Article Overview:   Yesterday 30,000 people marched through New York City to protest the war.   As I walked through the crowds taking pictures, I wondered if they were protesting War or supporting Terrorism.   The question is one worth pondering rather than discarding.   See what you think.


Sunday, March 21, 2004—Ground Zero Plus 921
Protesting The War On Terrorism--A Vigilant View

Cliff McKenzie

     GROUND ZER0, New York, N.Y.--Mar. 21, 2004 -- New York City is one of the world's capitals of protestation.   No matter what the issue, thousands will line up with placards shouting their polarization to government's "heavy hand," as the protestors see it, and chant and march and sometimes revolt against the "authority" in hopes of effecting change.

War protesters march in Manhattan yesterday

       From Irish gangs marching up Broadway to women's suffrage movements, to countless of anti-war protests from as many eras as war has sprung, marching and protesting violence or injustice has been the hallmark of a democracy.
       Only when such protests turn violent do they become criminal in nature, for then the public safety not the Constitution is at risk.
        Yesterday was an example of the Victory of Vigilance over Terrorism, even though more than 30,000 protestors vermiculated their way down Madison Ave and up Sixth Avenue with signs and shouts calling America the Great Terrorist of the 21st Century.
         In free nations, ruled by the Vigilance of Democracy, citizens of such states can throw verbal rocks at their government without oppression or tyranny.   They can shout and scream and rant and rave with impunity.   No one is going to arrest them and put them in the torture or rape chambers for carrying a sign of the President of the United States with a label:  "Bush Is The Real Terrorist!"
        No one is going to arrest parents of young children who dress their children up in anti-government slogans and force them to march along with protestors as though the innocent children had already formed a hatred for their government and leaders.

I walked the march with my wife and friend Steve Moore

       I walked the march with my wife and another photographer, Steve Moore, and captured a number of photos of the protest march.    I like to go early as it is being organized, and capture the temperature at the beginning to see how far it will go.
       This protest was reasonable, mature.   Out of 30,000 marchers, only four arrests were made.   I have been in countless protests since 9-11, taking pictures and reporting the events for the VigilanceVoice.  In most of them the protestors sought to be arrested, especially those who laid down on Fifth Avenue in protest to the war more than a year ago, and those who attacked the police in another protest near Washington Square Park that brought out more than 200,000 activists.
          Of course, I have a little more than current war protestation under my belt.  As a Vietnam Veteran, I witnessed hundreds of protests against the war, including being spat upon by some of them because I had been a warrior.
           Despite the attitude I might have about protestors, I respect their rights.   Without such rights to stand up and shout one's beliefs, democracy and freedom are in peril.     I offered my life in vain to give Vietnam that freedom, but the attempt will not go unnoticed in history.  One day, when Vietnam is democracy, those of us who fought for that nation's right to be free will be honored.  That will be the redemption of the thousands who died feeling shame and guilt and defeat.
          The same is true in Iraq.    American protestors may rise up and attack the War on Terrorism with such ferocity as to drive the politics of Vigilance underground and allow the free reign of Terrorism to beat its chest in victory.
           I saw the protestors not shouting down war, but rather promoting Terrorism's right to rule.
          All the warriors in Iraq are volunteers.  None has been drafted.    Each warrior has chosen to fight for his or her nation, to die for it and all the principles it stands for.   One of those principles has been to go to any land and fight for the people of that land to enjoy freedom and liberty.

The Marines go where needed to fight for freedom

             Our international legacy goes way back.  As a Marine, our theme song:  "From the Halls of Montezuma, to the shores of Tripoli..." says it all in a way.  We go where we need to fight for freedom.
             Now, we are protesting not war, but Vigilance.
            When America is driven out of the War on Iraq, who will stand up for the rights of the people to be free? 
             Terrorism will have been victorious.
             Vigilance will have lost one more battle.
             It was hard for me to see the innocence of the protestors yesterday, but I forced it upon myself.    I listened to many scolding America, and watched as they boiled the flesh of government in oil and then tarred and feathered any righteousness in the name of greed and capitalistic avarice.

Communism was being sold as better than democracy or capitalism

         I saw all the communist tables with bumper stickers and slogans, selling the idea of communism as though it were some revelation better than democracy or capitalism.   And I saw the blindness of the young people--their right under a democracy--to kick their government in the groin and treat it as an ugly beast bent on chewing their viscera into pulp.
           I offer these pictures of the parade in hopes you might stop and think about what was really being protested.   Was it the War?  Or was it Vigilance?   And, who really won in the end?   Did Terrorism or Democracy get stronger?

Ask your children what democracy means to them

         Perhaps your children might answer the question better.   If you don't know what they think, ask them to define Terrorism:  "What is Terrorism to you?"     Have them give you some examples.     
          Then ask them what Democracy is to them?   Or Vigilance.   Or Freedom.   See if you can get them to compare the two in their own words and ways.
           Finally, without telling them or preaching to them, ask them what they think of people who protest what the government is doing in Iraq.    Try not to charge the question with "Are you for or against war," because that answer is obvious.
            See if your children understand more than we might all expect.
           See if Vigilance is more an issue for them than protesting government.  It just might be.

Some of what what was being protested.....Or supported?

Pictures of 'protest' or 'support'

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