Who Was The First?

The other day (might have been Saturday) anti Donald Trump  demonstrators blocked a highway here in the Phoenix area. No significant harm was done but traffic was backed up and stopped for a while.

Way back in May 1970 a much wider, broader took place across the United States. On May 4 at Kent State University four students, protesting the Viet Nam war were shot and killed by Illinois National Guard soldiers.  The action sparked demonstrations, protests and strikes at more than 100 colleges and universities. C Loser to home at the University of Washington over 7,000 gathered to protest the Kent State tragedy. The group gave speeches and marched around the campus and ended up at 45th an I-5.  From there the group, reportedly 3,000 spilled out onto the freeway, effectively blocking traffic completely while marching towards downtown. The following day and throughout the month of May demonstrations took place including traffic snarling protest marches.

I won’t pass judgement on the significance of the subject of those protests relative to the current activities. In simple terms it is to view the  Viet Nam War / Kent State shootings versus the Donald Trump candidacy. The common thread I am focused on is this business of protesters blocking highways. I always end up considering one question central to success and impact of these demonstrations and marches:

WHO WAS THE FIRST PERSON to strut out into the first lane of traffic?  Was it a man or woman? (doesn’t matter) Was it a big person or small?  (big would be better, easier for that first car’s driver to see) Did that first person hold up an arm, palm out in a  traffic cop like gesture to the oncoming drivers? Did the other 2,999 marchers stroll out into traffic with that first person or did they remain (wisely) on the highway shoulder until they were sure cars were actually stopping?

All these questions return to my mind every time I see a traffic blocking demonstration of any kind, anywhere of any size. I have never talked with that first person or even a second or third person. As my mind turns to other matters the same last question ALWAYS pops into my mind: Why do I always ask these questions?

 

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Who Was The First?

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