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Taking A Candle To The White House!
By Scott Goodstein
Last night, in memory of the 2000th soldier killed in Iraq and the thousands of innocent people dying, I decided to go to the White House and stand with Cindy Sheehan to support the dozens of other Antiwar activists. As a result, I got arrested and charged with a basic civil disobedience violation.
It was not the fun experience one sees on TV. It’s real. My shoulders are still sore from being cuffed and I still have the marks on my wrists from the zip tie restraints. I have a court date scheduled and I may have additional problems if I get arrested again at another protest.
Don’t get me wrong, I knew what I was doing and was honored to be a part of it, especially as I was stuffed into the police wagon next to Juan Torres. Mr. Torres told me about his 25-year-old son that was killed in Afghanistan with only a few days left in his eight year commitment to our Reserves. He then thanked me for standing with him, told me how he flew in from Chicago and spent over $400 on this protest alone. Mr. Torres attends as many protests as he can because he wants answers from our government as to why he had to lose his son. Visit his website if you can at www.Uncoverthetruth.org.
I spent the next several hours in a holding cell learning the ropes from activists who had gone through this routine before. Code Pink DC made sure I had a few bucks toward bail and even a ride home when it was all done. The political director from Peace Action was arrested with us and talked to me about how the movement needs more members of Congress proposing real legislation in support of bringing the troops home. I spoke with a George Washington University student about getting more students interested and involved. Even Ann Wright, a former State Department Diplomat and 25-year military veteran, gave me a thumbs up through the fencing of the women’s holding cell.
After starting the protest around 5:30pm and not getting out of jail until around midnight, some of us were hungry and met at a nearby diner. It was there that I met Cindy Sheehan. I learned that she is a real human being from watching her both laugh and cry. She is simply a mother who lost her son and wants this war to stop so other parents don't have to lose their children too. While I may not agree with everything she says, I do believe her conviction is real and learned that she is not trying to be anything more than a concerned citizen taking action. She was refreshing to listen to and even asked others for advice and ideas on what measures are needed to end this war.
Meeting people with this level of passion for an ending the war humbled my discomfort and made this experience rewarding. Surely I can give a few hours for those who lost their children at war and cannot find out why from our own government. I realize we are a very long way away from the 55,000 U.S. soldier deaths in Vietnam and I pray that we do not let this war escalate in the same fashion.
My own mother worries about me at these activities because she fears this arrest will harm my career. She raised me as an honest, law abiding citizen and hopes that I will fight for these values and not lose my principles. All we did to get arrested was stand in front of the White House while holding a candle up to mark the sad anniversary of the 2000th soldier passing in Iraq.