April 24, 1983
It’s the lines of people that get to me, the row after row of protestors more than making up for the belts of bullets the soldiers wore, or the cops in their plastic bubbles and Billy clubs.
It takes determination to come out here, unarmed and vulnerable, to stand up for what is right against all these paid bullies.
My Marxist neighbor always rants on about The Revolution but he didn’t mean this. He means bullet for bullet, and you can’t beat a bad man by doing bad things, I tell him, and he disagrees.
He sees people rolling out of their homes to overthrow the evil government – for him Ronald Reagan is a blessing not a curse, someone to rally around.
He does not understand in a world filled with sinners that look like saints, no one will rally to such a cause when they love saint/sinners like Reagan, because they are as greedy as he is.
There are many like my Marxist friend in the crowd, but more of us, and in walking this walk and talking this talk, I hope we can contain our worst so as to keep their worst from hurting us.
But I hear them mumbling about kicking down the doors of capitalism, about dragging out the fat cats into the street where we can stone them.
And this scares me more than the official Billy clubs do.
This is more than about air line workers or overthrowing a government, it is about a change of heart, and how we must be better than who we oppose, and I’m scared that we aren’t, and that fundamentally, when we take over as each generation must we will be just as bad as those we replace.
Washington is above us now as we wink into the ground, the honeycombed interior of the Metro, a half moon dome over the tracks, reminding me something out of a science fiction move, then the train stops, and we rush in a flood over the platform and onto the street, all of us ready for battle, but not the same battle – some with pure hearts, but many as rotten to the core as those we oppose, and we must win against our own rotten apples before we dare shake down the tree.