In support of peaceful protesting | Letter

In support of peaceful protesting | Letter

Peaceful demonstrations are important because when the force confronts the calm, the real power might be the calm. A kayak in the river is moving with the calmer water downstream. The dominant forces on the kayak are from upstream rapids. When tilting the kayak away from the rapids, the bottom of the kayak adapts to that force and the kayak can remain upright.

Instead, in a kayak in the ocean, when the long side of the kayak is confronting a breaking wave, the kayak is not moving with the calm water on the opposite side. The ocean wave pushes the sideways kayak against the calm water, the real force to be confronted. To survive upright, the kayaker chooses to tilt the bottom of the kayak to the calm water by leaning into the breaking wave. If not, the moving kayak confronts the calm water with one side of the top and will flip. The ocean kayaker’s survival choice is to do what seems at first to be counter-intuitive and uninviting: lean into the wave, thus acknowledging the calm as the real force.

If the police represent the kayaker, believing the force is in their angry support system, the wave, they can mistakenly ignore the true strength of the peace demonstrator. For the protester to be violent, the value of being a peace demonstrator is likely not understood. The peace demonstrator can choose to be the calm water, allowing the energy wave to reveal the real force in the situation.

Mark Billington

Friday Harbor