KEEP THE TORCH BURNING
CALLING ALL FIRST AMENDMENT PEOPLE!
GIVE YOUR RIGHT TO FREE SPEECH SOME EXERCISE EVERY WEEK ON YOUR VILLAGE GREEN, IN FRONT OF YOUR COURTHOUSE, AT YOUR REPRESENTATIVE'S OFFICE, OR ANY PERMITTED PUBLIC GATHERING SPACE.
WHY WE DO IT
"One of the penalties of refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors." - Plato*
Too many of us have spent our lives in a bubble, too busy, too tired, too distracted or disinterested to "pay attention to politics." Well, Politics, you've certainly got our attention now. Dang!
It's important for our friends and neighbors to see - up close and personal, with their own eyes - that the majority of Americans do not consent to, nor will we meekly accept, attacks on our democracy or our cherished shared values of liberty, justice and equality for all.
When you show up every week at a vigil in your town with a message for your fellow citizens, you are no longer easy to dismiss as just part of a crowd on a flickering TV screen, somewhere far away in a big city full of "paid protesters" ** or "dangerous radicals." *** You are a "real American" just like them, living and working where they do, setting a courageous example of resisting what we all know is wrong. They must look you in the eye, see your signs and messages, and ask themselves where they really stand. We force our country, city by city, town by town, and village by village, to take a hard look at where we are headed if we don't turn this thing around.
You set the example. You make it real. You bring it home. You create the discomfort that creates introspection and change.
* That's slightly paraphrased. Here's what he actually said.
** Sorry, GOP. Bless your little hearts, we know you want so badly to believe we're being paid, but it just ain't so.
** Take a look at some of the video of the dangerous radicals who've been showing up at GOP Town Halls across the country -- man, they will put a hurtin' on you with those walkers and canes if you mouth off about trickle-down economics! And you do not want a close encounter with an oxygen tank!
HOW TO DO IT
Pick a Location.
Does your town have a public gathering space? A park? A congressman's office? A monument, memorial, town hall or courthouse? Ask your local officials where you can peacefully assemble on a regular basis and pick a safe, high-visibility place for your group.
Pick a Date.
What day and time work best for your group or area? Is there another regular meeting or event that you can piggy-back off of? (If you want to avoid the predictable and unimaginative calls of "Get a job!" may we recommend lunch hours, evenings or weekends?)
Get a Permit.
I know, right? Bor-ing! But, don't forget to do this. You don't want to end up in the pokey or shelling out for citations. Also? The person with the permit needs to be there regularly, with the permit. Get a sense of how many people you can realistically expect to come, then, because Americans are optimists, get a permit that accommodates a few extra. Get it for as long as you can, because it looks like we could be stuck in this goat rodeo for a few months.
Invite your friends, your family, the local media, celebrities, visiting dignitaries...you get the idea. Publicize your event every week in resistance groups and on social media. Use #vigilfordemocracy to share photos, stories, and our URL vigilfordemocracy.org (.org!!) so that others can find a vigil or start their own.
Make a Sign.
It's BYOS(ign), unless you're feeling generous and want to make extras for others. "RESIST!" is to the point. "Show Us the Taxes!" - always relevant. You'll find it helpful to have one that says, "WE HAVE JOBS, but thanks for your concern." Be creative. Be funny. Be smart. Be bold. It's your First Amendment, how do you want to use it? (Flags are great too. Just be careful with the poles. As George Washington once famously said, "It's all fun and games until someone loses an eye." *)
This one's important. You should totally do this last one for sure. Don't leave the rest of us out here marching around by ourselves. Awk-ward! Take pictures and send us your best one each week and we'll show America what democracy looks like!
*He didn't actually say that, but he did make this important Public Service Announcement.
Check with your town or county to make sure you know the rules for peaceful assembly, then follow them.
There are enough jerks in Washington without us adding to the problem. Also, don't block traffic or sidewalks. Rude. And potentially illegal. (See Rule #1)
If you're uncomfortable, or if someone attempts to be confrontational with you or your group, leave. (See Rule #2)
Violence is uncool and so not helpful. Be Martin Luther King, Jr. Be Ghandi. Make Mother Teresa seem militant by comparison.
DUE TO LIMITS ON LARGE GATHERINGS DURING THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC
THE VIGIL FOR DEMOCRACY WILL BE SUSPENDED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE.
Vigil for Democracy
May-Aug: Wednesdays, 5:00p - 6:00p
Sep-Apr: Wednesdays, 12:00p-1:00p
At the Gazebo on Main Street