|OKC circus protest...3-29-2014|
Standing and holding up a sign while car after car goes past gives you a lot of time to think. I noticed that many people would stare intently at the signs and the protesters. After awhile the whole experience became a little surreal (we stood at the entrance before the start of 3 scheduled shows). Having that many people staring at you while moving by must be a little bit like what happens to the prisoners in zoos...no wonder they often appear to be bored and spaced out.
Many looked disturbed as they drove by and that's when it occured to me that one of the things we wanted to happen is described by that phrase "afflicting the comfortable". It just is not ok for something based on fear and pain and confinement and misery to happen and that happening be promoted and publicized as a happy, festive event without some countering voice. Challenging culturally supported distortions, lies and untruths is an obligation we all share. At least that's what I believe. Protesting on behalf of circus prisoners kicks a cultural fantasy in a tender place (reality). And...it is another way of trying to say something "well enough".
Some people honked, some gave a thumbs up, some stopped and took literature we were passing out, most ignored us but some shouted some really really peculiar things. One fellow shouted out that he was a hunter and liked to kill animals. Someone noticed that this same shouter had a confederate flag sticker on his bumper. Killing the innocent and support for human slavery do seem to go together. The most interesting yelling came from a disturbed looking older woman who shouted at us to "get a job, get a real job". It struck me that maybe she was saying that if people were enslaved intensely enough by their work then they wouldn't be objecting to anything...much less cruelty. Maybe that's true.
While driving up to the first protest last Saturday I found my self getting sadder and sadder and what I realized that this was a sad sad thing. What is done to the elephants and tigers and lions and all the other prisoners of that circus is sad, that such things can be done is sad and saddest of all is that the great majority of us see nothing sad at all about it. And rarely does anyone object.
But we did and in the midst of all that sadness something very uplifting and happy making occurred. I met some people who seem to feel very much like I do about hurting others...and that was exciting and nearly giddy making. Several of us talked about why we were there and why we were vegan and it felt phenomenal to know there were others (besides the very very few that I know or have met) who felt much like I did.
Mercy For Animals and they were fine and welcome but they were also very scripted and, I don't know, sort of stilted or something. They weren't homegrown like this one was nor was there much interaction between the folks that showed up to object to how we treated our fellow Earthlings. This one was all Okie, and the fine folks that pulled it together, who put together the signs, who coordinated the where, when and how were energetic young people from Norman and OKC and Edmond and Yukon and Midwest City and and. It was, in those respects, just fantastic...even though what caused it was not a good or happy thing (a circus "using" living beings without their consent).
So. The bad (a circus) resulted, in an odd way, in a good...a little convocation of rather like-minded human animals and that was an enjoyable and lovely aspect to what was/is an otherwise bleak and sad and dismal thing (harming those with less power). One of the young women there was quite vocal and would ask people to not take their children to see cruelty or ask them if they wanted literature. She was quite energetic and managed to never tump over into being obnoxious or objectionable. One loud remark that came out of her cracked me up, enough so that I smile as I write about it, she shouted at someone: "Do you want to see me hug a tree?" That was a gem.
I'm very very grateful to everyone who came out and participated, to everyone who helped in ways small and large. We didn't stop any cruelty, but we were there and we spoke out...and somewhere....somehow...maybe those prisoners in that circus knew they weren't totally surrounded by humans who could care less what they felt but there were some who objected to what was being done to them. And maybe that was a small, very small, plus for them. And even if it wasn't...at least some of the comfortable had a taste of discomfort.
Want to do your part to help? Go vegan...and...if you get the chance (or can make the chance) go protest. Maybe somehow...someway...those for whom you protest will know...and...for certain you will know that you didn't stay silent when faced with injustice. And that's a good thing.