Monday, December 15, 2008

There Are Moments...

No Impact Man posted a letter from Bill McKibben and Wendell Berry today. It was an invitation to an anti-coal protest in Washington DC on March 3. The names are big. The ambitions are big. And the language is big too.

There are moments in a nation's—and a planet's—history when it may be necessary for some to break the law in order to bear witness to an evil, bring it to wider attention, and push for its correction.

I'm not sure how to react.

And I think a big part of that is that my generation doesn't know civil disobedience. We've heard stories, seen movies, read Howard Zinn. But not a lot of us have invited arrest or teargas or nightsticks.

Maybe we're weak. Maybe we're brainwashed. Maybe we're too comfortable.

But maybe we're better educated and broader minded. Maybe we see other paths. Maybe we have other tools.

I don't know.

It's definitely unsettling to see smart people so scared of coal and carbon and so fed up with business and government that they're asking their friends to march and sit and face the police. But it feels distant, a thing of another time.

And that makes me want to ask questions.

How well organized is this movement?

How will they spread their message? How will they grow?

How many people will make the trip to DC that day? How many won't because they're too scared?

What will the protesters do? Sing or scream? And will it make a difference?

Will there be fanfare? Drama? Press? Leading up to the protest? Or only once it happens?

And, of course, how will Don Blankenship and Barack Obama react?

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