On Laurel's instigation, we took part in the worldwide no-war! protests today, joining 1000 or more people at the state Capitol. It had been over 30 years since either of us had been in an antiwar protest march, so we were a bit out of practice. I had the LBJ chant all ready to go, realizing that some acronym substitutions had to be made, but it bothered me that GWB didn't rhyme so nicely with "hey" or "today."
Fortunately, the protest was much better organized than protests were in the late 1960s. Probably the organizers weren't nearly as stoned as in the old days, and could devote their mental energy to making up a neat little "Salem Peace Rally Program," complete with words to some chants and songs on the back. None of them were obscene, to my amazement, which goes to show how much things have changed from Vietnam protest days. It was disturbing, though, to realize that it is now necessary to tell young people the words to "Give Peace a Chance": "All we are saying... is give peace a chance (repeat over and over)".
At first, we were decidedly inhibited, chantwise. It took us a few blocks until we got into the spirit of things. But by the time we got downtown, Laurel and I were chanting like seasoned protesters. I liked the contrapuntal chants best, if thats the right word. Like, "No war"..."In Iraq." You could choose whether to join the "No war" chanters, or the "In Iraq" chanters. The chant often would evolve to a pleasing sexual differentiation, in which the higher pitched women would do "No war" and the men would supply a basser "In Iraq." All in all, it was a lot of fun. When is the next protest? We didn't make any signs, and we didn't take the dog, though I wanted to. Other dogs got to march, but for some reason Laurel wanted to leave Serena at home. Next time she goes, with a "Dogs for Peace" placard around her neck.
It was neat to see all the children at the march, ranging all the way from 10 years olds to the Gothic spiked-hair high schoolers. Made us feel younger for a few hours, and part of a community of peace-lovers. You can take the baby-boomers out of the 1960s, I guess, but you can never take the 1960s out of the baby-boomers. "Peace!"...[pause] "Now!" [repeat, until you get tired from all the marching and chanting, and decide that it is time for your 53-54 year old bodies to go home and take a nap].