March 19th, 2003

hat

last minutes

Either there's something wrong with my scale, or I have lost 5 pounds since the start of lent. So now I'm motivated to persist in my exercise and no-sugar experiment, and perhaps even go further. Like moderating my sugar intake from the few sources I still allow myself, and cutting down on my incessant snacking. And more exercise, of course.

At the request of several of my friends, I lit a couple of candles last night. [It's so strange to think that even as I'm writing this (on a BART train to San Francisco), war may be starting.] I took a short walk around my neighbourhood just before going to sleep, looking for lights in people's windows. I saw something that might have been a candle in the apartment building in the distance, and that's it. This makes me think that the position that I feel should be popular, the position that's prevalent among everyone I know, is in fact held by many fewer people than necessary. [Yet, as I write this, there is a man on the train with a sign: "if war breaks out, walk out."]

The protests, rallies, and marches are a show of numbers. But everyone already knows the numbers. The direct action protest will be a show of force. But I don't know how to feel about it. Even if we do get enough people out to shut down San Francisco, what does it mean in a democratic society when a vocal minority is willing to paralyze a city to defend their opinions? How would I feel if the pro-war people used the same tactics?

I guess there are different concepts of what you agree and disagree with, and what you're willing to accept, and perhaps it even makes sense to take extreme measures to protest that which you cannot accept. The game theorist in me is worried, though, about a situation where two large enough groups have a mutually exclusive view of what's acceptable. But hypothesizing aside, I'm still going to go. I have to do something and just walking on my "job" won't have any impact.

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