Monday, May 30, 2005

Mill Valley Memorial Day parade

"We must be the change we wish to see in the world."

This enormous Gandhi was lined up to lead the Marin County town's annual parade this morning. Behind it was a block filled with troops of school children, sea scouts in naval uniforms, kung fu students and local office holders in open cars. Ahead on the curbs of the main street, Mill Valley spectators waited expectantly in lawn chairs. At the main square, peace protestors, obviously well known to all, waved "Out Now!" signs. Clearly the Memorial Day parade is a popular, participatory local festival.

It would be easy to mock Mill Valley's celebration -- how sweet that this privileged enclave can hold a determinedly non-bellicose parade on the day we remember US war dead! While the imperial ambitions of our rulers add to the sad total, how dare they promote peaceful change and community? Do local Tamalpais High Students join the military -- or more likely -- do they go to good colleges and leave fighting to the less privileged? Do the assembled school children have any idea how far outside the mainstream of their country their pleasant celebration falls?

But why should I mock when I can be glad? The Mill Valley folks were enjoying the sun, their families, their town and their hopes. It has to be better to be glad than to assert cyncial superiority.

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