Short Story: Protest!

Source. Pexels. Protest. Joshua Santos, Photographer

by Sue DeGregorio-Rosen, RN, CLNC, Contributing Editor

Dissent can stir one’s blood, to the extent of possessing a religious fervor. Reason mixed with angst and skepticism may be abandoned in a single hour of excitement and rage at an alleged injustice. The protestor may volunteer to enter the fray from a distance with a romantic filter of the adventure, but reality can be harsh, up close.

What is the price of sacrifice? The protest and protestor can shake ideas into motion.  At the end of the day, whether a spectator or activist in the mix of things we all become participants.  The consequence of a protest whether positive or negative affects all of us even watching from the screen of a computer or television or I-Phone. Protest is but one blueprint of dissent. 

Relationships with family, lovers, friends, and acquaintances are tested, severely so, in some cases. 

The mind and the heart are washed with the waves of feelings that immerse us. That’s how I met him. It was like a wave had washed over both of us. We were swept up by events. One event seemed to morph into many events that stirred our passion – an unjust war in Afghanistan with an outcome that was to be expected among tribal peoples as the Soviets learned, an opaqueness to a pandemics, and its origins, the denial of climate change and the authoritarian posturing of the monied class, voting right laws edited and modified for the benefit of one political party over another and the politicization of a woman’s body and not a man’s – the penis was safe.

I met this man who was not easy to know. Guarded and brilliant, he asked a group of us to speak out, speak up, and rise……a call to a world I no longer recognize.  It’s become so complicated. And that’s the purpose of disinformation as a substitute for truth. If you wish to control; use fear and lies. I looked for a way out with the signs that say, ” Our bodies, our choice”, yet in the State of Texas, the most horrifying law banning most abortions after about 6 weeks has gone into effect. Despite the 1973 Supreme Court decision that established a constitutional right to such procedure.  This law in Texas is the first to be implemented.  Though the justice department of late plans to step in. Will there be a battle between the three branches of government? Isn’t there several on-going skirmishes already?

We initially met during the early stages of the pandemic and when we first stepped off the lockdown, we looked around the empty New York City streets. They were empty, like a ghost town in need of a cleansing.  We had never witnessed anything like this before, a virus that put the whole world on hold. We saw tractor trailers leave hospitals with bodies ravaged from this “virus”.    People wearing masks, unsure of where to be, and where to go.   We set up a foodbank with packages to help those less fortunate to start over.  What was this thing called “Covid19”? We had no idea how to begin but hoped we could somehow bring some of the locals together to share with each other the devastation of the unknown. 

I learned that you are a very multifaceted man. I found you to be captivating, as we unfolded layers of who you are and of who I am not.

I am still learning. I have watched you fight incredible wars, in the streets, in courtrooms, and on live broadcasts. Some fear you, some are inspired by you, but no one really knows you.

The streets are heavy with unrest.  I watch you speak at “Black Lives Matter”, you say this is a call to action. We are a part of history. The march becomes messy and imperfect, but the message is clear. It’s historic and frightening all at the same time.

2021 comes in and begins on Jan. 6th.  Mind blowing for me, but you remain calm.  You recognize frustration, and understand that this would and could happen, such an assault on the hill and viewed on live television.  The whole world is watching, you say to others.  We must restore peace.  Peaceful protest is what works.  I remember and laugh to myself that line in a movie “leave the gun, take the cannoli”.      

I found that you have the capacity to care, but for all the people, you are not mine alone but your personality and charisma suggests that you are paying to each individual you meet. And your laughter recycles any negative energies into a positive momentum.  

This is about freedoms. You’re committed – the all in attitude. 

You kiss me with your wild spirit, that ripples with time, as we both unfold, time stands still. I have grown since I met you. There was a chemistry between us.  In the morning we are on the road.  We talk about the invasion of Iraq, the destabilization of the Middle East, you school me on the greed of America, whether oil or Big Pharma. There is much work to be down as we travel to Texas.  I watch you change, your yearning is an endless thirst, not for me, but for the world.

As we reach Dallas, our safe room is ready, and you make your connections. There will be a rally tomorrow. Petitions have circulated.  We are two protestors among countless others. When finished I head to New York for a different journey realizing – mine is really just beginning.