Mon, Oct. 14

Letter: If I choose to protest, it will be an act of free will, bold definance


This letter is in response to one which appeared recently in which the writer alleged that most political demonstrations were and are instigated and financed by various left-wing organizations. I can not remain silent under that old-saw, right-wing attack.

Allow me to begin by stating by that I am neither, black, brown, Hispanic, Middle Eastern, Arabic, Muslim, poor, a welfare recipient or a member of any other group often held under scrutiny by many of my countrymen. I am not naive, am intelligent and well educated.

I was child during WWII, a teenager during the McCarthy era and Korean Confict and a young adult with young children during the Civil Rights struggle & the Vietnam war. While I was still too young to effectively do much during the McCarthy debacle of the 50’s I was none-the-less as vocal as I could be in whatever ways possible to voice my dissent against that particular unfortunate period. However for the following two events I was adult enough to have become extremely involved in protesting both those occurrences. I went down south with the Freedom Marchers in the 60’s and though I never disparaged our armed forces I did participate in many anti-war demonstrations around that same time. I was also present at MLK’s first March on Washington, “Poor Peoples” and the Edmund Pettus Bridge march (Selma to Montgomery) all of which took place while I lived on the east coast. AT NO TIME during any of those or any future demonstrations, rallies or marches was I ever approached, guided and/or certainly not paid by any organization or party of any kind. The only group I ever belonged to was the then “Justice and Peace” committee which was formed by a number of like-minded parishioners in the Catholic church of which I was a member during the Civil Rights & Vietnam War eras.

I was raised in a totally apolitical atmosphere yet from my earliest teen years on I have always held a profound belief of what in my own mind is right and just regardless of which persons or group are being mistreated.

Nobody, much less any group behind the scenes has ever instructed me what to believe or what causes to espouse. I strongly resent the fact that anyone attempts to demean me or anyone else who feels as strongly as I do by suggesting that we need to be prodded or mislead into doing their bidding. I have a strong mind of my own and will stand by any protest I make against any law or practice I believe to be wrong. If there are consequences to be paid I will and have dealt with them as well. In fact I had been briefly arrested in the 60’s and 80’s for peaceful civil disobedience when protesting against the war, abridgment of civil rights & even at the South African embassy in NYC when I protested against the evils of Apartheid on my days off from work.

May I remind the earlier writer that peaceful protest is a very American and yes, patriotic thing to do. When something is happening within our country with which we strongly disagree but have no ability to vote against (like an unjust war for example) there is no other recourse by which to express our dissent. Only in third world dictatorships is such behavior forbidden.

So before making false allegations, which ironically themselves may have been influenced by “outside sources”, please give the credit due to those of us who are willing to put ourselves on the line and even take consequences that may result for the causes we espouse when dictated to do so by our own consciences.

Gail Kennedy


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