I consider myself a peace activist, but it is a hard road to travel. Where to go, what to do, when to do it. How involved to get, not only with your money and your mind, but all out acts of civil disobedience.
Discern, by dictionary, means to perceive by the sight or the intellect, or to distinguish mentally. The decision to attend demonstrations, to be visable and vocal is fairly easy for me to do. I am good as part of the crowd, one of many making up the whole. I find it a very effective way of getting the message out, one of many, who understands the power in numbers.
But individual acts of civil disobedience puts you into the arena alone. The stakes are definitely higher, and the reasons for doing it must be clear in your head. This is heavy stuff, involving arrest, confinement, and notoriety. Why in the heck am I even talking about this???
I will tell you why. House Bill # 1707 was defeated again this year by a few votes. The bill was written to eliminate funding for the SOA/WHINSEC. That notorious combat training facility for Latin American security personnel located ar Fort Benning , Georgia. It is a school of torture and failed U.S. policy, and you and I are paying for it with our taxes.
Every year in November, at the gates of Fort Benning, thousands of the little people who value justice gather to demonstrate against the schools human right abuses. I've been there and demonstrated, and am now discerning if the time has come for me to do more.
It's hard when family and friends think you're crazy for even considering it. One member of my family stated "why in the world would you do that? It wouldn't make a bit of difference, and it sure would not change a thing". I think of the solidarity that would unite me with all the people who died and whose families were torn apart by this program. Am I crazy? Maybe.
I remember something Robert F. Kennedy said, and I think it addresses the little people like me. "Few will have the greatness to change history itself, but each of us can work to change a small portion of events, and in the total of all those acts will be written the history of this generation."