3-18-06 Anti-War Counter Protest
After Action Report
“So, what has George Bush done to show his enemies that he loves them?” (The stupidest question of the day launched by an intellectual and repeatedly self-described “progressive” Christian law professor regarding the president’s actions towards terrorists.)
Most of the people at the protest were nice. Those that had something nasty to say did so in drive-by fashion. “George Bush is the enemy,” while walking quickly past us. “Oh, you’re protesting peace,” as they hurried across the street to join the peaceniks. One man actually walked backwards across the street while giving us a verbal lashing. The only problem was that he hadn’t a single tooth in his head and his lips were like earthworms on steroids. We couldn’t understand a word he said. It all came out as “Thhhhhhhhppptttoooo, sscchhhhhhhhpot, sshhhhhhtat!” I simply responded with a smile and said, “Have a nice day!” Mom asked, “Are they all spineless? Don’t they have the balls to say something to our face? Most of them only snipe!”
We arrived downtown at about 12:45 and parked in a garage about a block away, due east of the Circle. It was a nice sunny day, but cold and windy. People had already started gathering on the Circle. We decided to walk around the south side of the Circle first to see if there were any others like “us”…people who support the troops, think they should be allowed to finish the job, who are proud of the great job they have done thus far. No luck at finding others, so we stationed ourselves on the outer portion of the Circle, on the northwest corner where Meridian Street comes in. This put us directly across the street from the anti-war crowd.
We stationed ourselves and held up our signs. One two-sided sign said: “Support the Troops, Let Them Finish the Job!” and “Honor the Dead by Rooting for Victory!” The other two-sided sign, the one I held, said: “Peace Activists Aid the Enemy!” and “Al Qaida Supports You! WE DO NOT!” I also held a single-sided sign which read, “Support the Troops! Support the Mission!”
We could see people across the street reading our signs, prompting me to turn my sign around for their benefit. I wanted them to know exactly how I felt. Not long after we revealed our signs, several men made their way across the street towards us. Their names were Gary, Gary and Jerry, all Vietnam veterans, one in a wheelchair. The man in the wheelchair asked Mom, “Finish the job, eh? I guess that’s the problem. No one knows when the job will be finished.” I spoke up, “When Iraq can take care of its own security and provide for its own defense, it will be finished.” He mentioned that it seemed highly unlikely that would ever occur since they couldn’t do anything but squabble over the kind of government they wanted. I reminded him that they were a very young democracy and that they were going to “squabble” over many things for quite a long time. I said, “Expecting everything to go smoothly in such a short time is unrealistic. Do you think any Democracy was able to agree on everything immediately?” He just shook his head. He said he couldn’t support the war because of all the people getting killed and I asked him if he could recall any war our country has ever been in where no one was killed. Again, he just shook his head. He then asked if I felt the falling poll numbers meant there was little support for the war in Iraq. I told him the poll numbers only meant that they (pointing to the peaceniks across the street) had achieved a little more success with their propaganda campaign. He said, “Wow. Propaganda. Thanks.” I said, “You’re welcome.” I said, “I’m here because what happened in this country during Vietnam will not happen again if I can help it. Anti-war propaganda will not go unchallenged as long as there is breath in my body. Our troops deserve better.” We talked for a while more and, after my replies stumped him repeatedly, he said, “I respect your opinion.” I thanked him for his service to our country, and off he went.
The other two men, Gary and Jerry, had been talking to Mom, so I didn’t hear what they had to say. After they left, though, she said they acted as though their status as Vietnam veterans qualified them as being “right” and us wrong. Mom told them that family members and friends who were also Vietnam veterans felt exactly as she and I did and she was there representing them. They all left on friendly terms.
A countless number of people drove by shouting “Alright!” or giving the thumbs-up to Mom and me. Quite a few people went out of their way to tell us that they were with us 100%. One man came over with his daughter who looked to be about 11 or 12 years old. He shook our hands and said he used the anti-war rally as an educational tool for his daughter. They had walked through the crowd while he explained the lies on the signs to her. They stood with us for about 10 minutes.
The actual first person to join us as we stood on the corner was a window washer. He had been washing the exterior windows of the Columbia Club high above the crowd and came down on his break to see what was going on. He was disappointed with what he found. When he saw us, he made a beeline towards us to shake our hands and tell us he agreed with us completely. He stayed with us for the duration of his break and when it was time to return, said he wished he had a huge sign to unfurl from the top of the building he was working on. Ah, that would have been wonderful, but no such luck.
Another man came walking across the street with his girlfriend. He was a Gulf War veteran and he told us he agreed with us and shook our hands. He pointed at the crowd across the street and said “Those folks are idiots.” His girlfriend said, “And he ain’t getting no loving after today!” She was a peacenik, but she seemed nice enough and she made her remark with a smile on her face. Hopefully it WAS just a joke! They walked on, but when they returned, she went over with the peaceniks and he stayed with us, holding one of our signs. He stayed with us for about 40 minutes.
Some young folks came walking up from Ivy Tech, a young man and young lady. She was a student there and he was in from New York visiting her. They both agreed with us and stood with us for about 10 to 15 minutes. Another young man came walking by, said “God bless you for doing this” and kept walking, holding his arms up and yelling “Bush! Bush!” to see if he got a reaction from the other side of the street. I raised my signs and hollered “Wooooweeeee!” at him and he responded in kind.
The peaceniks were comprised of a variety of folks – old, young, hippyish to preppyish. One man was carrying a McDonald’s sign, with the golden arches made out of cardboard. Instead of McDonald’s, it said “McDubya’s” and he wore a Cheney mask. Mom asked what in the hell his message was supposed to be. I said, “I don’t know. The only thing I can figure is that he’s trying to say “Look at me. I’m an asshole.”
At some point during the "peace" rally, Cindy Sheehan called in and gave a speech via a cell phone. We couldn't really hear what she was saying as the PA system wasn't very good. Thank goodness for small favors.
The prize encounter of the day, though, was with the condescending, elitist “law professor” quoted above. She came over with a smile on her face, trying to mask her desire for an argument. Her first words were, “Hello, I’m a law professor and I guess I’m one of the enemies.” We said hello. She asked if we were Christians, because Christ said we were to “love our enemy.” I said, “Oh, do you love George Bush?” She said she did. She’s a Christian, she said, but she would do everything in her power to remove the criminal from office. Mom asked her what made her think he was a criminal. She said “wiretapping Americans, the illegal, immoral war in Iraq, and the unconstitutional Patriot Act.” Mom said, “wiretapping Americans?” And she said, “Yes. I’m a law professor and what he did was clearly against the law.” Mom said, “But what about all the other law professors who have come to a different conclusion than you? Are you going to dismiss them?” The lady said, “Ma’am, have you even read the law? I’m a law professor,” as though no one on the face of this earth had the qualifications to question her. I spoke up, “I have read it and you’re wrong. Warrants are needed only when Americans are the TARGET of the wiretapping. They were not. The TARGETS of the wiretaps were foreign agents calling into, or being called from, the U.S., which is clearly allowed by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.” Rather than argue with any of the facts laid before her, she chose to attack my intelligence. “And what do YOU know about the law?” I said, “I’m neither a lawyer nor a law professor, but I’m also far from stupid. Do you think Americans, those who aren’t law professors, are too stupid to understand the law?” Rather than answer, she chose to change the subject. “Do you agree with the war in Iraq?” I said, “Yes, I do,” and while I was answering that question, she fired off another. “Do you think George Bush is a Christian?” I said, “What does that have to do with anything?” “Well,” she said, “he says he’s a Christian, but he doesn’t act like one. As Christians, we’re called to love our enemy. If he’s a Christian, why aren’t our troops in Rwanda instead of Iraq?” she asked. I said, “Don’t you mean Darfur? Why are you blasting him for “illegally invading a sovereign” country, suggesting we had no “right” to invade even for humanitarian reasons, while blasting him for not invading another sovereign country for humanitarian reasons? Isn’t that a bit hypocritical, not to mention intellectually dishonest?” They’re so hypocritical on all their stances! Again, she changed the subject. “I’m talking about motive. We’re over there killing innocent people after we armed Saddam.” I said, “That’s a lie. Aren’t you, as a Christian, supposed to tell the truth?” She said, “Yes.” I suggested she could start by dropping that lie from her rhetoric. I informed her that between 1970 and the Gulf War, the U.S. was responsible for providing a total of 1% of all of Iraq’s weapons imports, the majority of their weaponry came from Russia, China and France. She responded by saying (and I’m still giggling over it), “If I give you a gun, I’ve armed you.” I said, “If that’s the analogy you want to use, fine. If all of Iraq’s weapons were a ‘gun,’ it would be more accurate to say the U.S. provided a bullet or a grip, not the entire gun. Suggesting otherwise is a LIE, something your Christianity forbids.” I asked her why she would rather ignore the truth and damn her own country by giving everyone else a pass. She said, “Did I ever say I damn my country?” I asked her what she thought she was doing by lying about who armed Saddam, giving all other countries a pass, ignoring the facts, and instead choosing to lie about it and her country. She said she didn’t give everyone else a pass, but America is where she lived, voted and could change policy. I said, “When you say ‘We armed him,’ it is a lie and you’re consciously choosing to lay blame on your country, one of those LEAST responsible for it. You are damning your country by doing so.” Again, she changed the subject. “The bible says we’re supposed to love our enemies. What has George Bush done to show our enemies that he loves them?” After picking my jaw up off the pavement, I said, “What would you have him do…send over a ship full of Americans to expose their throats for the terrorists’ enjoyment?” She said, “I can see there won’t be any areas of agreement between us.” I said, “No, I don’t think there will be.” She said, “I’ll pray for you. You know, we’re working very hard to take Christianity back to the way it should be, to what it really represents, which is love.” I said, “You do that, and we’ll pray for you, too.” Mom said, with a smile and a bewildered look on her face, “Yeah. You really, really need it.”
I can’t really remember all this crazy lady said, but I do remember her responding to something Mom said with, “Oh, but that’s in the Old Testament,” as though it should be ignored. When called on it, she brought up some passage from the OT which called for stoning someone as punishment. When Mom and I were both attempting to tell her that the LESSONS of the OT were still valid, she continually changed the subject. I also remember asking her what gave her the right to take one passage of the bible, “Love your enemies” and to ignore everything else contained within it in her quest to bend over backwards to bash her country. She never answered. She did go out of her way to portray herself as a TRUE Christian, whereas Mom and I were only “pretending” or “fake” ones. I kept thinking, “This woman is delusional and truly believes everyone, aside from herself, is too stupid to see the truth.” It’s scary to know that she is actually in the position of influencing young minds!
After she left and Mom and I recovered from the incredulous encounter, we stayed around for several more minutes. Things were winding down and the chill had settled into our bones. The final high note was to see an SUV with two occupants driving by. The passenger of said SUV was giving the one finger salute to the peaceniks on the Circle through the driver’s lowered window. I cracked up laughing and looked at Mom’s watch. It was 2:40 p.m. and I said, “Let’s wrap it up. I think we’ve done our job.” Mom agreed and we made our way back to the parking garage.
Mom did an interview with the Indianapolis Star. I gave an interview to Fox 59 and a Bloomington student newspaper. Fox’s coverage was short, but pretty unbiased, which is good.
That’s it for now.
Until next time…..