This community opinion was contributed by community member Franz M Schneider. The opinions expressed do not necessarily represent BenitoLink or other affiliated contributors.
“We’re still here because they’re still there.”
Hollister Peace Vigil started as Hollister In Black in April 2002, as a response to the U. S. invasion of Afghanistan. Seventeen years later, U. S. soldiers are still fighting in Afghanistan and the Peace Vigil is still going on in Hollister every Friday afternoon.
During those seventeen years we have seen our soldiers also fighting in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Somalia, and several other places. Some of our military goals have been achieved, not many of our political goals have been achieved. So the Peace Vigil continues, hoping to promote the search for nonviolent ways of reaching those goals.
Standing on a street corner with signs an hour a week will not bring about world peace by itself, but it’s a way of being part of the conversation. It’s a way of continuing to raise questions about our government’s policies and actions. It’s not partisan; the Vigil went on through all eight years of the Obama administration. It’s also a way of filling a personal need to take some kind of action in opposition to things we believe are wrong.
When our government spends pretty close to as much on the military as all of the other countries in the word combined, it’s reasonable to ask if that money is buying us what we say we want. It’s reasonable to ask how our airstrikes and other activities around the world are viewed by the people who live there. Do they think we are bringing them freedom? It’s reasonable to ask why we can decide what’s good for them, especially when we know so little about them.
The Hollister Peace Vigil doesn’t have an exit strategy. We don’t know what could happen for us to stop the vigil. Bur we do know that while our government continues to prioritize military responses in dealing with the rest of the world, and while we are capable of standing up, the Vigil will probably continue.
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