Protest delivers anti-war message

Standing with about a half dozen other demonstrators Saturday morning, Peggy Bardarson delivers her anti-war message to motorists driving on Highway 525. - Matt Johnson
Standing with about a half dozen other demonstrators Saturday morning, Peggy Bardarson delivers her anti-war message to motorists driving on Highway 525.
— image credit: Matt Johnson

Protesters waving signs carrying anti-war messages gave South Whidbey motorists something to think about as they passed the Bayview Park and Ride last Wednesday and Saturday.

Up to nine people at a time took part in the roadside demonstrations, demonstrations organizers staged to oppose the Bush administration's push for a new war in Iraq.

"It's madness," said Kathy Cado, who carried a sign Saturday that proclaimed simply "No War."

The protest was different than those associated with past wars, in that it was decrying a conflict that has not begun. Even so, the demonstrators got a good deal of attention from Saturday morning drivers coming and going to the Bayview Farmers Market. Within the first half hour of the 11 a.m. event, more than 25 drivers had honked their horns and waved their hands in support of the messages on the protest signs -- messages like "Stop U.S. terrorism against Iraq" and "It's about oil."

The messages also drew a few downturned thumbs and obscene gestures from drivers. Cado said that while this was not the response they were hoping for, she was glad passersby were reading the signs.

"We want to get people thinking about this and talking," she said.

Several of the demonstrators said they felt that standing on a roadside waving anti-war messages is the only way to raise awareness over President Bush's recent push to attack Iraq. Larry Manning, a vendor at the farmers market who took a couple hours out of his morning to wave his own anti-war message for Highway 525 travellers, said the "homogeny" of recent news coverage leaves the American people without a good idea of what is really happening. He said he believes the president's threats of military action are an attempt to build his popularity.

Manning said he sees no good in that.

"I don't want the United States going out killing a bunch of Iraqi people just to support Bush's re-election," he said.

In spite of their convictions, the demonstrators do not want their intentions misunderstood. Cado, who vividly remembers the protests during the Vietnam War, said she and her fellow sign wavers do support and believe in the United States -- just not in the actions of some of its politicians.

"We are patriots," she said. "We're out here because we care about our country."

The demonstrators said they plan to continue their protests at the park and ride as long as they are necessary. They will return for another round of sign waving today at 7:30 a.m.

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