On Monday, I arrived home from the SOAW Vigil at Fr. Benning, GA. This gentleman clown was one of the most memorable people in the crowd at the protest.
It was a long drive to Georgia. On the way down I listened to some speeches by Dr. Martin Luther King. The most important thing that I learned from Dr. King as I traveled down to participate in a nonviolent peaceful protest was that our actions are not to humiliate our opposition. We are to approach our adversary with love. Dr. King also said that our opposition can be one of our best teachers. So as I participated in this protest I had a different attitude. I tried to approach my opposition with understanding and equanimity.
At the end of the Sat. rally, I was walking by myself to get the car as my friend interviewed another protester. There was a counter rally in support of the SOA at the street corner. I was walking to get to my car and I had to go through the protesters. Dr. King’s words were on my mind as I approached them and I saw them with love. I smiled and greeted them with nothing else on my mind except that I had to pick up my friends. As I approached they did not return my greetings and they avoided eye contact. When I passed them they turned and started chanting words in support of the SOA. I guess I am glad they did not start yelling at me as I approached, but I thought it was a poor move to chant as I walked away. I would have entered into dialogue with the opposition if it were not for their standoffish attitude. But Dr. King’s words helped me to love instead of getting angry or have fear.
Actually the Southern Christian Leadership Conference was at the rally in support of the SOAW. This was the organization that Dr. King and many others organized to promote non-violent peaceful protest. For me it was great that they were there at the rally. It was a sign of hope that things can change because they did change the world through non-violent action.