When I took my tax returns to the post office on April 15th, there was a line of protestors on the sidewalk near the drop boxes. They were dressed in costume - a full body pig outfit, partial face pig masks, rubber snouts, and a variety of farm dress. None of their faces were plainly seen. They were protesting the war in Iraq with statements that those of us paying our taxes were supporting that war. One of the protestors spoke directly to me, wanting to know if I supported the war and asking if I wanted a brochure that told how our tax dollars were being used. Of course, I took a brochure. I believe in protest efforts and I try to understand their basis, whether or not I agree.
When the woman handed me the brochure, she made a comment that was accusatory of my support for the war based upon my payment of federal taxes. My temper flared because she made an assumption based on nothing more than me being in a line at the post office. With that flare came the words that I had been holding back since I had pulled into line: "If you believe in your cause, then why must you hide who you are? Wouldn't you want everyone to know that YOU believe in what you represent?"
I do, indeed, believe that there are times when protest is necessary and I have protested along with the best of them for many different causes. I have never covered my face. If I believe in a cause enough to stand up for it, to speak for it, then I should reveal my identity. Identity gives the support more credibility. It's like signing a letter - if you do, you stand by your words; if you don't, then those who read your words are less likely to take them seriously.
Historically, only those who are in fear for their lives or who know they are wrong are the ones that hide their faces when protesting. There should be no one who fears for their lives for stating their beliefs in the United States.
My beliefs on the war? I do not think we should have ever invaded Iraq, but now that we are there, we need to finish what we started. Pulling out now would serve no purpose. Had those protestors stood there with their signs and proudly displayed their faces, I would have a lot more respect for them and their opinions.
Sometimes a little light to penetrate the darkness is necessary.