Loud voices

While marching down Washington Avenue in last Thursday’s anti-war rally, I was appalled to see fellow protestors harassing people in their cars and blaming them for the Iraqi deaths to come. The rally continued past the U.S. Army recruiting office, where several coffins were left to signify the future Iraqi deaths if the United States goes to war with Iraq.

Standing by the window of the recruitment office was a man with a child on his back, flipping off a man working in the recruitment office. These images have remained fixed in my mind along with Tony Dahlman’s Oct. 28 letter, “Listening to the protestors,” which reinforces the notion that this sort of political action makes no friends.

Pondering the confrontations I witnessed on Oct. 24, it became clear to me that we need to remain respectful in order to gain respect. We cannot expect people to join our movement simply because we are the loudest.

Instead, we must impress people by the sheer number of individuals working together in order to make this movement cohesive. Confrontation does not create support; it can only make enemies.

People may not agree with our stance, but trying to force them into submission certainly isn’t the answer. Someone who is undecided on the issue would likely be turned off by the movement if confronted in this way.

Also, as a whole, our movement is likely to be seen as a bunch of angry radical hippies protesting who knows what, rather than regular people calling attention to something worth thinking about and acting upon.

When protesting, whatever the cause may be, we must question whether we want people to join us or be afraid of us. If we remain clear and sure of our intentions, while remaining peaceful in every sense of the word, our message becomes louder than our voices can ever be.

Brandon Braegelmann, freshman, environmental studies