A day of resistance — and hope
Slipping into a daydream of university life, high school senior Alex Shumard is awakened by a nightmarish thought that he could be called into the trenches of war — or at the very least, have to work to pay for it. Stories from family and friends returning from the war, the bombardment of military recruiters at school and the idealism of textbook democracy and freedom are all reasons why Shumard and his friends are inspired to believe that citizens shouldn’t stand by without a conscience. The majority of Americans do not support the war in Iraq and yet most are not engaged in talking about it.
Inviting democracy in action and combating apathy are the hopes of several Lawrence North High School seniors who run the local chapter of The World Can’t Wait, a national activism group. They are organizing a day of resistance at the Statehouse Thursday, Oct. 5, beginning at 11 a.m. and continuing into the night. The event encourages citizens to take some time outside of their daily routines and come into a space where they can talk about how to build a future for America that includes both peace and prosperity.
At the surface, or as the flyer headlines, it might appear that the demonstration’s sole purpose is to call into question the words and actions of the president and his administration, but after talking with the group it becomes apparent that their focus is really to get people to come out of their offices and homes and begin to talk about the future of our country. They care deeply about the concept of true freedom and truly feel that their mission as patriots is larger than their own insights.
“We think that patriotism is more than just flying a flag, you have to be involved in your country and make sure that it will benefit the people it is supposed to benefit,” says Kelly McGuire, leader of the local group.
“There is so much apathy amongst young people — it is looked down upon to raise your voice and get involved. We don’t care if you are on the right or the left … just the idea of getting involved is the most important thing,” Shumard says. “It may not personally be affecting you but it is affecting millions of people.”
Most Americans have never had first-hand experience with the consequences of war and therefore it seems it is easier to decide that it could be a necessary and advantageous venture. Still, thousands have died and many more are dying each day and peace cannot be created out of violence. When will we ever learn if we don’t start talking seriously about it? Spreading freedom with bombs just doesn’t make sense. How free are you if you cannot drink the water or sleep in your own home for fear of death?
It is the hope of McGuire and Shumard and their group that Americans will make the change they want to see in the world — that we will promote peace and freedom by demonstrating it.
For more information: worldcantwait.net.