Saturday, December 08, 2007

Silent Protest

While 3000 people marched down Beach Road protesting what they feel are unjust labor laws, a much smaller, silent protest was going on just a few hundred yards away.

Every Friday Bryan Jones has stood silently in front of the American Memorial Park Court of Honor for 25 minutes. He has done this for over six months. Usually there are about six people with him, sometimes more, sometimes less.

I was surprised when Greg and Jean Cruz of Taotao Tano joined one of the silent protests (see Youtube video). I had no idea that there were locals who would be willing to publicly denounce the war.

Now I know that there are...and knowing is half the battle.


Tom Delay was right when he called this place "a petri dish of Capitalism," he just didn't know what he was talking about. I don't think he understood it at the time, but we are truly a microcosm for the rest of the United States.

Our retirement fund disaster is akin to many retirement disasters at the state level and maybe even Social Security on the Federal level. We are also having issues dealing with immigration and integrating new ideas, languages, and people into our existing culture, just like everybody else.

Our community is especially representative of a community affected by the war in Iraq. It has probably hit our community harder than anywhere else in the continental United States.

I'm sure this statistic has changed a bit, but a New York Times article in 2005 stated that we had 245 soldiers serving in Iraq. That is about one person in Iraq for every 250 people on this island.

That's not one soldier serving in the military for every 250 people, that is one soldier serving in a war zone for every 250 people. We also have soldiers serving on bases all over the world. Taking into account the size of the families here, where people routinely have 8-10 kids, it is probably a safe bet to say that every single person on this island has a first cousin serving or who has served in Iraq or Afghanistan.

Is there anywhere in the Mainland United States that has that type of per capita statistic?

Of course not.


Boni said...

There are rural towns in the US with an overwhelming number of deployed and fallen soldiers, sailors, etc. They are reeling from the high numbers of fatalities and the "unfairness" of the "call". I just heard that there would be a large contingent leaving out of Guam this January.

Small towns are not devoid of patriotism, far from it. However, they have had more than their fair share of war casualties and funerals. The military, as wrong as it is, becomes a viable alternative to spending your life sitting on the porch, and pays for college, a much sought after benefit. But, is it worth it? Families of sailors, airmen and soldiers are left to answer that question.

Bruce A. Bateman said...

The surviving veterans are also a good source of information as to whether it is worth it or not. I know a lot of them and the reviews are mixed.

The Saipan Blogger アンジェロ・ビラゴメズ said...

Inner cities are hit hard, too.

I think only 1 member of the Congress that voted to go to war had a son or daughter serving in the military.

I think we should listen to our military guys more often.

In Bob Woodward's last book, he puts most of the blame for the quagmire in Iraq on Donald Rumsfield and other non-military politicos.