portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article commentary united states

government | human & civil rights

FEAR

we must double our efforts---now
FEAR


The little black electric clock was buzzing, I was in a wonderful dream, and we were at peace. When I looked at the clock it said 0600; I had to get up and be about the business of protesting on the Morrison Bridge, Portland, Or. I wanted coffee----give me coffee and all things would seem better. My beloved wife Patty said, "You don't have to get up, it is your day off, and taking one Friday off from your protest will not change the world." During my second cup of coffee, waiting for the bus to come at 0705, I wondered what keeps me going.

What makes a guy who is happy with his life, has a great lady to share his adventure of living for the last 25 years (+)---grandkids that think he is funny and love building things with him; what makes him risk being arrested or run over by some nutty Bush supporter who gets angry over one of his signs.

What makes this guy, who now calls himself the "Lone Vet" because he has decided to stand alone on the bridge from 0730-0830 every Friday with a sign that most people ignore, some cheer, and others who yell commie coward. One word comes to mind, "Fear."

I spent nine years of my life in the United States Navy, (1962-71) fighting for what I thought was the greatest, most wonderful country in the world. My last year in the Navy was a turning point for me. I came to that uncomfortable place we all reach at one time or another; my beliefs did not reflect the truth of what my country was doing in my name. The Vietnam war was now exposed as a big lie, two Presidents had lied to us, Johnson to get us into the war and Nixon who promised us that he would get us out with honor, and soon. The country was being torn apart and everyone was taking sides, I chose the side of peace and "Get us out of Nam." The war ended and so did my protest. I wanted to go to college, as my military career was finished half way through to retirement and I had to start over. During the next few years I went to college and worked as a volunteer in the Peace House located in San Diego, Ca. When Nixon resigned I thought we had won a great victory. I went to college full time on and off for the next few years, finally getting a BA in 1979. Fast forward to 2000.

I was stunned when the Supreme Court gave the election to Bush by a 5-4 decision making him the most powerful man in the world. I could not believe what had happened. I remember writing in my Journal this was going to be the worst four years in our history; little did I know how bad it was going to get.

Bush loves to invoke 9/11 in his speeches, well when it happened I knew we would go to war, Afghanistan was going to be destroyed and the retaliation was going to be awful, and it continues to this day. The invasion of Iraq was a major stain on our nation that will take generations to pay for, and I don't just mean money. My grandkids will being paying for this war and that makes me so pissed. I no longer even try to convince people that this war is wrong on so many different levels, I just protest. I believe that if you still support Bush you believe the sun goes around the earth.

So I give a few hours of my time, I write to my representatives to the point they groan when they see one of my letters. I talk on radio talk shows and plan other protests down the line, I do fear so.

I fear that this coming Friday will be the last time I can protest, that right is being taken away piece by piece. The first amendment is under heavy attack from this criminal administration.

I fear that I am getting old and will not be able to stand on the bridge for health reasons.

I fear that America will lose that wonderful trait of trying to be a noble nation.

America has never been perfect and never will, we have done terrible things in the past, but I always had the feeling we, as a people, are at least trying.

So, we are back where we started, and I would like to keep talking to you but here comes the number 15 bus, have to go- my bridge is calling. If you see me, a smile helps.

In Peace,
Joe

homepage: homepage: http://www.squadron13.com/LoneVet/halfmast.htm

thanks Joe 27.Sep.2005 18:55

nobody

I am glad that you are out there protesting! You are appreciated and I hope that your efforts make a difference to any Bush supporter that decides to switch on his/her brain one morning and looks up to see you.

and double thanks Joe 27.Sep.2005 20:10

--

for perservering and taking your stand.

Never fear, Joe 28.Sep.2005 14:06

Jody Paulson

It's because of people like you, the tiny, isolated contingent of hurricane (as opposed to sunshine) patriots, that this country -- nay, this world -- will be saved.

DOUBLE YOUR EFFORT 28.Sep.2005 16:56

JOE WALSH

Will increase my protest to include Thursdays, trying to work something out where I would direct people to progressive radio here in Portland. During the Vigil of the Bridges, I was amazed about how few people knew we had a progressive station here, so I thought to do something positive on Thursday and hit hard on Fridays.

Possible sign for tomorrow and Friday if I don't hear from the radio station:

BUSH

DESTROYED

FEMA

NOW

DESTROYING THE VA


------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


TRIFECTA
Of
SLIME

DeLay
FRIST
ROVE

Yuck!!!!!

I am still thinking of Sundays, but have not put it together yet

In peace
Joe

America never tried to be a noble nation 29.Sep.2005 00:15

.

American people sometimes do.

keep it up 29.Sep.2005 06:10

anonymous german coward joe-portland.10.brainless@spamgourmet.com

I'm amazed that you keep on getting up that early for a good cause :) and yet another idea for a sign:

Frodo lost - Bush has the ring

Thanks 29.Sep.2005 08:22

Working Class Mama

Thanks for your article. I think the most important thing about what you do, is that you remind us all that we are not alone. That others are aware of how fucked up things are and are doing things about it. Sometimes it's hard to remember that, as the corporate media builds a false image of majority consent for imperialism. Remember, the true majority of americans don't vote because they know the system is bullshit from experience or are denied that right because of their race/class(felonies and other such technicalities). So take the minority who is elligible to vote, cut that number. Then take the minority who are registered to vote, cut that number. Then take the minority who actually did vote, cut that into pieces(some for Kerry, Bush, then all the other parties). You start to see that we go from talking about millions down to a few hundred thousand. We, the silent majority, need to stand up and create a fair system that includes our voice. Thank you Joe, dedicated people like you remind us of the possibilities.

Your Awesome Joe 29.Sep.2005 10:38

Arturo

Hey Joe I don't wake up that early in the morning to have noticed you on the bridge so I appreciate your story. I also appreciate your courage and commitment. I understand your fear and hope others would too. Thanks again Joe your awesome.

bush vs va 29.Sep.2005 13:21

karl roenfanz ( rosey ) k_rosey48@hotmail.com

really it goes back several presidents/congress's. the va seams to be designed to kill off us vets. you might go in with a complaint for twenty years before they even record it. i've had three vd tests because of lumps, the doctors never wrote down about the lumps! the gall bladder came within a year of killing me, a doctor at deconess hosp finally diagnosed it, then the va got around to taking it out. i had in almost eleven years, still haven't seen any of my ten year pension. i was put out when i wouldn't follow my company commanders religious rules. he tried for a dishonerable, but my record was to clean. i have no doubt that the mistreatment of prisoners is ordered from above, but seldom in writing, its been going on since wwII.

non-sequiturs 29.Sep.2005 21:00

--

This war has all been going on for a mighty long time, the endangered, revered culture of resistance, its glory, its pejoratives, unexpected sorrows and defeats. Know that its spirit is old and many recruits new, and can often be expressed in one lone symbol, right or wrong, but continuing the ancient right and duty to stand up, to say who you are, finally, in that moment.

Remember also, that you can guess about your present and future allies but cannot know... can only do you best to discern who will not give you up. That person from that liberal middle class may have just decided that enough is too much. She or he may be your moment's or next century's best salvation, or one of them... one of the many who say "this far is too far, and this is what that means." And your potential, system-described, enemies... the same applies.

eyes open, hearts open, gates guarded.

beware and on the lookout, for we do not entirely know.

by their fruits, you shall know them.

this can be said of all nations and all people 29.Sep.2005 21:24

--

and sometimes is, so thanks for saying it:

"America never tried to be a noble nation
American people sometimes do. "

Real Patriotism 06.Oct.2005 02:48

Sixpack trid2bnrml@netscape.net

I wish that a small part of your essence could "rub off" on all who pass by you. If more americans were as devoted to what life in america is supposed to be, as you are, we would toss out all the trash in this administration tomorrow. There is no branch of government that is beyond the reach of the power of the people---all we have to do is REACH.