The Truth Board

A Blog by the Editors of
The Truth About the Fact: An International Journal of Literary Nonfiction

My Photo
Location: Los Angeles, California, United States

The Truth About the Fact: A Journal of Literary Nonfiction is an international journal committed to the idea that excellence in the art of letters can play a vital role in transforming the planet we share.

Monday, February 22, 2010

The Power of a Voice

It is a great thing, being able to voice your opinion. For years now I’ve been able to say I don’t like that outfit, or that the burger at my favorite café is the best in the world, or that some professor I’m taking might possibly be the devil. More importantly though, the ability to voice an opinion has allowed for Presidents to win countries, women and men to fight for their rights and crowds to stand in the face of disaster. An opinion gives one power so great that it seems one might be able to silence the world if even for a minute.

Last week, as I was driving down Wilshire, enjoying the sun, the perfectly timed green lights and the wind swirling around my car I was awestruck by a crowd forming on the corner blocks away. A stream of break lights came rushing towards me and in an instant the sun was blocked by enormous signs and the music in my car was muffled by the sound of hundreds of voices chanting.

It was a mass, a hoard, a roaring crowd of people inhaling and exhaling hate towards a common cause. Flags were swimming in the sky and the fury of the people rose like flames along the sidewalks. As cars passed horns rang in support of the power, for the passion, for the people voicing their opinions.

The chants protested the United States’ support of violent countries, and condemnation of other. The signs called for the killing of people who kill their people. The crowd stood as a force against the United States government. I was taken aback by their power, but the symbolism of the collective opinion, and their ability to voice it as one sweeping wave was astonishing as well.

The truth of the story is, I don’t know what they were protesting. In reality I was anxiously waiting for the sun to creep out from behind the boards and for my music to once again fill my car. While these people and their opinion caused no physical harm to me or anyone else to my knowledge, there was something so furiously violent about their gathering that caused me great discomfort. The images taped across large sheets of paper were gory and their words called for death.

It is odd for me to juxtapose the emotions created on that corner, to those of the Women in Black who stand on a corner in my small hometown in Washington State every Friday. These women stand in silence and solidarity with those who are fighting for the United States of America around the world. They stand in silence each Friday evening, and they too attract the honks of passing cars and the unsympathetic glares of others. What always stands out so much for me is how capable these women are of voicing an opinion silently, and how powerful their dark message stands on that rainy corner.

Maybe because I am girl who loves to voice my opinion in black ink it is hard for me to relate to the blazing protest I witnessed last week. Or maybe, their violent presence was what caused their heartfelt protest to be such a severe distraction to my day. I believe words have power and when yelled may leave a lasting impression just as a silent presence yells for attention. Historically, bold protests stand out; the silence of Gandhi, the march on Washington, the passion against the Vietnam War and then there are those which have left a scar, like the flames of the Los Angeles Riots. These pivotal moments in history I believe were only realized by the unity of a people, the passion for real change.

It is a beautiful thing to voice ones opinion, I commend both groups for taking a stance and taking action of what they can control. But is there a moment when ones opinion may cause an explosion in the world rather than a spark to spur a movement? Is there a time when an opinion says too much?



Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home