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1-2-3-4! W-d-w-y-f-w!!
Author: Shiloh

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"ONE! TWO! THREE! FOUR! WE DON'T WANT YOUR FUCKIN' WAR!!" ... and it's flashback time again, with protests and anti-war demonstrations and police barricades and marchers with banners and signs and slogans and even today's equivalent of the 'hard hats' who demonstrated against the Demonstrators, Back In The Day.

There it was, albeit buried a bit on page 3 of the first section of the Sunday paper... but it was there. Short article, really, a poorly cropped picture of the beginning of the parade marchers coming over a bridge, police on sidecar motorcycles out in front, then a street-wide line of the lead marchers all wearing yellow safety vests (wtf?), and lots of flags and stop the war signs... and it looked very orderly, very quiet, very...
...sterile.

Too much so. No tie-dyed shirts, no ragged jeans, no bare feet or sandals, no beads, no pregnant women in shifts holding babies in arms (that was to help keep the cops from tossing tear gas)... no angry faces (in fact, the only other picture with the article was a Vet wiping away a tear in what looks like a half-assed salute with the wrong hand, and getting hugged for the photo-op. At least there were some there who were marching under the heading of Iraq Veterans Against The War. But they were so quiet looking... not a trace of violence or real anger in the pictures at all. I'll bet none of them would know what to do if tear gas was used by the federales... no one had bandanas or water with them...

Oh well, it still brought a smile to my lips, and tugged at some memory strings in my mind - oh, the marches and demonstrations and the chanting and shouting and skirmishes we had with the police, the hard-hats, the pro-Vietnam War types... in some cities they even brought out the fire hoses, just like they did in Selma.

But, as the kids say today, that was then, this is now. Today they just get in a big group and walk down the street, and they shed a tear of emotion and as long as the press takes a couple pictures and someone says something 'profound' then they figure they have accomplished something.

They talked about the 3200 troops who have died in the Middle East, 'defending the American Way Of Life' and they said they figured their march would make a difference because thousands marched in protest against the war...

Lemme tell ya - when I was 'in country' and the shit hit the fan, we had a saying - "fuckit - it don't mean nothin'..." and sadly, while this protest march did get in the papers, and some footage was on the 11 o'clock news, tomorrow it will be back to business as usual.

Rosa Parks made more of an impression and accomplished more than all the protest parades anyone could put up, because ain't nobody in the oval office listening... ain't no generals ripping their stars off their shoulders and grinding them into the pavement under their boots... no sir! The only thing they did that was of any real note was they marched along the same path that vets and protestors marched back in 1967, which again ended at the Pentagon, and the activists and the antagonists were again kept apart by DC cops on horseback.

Lofty phrases mouthed, and angry words were exchanged, and that pretty well sums it all up. Eventually everyone went back home. No one today knows how to really protest - they don't have any manuals to refer to, and likely don't have any of the old protestors to give them any guidance (...hell, I'm too old for that shit now), and the protestors of yesterday would likely tell the protestors of today, "Fuckit - it don't mean nothin" and "it won't mean nothin'." And they'd be right.

Tomorrow the traffic pattern will be back to normal over that bridge in the picture, and it won't mean a thing that you and him and her and them walked down the middle of that big old street. You can protest, you can spout slogans, you can wave banners and signs, and you can, if you get into the right march somewhere, actually feel, for a little while, like you might make a difference... but next Monday you will still get up and go to that job of yours and nothing will have changed. The same news and the same stories and the same military actions and the SSDD will still be the norm, both here and in the Middle East...

I doubt that it will ever get to the point where both sides (are there only two sides over there, or are there more?) will be arguing over the size and shape of a peace conference table. There is no plan, there is no way to exit with our country saving face, there are just a lot of holes in cemeteries all over this country, and folks being told that GI Joe died "protecting the American Way Of Life."

What, exactly, was the American Way Of Life doing over there in the first place? How does a death over there, do anything about our way of life back here? And how does a folded flag handed to the wife or the mother or the father make it all feel better?

I'm a disabled vet, and I don't want to sound like I don't support the troops - I do... but I think the best way to support them now, since we are doing damn little else, is to get them back home where they belong.

I was in Vietnam as a volunteer, and it was bad enough then to read about how folks were going nuts back here in the States about the US involvement in Vietnam... they must be flipping out over there, while still trying to do what the sergeants and captains and lieutenants and majors tell them to do... and they still are not getting any idea that they are getting anything accomplished, other than to possibly be a target for a command-detonated mine (where someone sits off the side of the road and touches a second wire to an old 9-volt battery, and another soldier dies because his vehicle was next to a roadside bomb)...

Where is the dignity in that, where is the value traded for his life? The cost is too high and has been, ever since we got into this.

We did not learn a thing from the French debacle at Dien Bien Phu in 1954, and we didn't learn anything from our escape from the embassy rooftop in saigon on 29 and 30 April 1975...

We are involved in a civil war situation AGAIN, and we should not be. It is their country, their way of life, and they really don't want our way of life - they don't feel the need to have refrigerators or air conditioning or TV Dinners or Drive Up Windows at their Bank Branches...

'nuff said!

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Comments on this poem/writing:

doc (10.23.23.2) -- Friday, August 31 2007, 07:54 pm

amen

some people really do read what you write....
shiloh (66.24.112.118) -- Saturday, September 1 2007, 06:10 am

thank you...

thank you for your comment, doc - i appreciate it when someone takes the time to read something i've done, and if they are kind enough to comment, then that is all the better, as it shows me that i have said something - whether it is good or bad - and it made someone think about what i wrote. i think that is all that anyone who writes wants - to make just a slight impression so that someone else will pause a moment mentally... i hope you enjoyed the pause. peace... hank (shiloh)
shiloh (66.24.112.118) -- Monday, September 3 2007, 10:55 pm

doc...

just curious - were you a medic or a corpsman? and if so, were you also a bac si? if so, then welcome home.
Puppet (71.202.113.80) -- Tuesday, March 4 2008, 07:11 am

Whoa

Dude, you're a great writer. The words just FLOW...
shiloh (66.24.112.118) -- Wednesday, March 5 2008, 01:51 am

thank you

i appreciate your comments and thoughts - glad you like my stuff - i try to write to make people think, although a lot of the time they don't really want to... but they really should. peace... shiloh
shiloh (74.65.121.49) -- Thursday, June 12 2008, 01:35 am

just another thought...

Oh, and if you ever DO happen to get into a real protest, and you happen to get arrested by the cops, when they ask for your social security number, give them this one: 567-68-0515... it's Richard Nixon's -- yeah, it really is.
 
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