If only I’d known about it ahead of time…

2 minute read

August 29, 2005, 5:18 PM

The talk in both local newspapers (the News Leader and the News Virginian) this weekend was about two political demonstrations on back-to-back days in Staunton in front of the Augusta County Courthouse.

On Friday at noon, an anti-war demonstration went on. The group was demonstrating in support of Cindy Sheehan’s demonstration in Crawford, Texas. According to this article in the News Leader, about 25 people demonstrated in front of the courthouse. The demonstration was sponsored by the Virginia Anti-War Network. The Augusta Coalition for Peace and Justice was also represented there.

At Friday’s demonstration, there was a group of four people across the street carrying Bush campaign signs. These were the counter-protesters. According to the same article, James Waltz, a recent Riverheads High School graduate, and one of the counter-protesters, said that the anti-war demonstrators are “really on the fringes.”

I don’t know about that. I’ve seen GREAT turnout at anti-war demonstrations in DC, with lots of people there to denounce the war and calling to bring our troops home immediately. Now down where I live, in Augusta County, we are strongly reminded that Virginia is a “red state”. Most people in this area are Republican, voted for Bush in both elections, and are pro-Iraq war. So I was quite pleased to find an anti-war demonstration right in my backyard, so to speak (as compared to DC).

Then on Saturday, the tables were turned, as a group of pro-war demonstrators rallied in front of the Augusta County Courthouse. According to this article in The News Virginian, more than 100 people showed up for the pro-war rally, with Rhonda Winfield, mother of Jason Redifer, a Stuarts Draft man who was killed in Iraq, as one of the main speakers. The rally was organized by Lynn Mitchell.

The article says nothing about counter-protesters at the pro-war rally.

I just wish I’d known about Friday’s anti-war rally! What a disappointment. If I’d known about it, I would have been there. Of course, I can tell you exactly why I didn’t know about this demonstration. The four days prior to it, I had been on vacation, way on the other side of the state. So it’s understandable why I didn’t hear about it. Then for the pro-war demonstration, I might have just counter-protested at. I also didn’t know about that one until it was too late – I found out about it Saturday afternoon, after the event had already started. Besides, I had to work. But I just might have gone with an anti-war banner or two and held it up on the other side of Johnson Street, across from the main demonstration.

I even thought of a slogan to put on the sign: “How can you demonstrate in front of the halls of justice in support of an unjust war?” Feel free to use my slogan on your own anti-war banners.

Still, I’m very pleased to see some anti-war spirit being demonstrated in our otherwise very red little county, but it’s too bad I didn’t get to go.

Web site: Old article on Charlottesville Indymedia about the Virginia Anti-War Network's Principles of Unity

Song: Tubthumping by Chumbawumba. That's the song that goes like, "I get knocked down, but I get up again!"

Quote: "Wish I could have gone..." - Me on the fact that I couldn't make it to either one.
However, see you on September 24 in Washington DC for the next big anti-war demonstration, when we take to the streets once again to get our message out.