Classic Signals: Students protest war in Iraq

Every week, Features Editor Alyssa Gautieri hits the archives and finds old Signals that relate to current College topics and top stories.

On Saturday, Jan. 21, men and women surrounded the White House to protest President Donald Trump. Protesters exercised their First Amendment right to rally as they marched, chanted and demanded respect for women. In September 2005, Americans also embraced their freedom of assembly. In Washington, D.C., former student Nicole Levins participated in a protest against former President George W. Bush and the war in Iraq. In 2005, Levins and other Americans marched the same streets as protesters did this past Saturday. In 2017, Americans continue to exercise their First Amendment right.

Student shares personal account of protest. (Alyssa Gautieri / Features Editor)

Nicole Levins, junior journalism major, attended the March in D.C. to end the War in Iraq on Sept. 24. Following is Levins’ personal account of the march.

If there’s anything I hate more than getting up early, it’s war. That’s how I ended up boarding a Progressive Student Alliance-sponsored bus at 7 a.m. last Saturday, bound for a massive anti-war protest in D.C.

We got to the National Mall around 11:30 a.m. Helicopters circled overhead, and I imagined secret agents inside, scouting for new victims of the Patriot Act.

I tried to avoid being smacked in the face with protest signs while I admired their ingenuity. There was the usual “Make love, not war,” “Peace is patriotic” and the ubiquitous “The only Bush I trust is my own.”

Eventually, it was time to hit the streets for some non-violent dissent. As we marched, various groups chanted about what they wanted (“Peace!”) and when they wanted it (“Now!”).

If there’s anything holding me back from being the ultimate super-protestor, it’s the chanting. I can’t do it without feeling ridiculous, so I just clap and try to look as supportive as possible.

It’s pretty unnerving to be walking down the street with hundreds of police officers wielding huge clubs seven feet away from you, ready to beat you senseless if you look like you’re getting too enthusiastic.

I’m glad I finally ventured into political activism. Apathy is very unattractive, and I wish that more of my peers would get involved. And take advantage of your right to peaceably assemble. Attend a protest or rally for whatever it is that you care about or find interesting.

You’ll have fun, and there is nothing cuter than a little old lady wearing grandma slacks, a cardigan sweater and a “Fuck Bush” pin. Personally, I’d like to attend a women’s rights march next.

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