It’s Sunday. I went out at the park, walked around the lake. Though ringed with a busy road, the lake is mostly peaceful. The path is set far enough away that, for those of use accustomed to city noises, you barely even notice the traffic.
About three-quarters of the way around the lake, I passed a protest march that was thankfully going in the other direction. Now, by protest march I mean a odd mix of about six or seven people, with another four people whom I don’t believe had anything to do with the protest, but were really just stuck behind them.
Like all protests, some of the people had signs. I think there were three. I only remember two. One said “LIARS!” which seemed like an aggressive start. Below that, it said, “Impeach the Liars!”
I came up with a couple scenarios about the person carrying this sign. The first one was they made this sign a long, long time ago. After all, when is the last time any of us thought seriously about impeachment? I think it briefly sashayed across my brain when the democrat’s took congress last year. But I quickly decided impeachment hearings at that point would have been a disappointment. After all, the democrats fought for six years for that toe-hold of power. Seems like it would be better they do something positive instead of bogging everything down with in-fighting.
No, like many of my peers, I have adopted the win-by-waiting attitude as far as the president goes. I do occasionally indulge a fantasy where, after he leaves the office, the next administration tries him on war crimes. But I know better. Look at Nixon. Look at Reagan. Got a damn airport named after him. People get nostalgic about everything past, be it the abusive lover or the bad president. Nixon got us out of Vietnam, for which we are thankful. Reagan made America the powerhouse economy that allows even the poorest citizen to buy inflatable Santas for their yard. Everyone did something good, once.
So option two, after laziness, is that this protester didn’t feel the way I did. That they actually thought there was something to gain by starting impeachment proceedings this close to the end of Bush’s presidency. (at the time of this writing, three hundred and eight-six days. Plus two hours and eleven minutes.) Perhaps they wanted revenge. But no matter which option you choose, they are definitely the sort of person I always get stuck talking to at a cocktail party.
Of course, this person wasn’t the one who really annoyed me. The annoying one was carrying the sign that said, “Honk for Peace.”
Who could resist this simple request? Hell yes, you want peace. So you honk. You honk enthusiastically. And the next person? They want peace, too. They want it even more. And the person after that? They’re not going to be outdone. In fact, they are going to win! They are going to honk the shit out of some peace.
In the split second you’re driving by, you don’t really have time to think about it. Maybe you never think about it ever. American drivers, especially in California, are famous for giving their brains backseat to their hubris. But that’s another story.
My point is this: people drive by in their cars and they honk. A steady stream of horns surrounds the protesters. They are honking for peace, and they are raising a ruckus.
Now I’m not opposed to making noise to get what you want, but I do think it would help if there was even some slight possibility that this noise might help something. Anything. For example, it sucks to get your eardrums pierced by a fire engine siren. But those firepeople are running off to do something good, so I’m not suffering in vain.
But I can’t even begin to describe how sure I am that destroying the serenity of a park in Oakland is not going to affect our government’s war policy. In fact, the only possible benefit of all this irritating noise is that some yahoo rushing off to a post-Christmas sale is going to feel like they’ve done their part in stopping the war.
With well-organized opposition like this, I don’t see how we ever ended up at war in the first place.