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American Individualism

November 27, 1986

In "Unlikely Saga of Great Peace March Nears Its Conclusion" (Nov. 9), Kathleen Hendrix describes with great insight how a worthy project, super-organized with the latest technological tools available for PR enterprises, fell apart. And how it was reborn through the initiative and perseverance of individuals.

Dedication to peace is shared by millions worldwide. Compared to their total national population, people in other countries have responded in greater numbers to calls from their leaders--be they political parties, "cause" organizations or well-known, vocal thinkers--than we here have done.

As I see it, the difference is that in other countries people "respond." In our country we have a tradition: not to wait for a call. Sometimes it's just five mothers guarding a dangerous street corner during school hours while the authorities are stuck inert in bureaucratic mud, and sometimes a few hundred individuals in Barstow say " I will go on" (with the Peace March).

Hendrix does not prettify. She lets us see the weakness inherent in this unstructured march. And yet: After reading her story twice I came to think that maybe this willingness to act on our own will be a good protection for our endangered democracy. Any autocrat aiming for political power in and over the U.S.A. will have not only to smash democratic organizations and Constitutional rights but also each one of millions of dedicated rugged individuals.

MARIE HALL

Laguna Hills

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