Coffee and Contemplation: Nonviolent Resistance and Protesting

A couple days ago something amazing happened in Portland, Oregon. Portland police ‘retreat’ after standoff with NAKED female protester. A woman walked up to police stopping several feet away and began performing yoga on the street. The police eventually withdrew. With all the protests happening around the country, I think people may need more ideas of nonviolent resistance. There have been many examples throughout history including the Sit-In protests in the 1960s. Black Americans who were not allowed in “white only” establishments would sit down refusing to leave. They would sometimes fill an entire restaurant.

I first want to point out the difference between Nonviolent Resistance and Civil Disobedience. Berel Lang makes the argument that civil disobedience is a form of political action which necessarily aims at reform, rather than revolution: its efforts are typically directed at the disputing of particular laws or group of laws, while conceding the authority of the government responsible for them. In contrast, political acts of nonviolent resistance can have revolutionary ends. My takeaway is Civil Disobedience is like people protesting against wearing masks and quarantine (things in place to help protect people). Nonviolent Resistance is protesting against police brutality such as the naked yoga woman I mentioned.

There are many forms of Nonviolent Resistance. Many have been seen in the US for the last few years. Tactics such as picketing, marches, vigils, leafletting, protest art, protest music and poetry, and boycotts are just a few examples. One of my favorite historical events was The Singing Revolution which helped lead to the liberation of the Baltic States (Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia). As a fan for “V for Vendetta” (2005), I also enjoyed reading about The Rose Revolution in the country of Georgia. The event derives its name from the climactic moment, when demonstrators led by Mikheil Saakashvili stormed the Parliament session with red roses in hand.

I hope some of these examples help everyone think of new ways of Nonviolent Resistance. The entire United States and the world at large has to work together to make the world a better place. Reform is no longer and option. It’s time for a revolution. I hope we can achieve a nonviolent end to all the suffering.

Coffee and Contemplation: Flag Day

June 14 is Flag Day. In the United States, we celebrate June 14 as the day the flag was adopted as the symbol of our country on June 14, 1777. The Flag Resolution by the Second Continental Congress stated: “Resolved, That the flag of the thirteen United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation.” Given the recent turmoil in the United States, I think it’s more important than ever to consider the idea of a ‘new constellation.’

The future of the United States is in flux as it was in the 1960s and even in the 1860s. Our country has been through this kind of change before and I know we’ll come out on top. When I say our country, I don’t mean the government. I mean the people; the citizens. The government can change while the country always has and always will belong to the people who call it home. That’s what the flag represents to me at least. I have other reasons for thinking about June 14. And some might feel the same about this as they do about what the flag represents.

June 14, 1775 is the Army Birthday. I imagine many people see the military as an extension of the government. But I know there are good people in the military trying to change things for the better. I served in the Arizona Army National Guard some years back. This was the one weekend a month, two weeks a year. I never deployed and I never served long enough to gain veterans status and do not claim to be a veteran. My job was in the Finance Corps. The Finance Corps Birthday is June 16, 1775. 

If you never served, maybe you don’t care about the Army Birthday and I’m sure you care even less about the Finance Corps Birthday. But for those who have served and are serving, I’m sure you all were happy when Finance made sure your pay was squared away. The two departments no one messes with in the military are Finance and Supply. I hope you all celebrate Flag Day in a way that’s meaningful to you. Peaceful Protesting is always a healthy option for celebration. Our fight for change isn’t over. Never give up. Never surrender.