Protesters still active — and involved

In his article in the Oct. 25 edition of this newspaper, Trey Mitchell of Carmel Valley wondered where those 20 or so individuals were who used to stand on the corner of Del Mar Heights Road and El Camino Real each Sunday during 2007 and 2008 with signs against the war and in favor of peace and justice. He asked if there was another agenda at play, and wonders where they have all gone, given that Obama has continued many of the same policies and practices of George W. Bush.

Trey Mitchell has asked some excellent questions.

First off, there were actually eight “ENOUGH” groups around San Diego in 2007-2008, with Carmel Valley being one of the most active.

My wife and I started the Carmel Valley group in the spring of 2007, having had “enough” of the two wars and bad policies that appeared to have no end in sight. On our first Sunday, 15 people, mostly our friends, joined us on the corner, after we told them what we were going to do each Sunday and asked them to join us. By the second week, 30 people, many who we did not know, were on the corner with us. We soon became a very recognized group each Sunday, averaging 22 people per Sunday for 69 straight Sundays. At our six-month and one-year special events on the corner, we had 55 people each time standing and waving for peace and justice on all four corners.

As the election between Obama and McCain approached, we collectively agreed that if Obama won, we would stand down, given that he promised to bring the wars to conclusion, while McCain appeared to favor an open end to both wars. With the election of Obama, we had one final memorable Sunday on the corner, and disbanded to wait and see. We continue to stay in touch by e-mail and often see one another at current peace and justice events here and around San Diego.

Are we pleased by the policies of Obama concerning these two wars since his election in 2008 ? Speaking for myself only, but reflecting what I believe to be the feelings of many of the fine “ENOUGH” folks, no, we are not. We are not pleased by the continuance of the prison camp at Guantanamo and its mockery of justice, we are not pleased that the Afghanistan War continues and will be fought for two more years (imagine scheduling the end to a war), and we are not pleased that it took three years for Obama to end the Iraq War. We remain displeased by the whole electoral process with the advent of “Citizens United” and the flood gates of unlimited money into our elections.

So why aren’t we still out on the corner ?

Well, many of us are still out on corners around San Diego on a regular basis with groups like the San Diego Veterans For Peace, the San Diego Coalition for Peace and Justice, the Quakers, and others. Some of us are on the corner of Scripps Poway Parkway and General Atomics Drive each Thursday asking the public if unrestricted use of drones in Afghanistan and over the skies of the United States is a good policy. Some of us work with vets to honor the fallen on the lawn in front of the USS Midway Museum on major holidays, while also educating the public as to how many have died and are still dying, and how much it continues to costs us. Many of us are working for political candidates who support peace and justice at the national, state and local levels, and some of us are tired and depressed by the nature of politics and the continuance of unjustified and worthless wars, when so much is needed at home, and so little is being done.

Are we proud to have stood on the corner for 69 consecutive Sundays waving to our neighbors and friends on behalf of peace and justice …. we sure are ! For some of us, it was a first time doing something like this, and most participants felt empowered and energized to have been there week after week, and have moved along to other civic projects they value.

Did we make a difference? Yes, because before our presence on the corner, many folks in Carmel Valley, including many of us, thought that wars and injustice were not something that people in Carmel Valley really cared about, and the “ENOUGH” group proved us wrong and gave us hope.

Will we be out there this Sunday …. sadly, no. We have discussed going back onto the corner again, but age, the economy, and life has taken its toll on our amazing group. At least one of our finest members has died.

But be on notice …. and keep an eye out on the corner of Del Mar Heights Road and El Camino Real, because with the nature of ongoing events in the United States and the world, we may have to get back on the corner again soon, and we hope Trey Mitchell and many others will join us.

Gil Field

Carmel Valley