The power of protest

I protested almost a year ago, on May 25, 2013. And I plan to protest again this year.
I had made my placards, laminated them in case of rain, and stood with more than 500 others clad in raincoats, holding umbrellas, or wrapped in plastic under the threatening sky.
I read clever slogans and wished I had thought of them, and was deeply moved by so many of all ages gathering to express their concerns, their fears, and their anger.
Everyone was charged with this common goal, were comforted by the numbers of those with the same opinion, and it felt a bit celebratory, as though we were at a pep rally getting ready to head off to the big game.
“Monsanto,” I shouted out. “Are you listening?”
I felt very responsible taking a stand against a force I find frightening—a force that needs to listen to the concerns of the public ahead of its own agenda to hold power in the marketplace and secure greater and greater wealth while losing sight of the safety of the future.
I’ve not been one known for rocking the boat; I struggle with using the exit door as an entrance. But when something disturbs me, when I get that icky feeling down in my core, I know it is time to speak up, to put my thoughts into action.
This doesn’t mean rallying in front of friends with whom it is safe to have an opinion, but to use my voice to a larger audience in hopes that those in power will listen and, most importantly, will hear.
It means getting informed and using my power as a Canadian citizen in a peaceful and respectful—but strong and determined—manner.
It is always easier to stay on the couch; to watch others take the stand for us while we nod in agreement and are grateful for their conviction.
We point at the television and shout out an affirmative. We post the words of others on our Facebook page thinking that is enough.
Life is very busy raising children, trying to pay the mortgage, and attempting to understand how our cellphones work without adding in a march and shouting slogans and joining in with like-minded people working for a common cause.
Some days finding time to floss is a challenge, let alone donning red clothing and cutting out giant-sized red letters that spell “No to Monsanto” and gluing them on Bristol board.
“To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards of men,” said Abraham Lincoln, and there have been many times when I have chosen cowardice over courage because I wasn’t sure of my own voice.
One of our fundamental rights as human beings is to have our own voice, but we all too often take that right for granted.
I would invite Monsanto to come to the table to explain to us their mission; to prove they are not hurting our soil and our water by the practices required to grow their seeds in the presence of bugs that laugh at Monsanto’s genetically-modified shield.
I would ask them why we should not know what is in our food; why we should not be told when genetically-modified seeds are used to produce the food that we feed our children.
Why should we not be informed that our children are being used as science experiments. There are laws that say I must know what goes into my mattress, but what I swallow has no such rules?
Madness.
It may be a little late in the game to be publicly outraged at the many injustices that swirl around us daily, but it is never too late to be an example to my children; to remind my children that sometimes we have to seize the moment to be heard.
To add our voice to the collective that is trying to help government and businesses like Monsanto to remember us in the equation, to remember the planet, to remember the future.
And so I will march again on May 23.
wendistewart@live.ca

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail