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"What the Media Aren't Telling You About American Protests
by Lisa Romero
I am lately reminded of an assignment when my metro editor sent me to cover a “gentle protest” over the Gulf War of the 1990s in Jackson, Mich. (Don’t remember that war – or what it was about? That’s OK – because it was probably “security” and “oil,” and George W. ultimately righted his dad’s failure to see that war action through to its completion: killing Saddam Hussein, or at least dismantling his government. But I digress.)
It was an after-hours event, likely on a weekend (as that was my beat). And when I arrived at the designated time, well after sundown, I found one lone woman walking the length of a wall at an armory or similar government-type outpost with, not a flashlight, but a real, flickering candle. Back and forth, in the dark, trudging in the snow.
No one else had shown up – except me, that is. The place was deserted and, as I recall, not on a busy road. I actually had to drive by twice before I even saw her candle and a small chair she set up for herself when she got tired. It occurred to me that, if I walked away, it would have been the same as if she’d never been there at all. Yet, incontrovertibly, there she was: protesting a war that, at the time, no one was particularly riled up about. It wasn’t a story, really.
But I decided to speak with her anyway. I walked with her for about an hour and asked questions. Apart from understanding that my editors expected my story for the next day’s edition, I also sensed that there could be a story to tell – and that, if I didn’t, no one might ever consider an opposing view that, while solitary, might be worth listening to.
I’d have to dig through years of clips to find that story now. (I’m sure it resides in the Jackson Citizen Patriot morgue). But it’s not the story that’s important to me now. "
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