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Monday, March 26, 2018

1969-2018: A 50 Year Timeline of Protest

Image result for dc march vietnam protest to shut down DC

     Saturday I attended my second protest march in DC ---- almost a half a century after the first one----the Vietnam Moratorium March pictured above in 1969.  50 years is a long time to pass. I noticed some similarities and differences in the two marches.  The differences were apparent in who was marching.  In 1969 the march was mostly young men who were of draft age.  The smell of pot was very apparent in the air during the March.  The radical fringe of the protest movement was present and there was civil disobedience on the fringe of the march.  Trash cans were overturned.  Obscenities were yelled in many of the protest chants.   I passed a trash can fire into which many marchers threw their draft cards.  I wasn't quite that bold.  My radicalism was more in the direction of reading about how to become a conscientious objector after losing my student deferment.
      My Baby Boomer generation saw itself are a new activist generation.  We were rejecting the complacency of our World War II parents generation.  We rejected authority that we were supposed to blindly follow.  The civil rights and Vietnam War protests were the precursors to the women's and gay pride movements.  We may not have ended the Vietnam War soon enough but for many of us it did make us activists for social change that continues to this day.
     Fast forward to this past Saturday's march.  The crowd was very different.  The youth that were there in 1969 were also there at the 2018 march but at his march there were many parents their younger children.  It was a much tamer crowd.  How could it be any thing else with that many teachers marching!

   There were a number of my generation there too.  One even carried a sign that read "Grandpa's for gun control."  Not many like those in 1969!

       Lots of spill over to the past women's and gay pride marches.  A common seen sign  was "Why is my uterus more regulated than guns."  Obviously a very liberal crowd.

      While our recent past president wasn't there his presence was on the minds of many of us at the march.

Our current leader got some attention at his hotel too.

   I saw signs from past gun massacres like Las Vegas, St. Mary's County and Virginia Tech.  None were more powerful then to see the signs from the Sandy Hook school massacre.

     I happened to walk by when one young women was being interviewed as shown below.  As I listened she explained that she was a 1st grade student at Sandy Hook the day of the shooting and her teacher had all her classmates go into a closet.  She heard the shots and screams.  She still has flashbacks when she hears a loud noise.  She is now in 6th grade.

      I have thought that if Sandy Hook couldn't bring about changes in our guns laws that we might never have any change in the near future.  I think the movement of young people might make a difference.  The next phase of the movement is to get young people registered to vote.  They know that NRA voters are the reason politicians don't do anything with our gun laws.  These young people want to be the counter weight in terms of voters to change the political dynamics on guns.  They might be successful where others have failed.
     As I left the march one sign spoke to the emotions shown on Saturday.  It simply said "When you say 'I love you' to your child as they leave for school it should never be the last time you get to say that because of a gun."

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