Her Name Was Joanne pt. 2

joanne-2  I began snapping pictures right away of the meager group of protesters here to shake their fists at ‘the man’ in rebellion against war. The comical display of defiance was familiar to me, as I had witnessed this same pathetic display years ago on in Denver, Colorado. Many a night at the corner of Broadway and Colfax showed a struggle to keep the cause alive, numbers down to single digits waving their fists….you could see the look of defeat and humility in their eye. So was the case here in downtown Indianapolis. One old curmudgeon wearing sandals and socks began pointing a finger at me and walking my way as I snapped of more shots.
“I did not release that!”
I asked him to repeat himself.
“I did not release that photo!” Clearly the man was showing a chip on his shoulder.
“That’s okay,” I grinned. “I didn’t ask you to.”
He seemed a little stymied by my response. “If I see my image posted on the internet, I will hunt you down and find you.”
“Yeah, well, good luck with that.”
He clearly had no idea what do do about my lack of concern. I kept popping off pictures and listened to the others gathered try to small talk with passers by. The local tv news crew packed it up and left, pissed off at having wasted their time here when they could have been doing something-anything better. I could have left right then but since I was already down there I thought perhaps I’d stay and hunt up some locals smoking pot, hang out with the beautiful people. One of the eight from the protest group, a gentle looking white haired woman approach me with a serene smile.

 “Hello. My name is Joanne.” With that polite introduction we began a conversation about who we were, the failed protest, cabbages and kings.This meek looking woman had quite a history behind her. She had been arrested in various protests throughout the U.S.-you wouldn’t imagine a sweet looking lady like this with a rap sheet. She could walk circles around me as far as experience with rebellious movements and I decided to use her opinion to guide me in my beliefs about the common day problem with organizing movements against our government. We both agreed on a number of points; today’s society is so consumed with digital/social media that they can barely lift their heads up off their phone screens. Trying to grab the attention of enough individuals to stand in protest is becoming more and more difficult. We’ve lost ourselves in our technology and technology has pampered our spirits with yellow journalism. We’ve forgotten how to rally together on the streets; but it is never too late. If the people in Egypt can coordinate with cell phones and bring about a mass revolution, so can we. We just have to get people scared enough to go out and do something other than stare at their screens. This is where Joanne and I were also in agreement.
“You know,” I said to her. “If we ever want to get masses of people involved, there will have to be some blood shed.”
She agreed. She recounted to me how people back in the 30’s had rallied together in the southern states to protest conditions against textile workers. This was not to say she was there but she had grown up in Georgia as a child and had watched archive footage of when the southern states had coordinated together-with no cell phones-and mass marched for their cause…and how they were gunned down in the streets. This wasn’t the only time our citizens were gunned down in the streets for their desire to retain a healthy society. Our nation’s founding independence dripped with blood. Vietnam was hammered with protests and a little University called Kent State. Civil rights marches were peppered with dog attacks and beatings, fire hoses and tear gas. Episodes throughout our country’s history are smeared in buckets of blood and tragedy but they were the catalyst that got the rest of society off their asses and into action. This time the favor of vote kept us (America) from possibly enacting war against Iran, but what about the next time? Our governing politicians have had a free ride with personal agendas and have managed to become a most ineffective and heinous group of leaders, but who do they have standing up against them? A few thousand people on Facebook ranting about how unhappy they are? On a national level we have come to deal with racial issues again, as well as public feelings toward abortion and religious differences but the only one of those three that actually seemed to enact some form (albeit very little) action form our legislators or city officials was in response to investigating law enforcement’s recent rash of racial injustice….and why did that get a kick start? Blood in the street. Black people being killed right in front of us. Police being shot on the beat. This is an ongoing issue but it is on the forefront because action spoke louder than any smart phone. People on both sides of the aisle want the violence to stop and the way to make it stop is to take action, which leaders in places like Ferguson and Baltimore feel the need to do something.

 This post has gone on too long and I need to go have some scotch, smoke some weed, but I will not forget my talk with Joanne and what it reminded me. It reminded me that our country grows older and more experienced each day….let’s hope we grow wiser.


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