marched by. It was one of those "Yes, there IS hope" kind of moments.

chuck b. said...

Right on, sisters! :)

I appreciate your take on protest.

It's not something I want to do, and I wish I could spend all my days puttering around the garden, but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.

Weed Whackin' Wenches said...

That's exactly it Chuck! You gotta do what you gotta do.

Philip Bewley said...

Hi, I hope i am not too late to comment?
My partner Ric and I have been together for 22 years. We raised Ric's daughter, Noemi, and we now have two grandsons! We are the two Lolos (Filipino for grandfathers)yay!
So, we just live our life and have a good time.
When people pass a law to strip us of our civil rights, I...well frankly It felt like I had been kicked in the stomach. I could not speak for a while afterwards, but I have now found my voice.
Enough is enough! So, thank you so much for sharing this, and letting me comment.
Best regards,