by John Little
Eternal vigilance is the price we pay for liberty.
|"Pat, don't look now, but isn't that the guy who caused all the trouble at the protest last summer?"
Pat looked where Shawn was pointing. "Where?"
"There. Big guy. Baseball cap."
"Ohhhhh .... "
"Remember how that protestor stared him down. She took her sunglasses off and let him see the humanity in her eyes. She was less than half his size! That's courage."
Pat wasn't sure. There was courage, sure, but sometimes things get hot and protests get scary.
"You know, Shawn, I really shouldn't be here ...", their1 voice quavered.
"Pat! Don't back down! We have to face this! Look. We got numbers, there are a lot of us here. It'll be ok."
They weren't sure. Angry people — bullies — single out the weak in a crowd. He tried that then, with national press cameras running. But he underestimated his intented target. She looked small, but he was no match for her heart and strength. So why was he here — now, and half a continent away? What if he tries to provoke a fight again, and they're the target?
"Pat. I know, I'm nervous, too. But we are fighting for what is right and decent in America."
"People get hurt."
"Look. I can't force you; you have to do what is right for you. But I'm staying. This is America, and I ain't leaving it!"
They demurred, they hesitated, they thought about all the violence and how the past keeps using anger and violence to hold back the future. Don't look now? No. We have to look — forward — not back.
"Ok, I'll stay."