by Josh Frank
April 18, 2003
Lately it seems a lonely path of dissent we’ve embarked upon. Not many seem to be jumping on board the anti-war wagon. But should we give up? Are we too hated to achieve anything?
Recently I visited my hometown in Montana. It’s a conservative little nook, but most towns in Montana are. A progressive surely feels a bit of resentment there, if not outright hatred. I shouldn’t have been surprised to see so much comic book patriotism touted on the billboards and trucks. But I was.
Local restaurants and bars hailed our president, going as far as saying, “Iraq deserves our bombs, deaths are necessary for victory!”
I want to believe people like Michael Moore when they state, “America is a
liberal country!” But I think they are dead wrong. We are a backward country.
Americans call on Jesus and their new messiah Bush to protect them from evil. An evil only the Middle East is capable of producing. An evil only America can conquer.
So the signs of pro-war mantras shouldn’t surprise me in my old hamlet of eastern Montana. The few activists in those desolate places remind me of our predecessors that took on racism in the 60s. They are alone but vigilant.
Those idealists are still out there today, fighting for justice and laying down their bodies as human shields. Bulldozers and tanks can’t stop their convictions from living. Whether its Rachel Corrie who died for peace in Palestine, or an organic farmer in Montana -- their hope is inspiring.
I wasn’t around during the Vietnam era; I don’t know what being an anti-war activist is really all about. I read. I write. I march. I talk to others.
But Bush’s war happened anyway. I look back like many have, and wonder what more we could have done. But we must look ahead and wonder what more we can do. We can learn so much from those who have been here before us.
Like those activists in Montana, we can’t only continue to preach to the choir.
It’s nice to hear the choir sing in tune -- but we have to be brave like those early abolitionists and contrarians who sang a capella. That’s when audiences listen with understanding.
Maybe we have to be hated before we can be heard -- and maybe like Rachel Corrie we have to be willing to risk it all in order to be understood.