A tale of Three Protests – –

Jack still holding the fort while Wendy hits her deadlines – –

The first protest march I took part in was in the early 1960s and was from Edinburgh to Rosyth naval dockyard near my hometown of Dunfermline, to support the anti-nuclear movement. My strongest memory is of the police helicopters overhead all the way and then hovering much lower when we sat in the road outside the gates of the dockyard while photographers in the open copter doors took pictures of us. Very intimidating!

The next, and last time, was to support Scottish teachers who were on strike for better wages and conditions. This was during Margaret Thatcher’s reign as Prime Minister, and was the only successful strike during that time. She described all unions as ‘the enemy within’. My ex-wife was on the executive of the teachers’ union and our phone was very obviously tapped. Very intimidating!

Yesterday I came out of hibernation, having been outraged by the very public death of George Floyd. Our small town held a march and I must admit I was a bit worried about taking part, but felt that I simply had to.

The day before our police chief posted a message on Facebook that made it clear that the march had his blessing and he supported it.

We set off at Noon from the local college and turned into main street. I immediately noticed a number of things – all side streets were blocked by town council vehicles, there were only a very few obvious ‘white power’ folk and they were along the sidewalk taking pictures, the mayor (a white woman) and the police chief (a black man) led the march.

The blocked side streets reminded me of what happened in Charlottesville a couple of years ago and I felt a great sense of relief. The observing white power folk looked deflated and if they meant to intimidate it didn’t work. All the open businesses and churches along the route had free refreshments on tables. The three hundred or so people on the march were white, black and every other color in between.

Later in the evening there had been rumors of racists coming to town to cause trouble, so the police continued to patrol en mass, which was also very reassuring. In the event there was no trouble at all.

When I checked the local Facebook page this morning to find pictures of the march, I noticed what seemed like a solitary troll asking ‘innocent’ questions like “what happened in Wytheville last night with all the police?” – actually nothing but our excellent police officers keeping everyone safe, regardless of color.

Did I feel intimidated this time? Not so much – – –

Hate cannot drive out hate – only love can. Dark cannot drive out dark – only ‘The Light’ can.

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