Archive for category Larry Bergan
I have no idea what sort of fowl play was going on there, but that’s me on the left; a dead ringer for Nikita Khrushchev.
The jury is in.
The Tribune did an nice article today about my six year quest to Impeach Bush, and landed me on Michael Moore’s front page. It really wasn’t for nothing!
The best lies contain a bit of truth.
In all the years I’ve carried my “Support The Troops – Impeach Bush”, sign, I only felt like I was doing the wrong thing once. I was downtown in front of the Salt Palace over three years ago, when a young man and his friend drove by yelling expletives and saying he was a soldier. I yelled to him to come and talk to me, but he drove off. I continued to walk about three more blocks when he drove up and parked his car by me, and calmly said, “OK, I’ll talk to you.”, He told me he had enlisted in the army and would be leaving in a couple of weeks.
A terrible feeling came over me. If I shook this young mans faith in his president, it could make him question his resolve in a life and death situation. It would have been silly to try and deny the fact that I didn’t care for our illegitimate leader at this point so I told him a couple of reasons why I was there. I then got very serious and sternly told him, “You go out there and protect yourself, do whatever they tell you and protect yourself!”, Maybe if he had seen me earlier, he would have thought twice about joining, but I doubt it because he didn’t look like he had a lot of money.
At the time of that incident, the media was drilling the public with the fact that Bush was a “very popular president”, but things have slowly changed. A little over a year ago, the military publication “Stars and Stripes”, even published this poll, saying that 72% of the troops in Iraq believed it was time to reverse course. Some even said it was time to get out immediately. This was long before many officials and pundits had to admit the level of violence had escalated into a civil war. Around the time of that poll, I carried my sign past a recruitment office and lingered there to get the reaction of an officer inside. I could have sworn he slightly shook his head yes.
Many veterans organizations have been showing their disdain for Bush’s war of choice for years, and one man I met, who said he had served in Iraq but still had a brother there, broke out in tears saying, “God bless you for what you’re doing”, but I still run into people claiming to be servicemen who try to intimidate me by jumping out of their car, running up saying, “We don’t like what you’re doing!”, or, “You have no right to use the words Support The Troops on your sign!”, and then kick it out of my hands or throw it into the street. I do everything I can to get these guys/gals to talk to me, but they almost always refuse outright, either screaming over everything I say, or shouting, “You’re not worth talking to!” I try to shout back, but nobody learns anything in that type of discourse. I’ve had about 10 of those encounters and, interestingly, four of them happened in the last two months.
I don’t blame them and I truly thank them for any sacrifice they made in serving their country, but there’s nothing I hate more then a lie and the biggest and most destructive, perpetual lie in America is:
If you don’t support the war, you don’t support the troops.
When Bush says things like, “America doesn’t torture”, “Wiretaps require a court order”, or, “I’ve never been – stay the course”, (whatever that means), he’s lying. The consistently dishonest leadership of this administration has bent reality and changed it’s reason for the war many times:
We must rid Iraq of it’s weapons of mass destruction
We have to remove the brutal dictator
We must have free and fair elections in order to bring democracy to the middle east
We can’t stand down until the Iraqi people stand up
We can’t leave until we achieve victory, (whatever THAT means, he hasn’t told us yet)
This is bringing dishonor to America and doesn’t help our soldiers or anybody else. If I didn’t deeply believe my message could help America, I wouldn’t be marching against Bush.
I’m not seeing as many yellow ribbons on SUV’s these days. What about you?
I hate to blow my own horn, so I’ll let the Salt Lake City Weekly do it for me in their “Best of Utah” 2007 issue…
It’s one thing to march en masse against George W. Bush during an anti-war rally in downtown Salt Lake City. It’s another, several months before the war rally, to get out on the streets carrying a sign demanding Bush’s impeachment-by yourself.
Bergan has walked 400 miles up and down Salt Lake City streets over the past four years making his lone protest against the U.S. war in Iraq. Now he stands on street corners collecting, he says, as many thumbs up as he does birds. The 54 year old out-of-work optician has lost three signs to irate citizens but that hasn’t stopped his urgent sense of civic duty one iota. He’s Utah’s last angry man, it seems, and we’re all better off for him.
Actually, I always get many more thumbs up then that other thing, but I’ll take it. Thanks CW!
Look what I saw walking along Wasatch Blvd last night.
I heard the horns before I saw the man walking along Wastach Blvd holding an Impeach Bush sign. My own horn quickly joined the chorus. At first I felt afraid for the man. This is after all Utah.
But upon closer inspection, the other people beeping were waving and giving the thumbs up. A thrill-shiver when down my spine.
Being only blocks from home, I continued there, got my camera and ran back only to discover the man had turned up the hill toward me, whereupon I took the first picture.
As I approached, a group of skateboarders hanging out at Churchill were cheering the man on.
This one approached to get a closer look. I was immediately struck by this kid’s interest.
It occurred to me that this kid was shaking hands with a role model. Kids get hypocrisy. At this age, they have a concept of civic duty and have likely witnessed their own parents’ disenchantment if not outright disgust with this president for a good chunk of these, their most impressionable years.
I mean, think about it. This kid is maybe 14 years old. Lets say his mother has hated Bush since 2001. That would mean starting when this kid was nine-years-old he has been confronted with a bad war, bad president and angry parents.
What must he think about the utter inaction of the adults around him whose reactions range from muttering under their breath to maybe cursing out loud?
Imagine the sense of hypocrisy he’s growing up with. He must be wondering why there remains in the White House, a president who could easily be impeached on several handfuls of offenses — domestic, international, and war crimes — and why more people aren’t walking around with such signs.
And then a man named Larry Bergan walked into his realm of experience.
Larry is a hero, a role model and a sad reminder by his exceptional choices, of the general failure if not utter breakdown of civic responsibility in our supposedly participatory democracy.
As I stood and spoke with Larry and he continued to hold his sign for passing cars, I was pleasantly surprised by the almost unanimous accord with the sentiment of his sign as expressed by beeping horns, smiles, and thumbs-ups.
Larry shames us all with his courage, conviction, and giant balls. Go Larry!