[Civil Disobedience Training, Cambridge Friends School gym, 2/4/17]
When I’d told an aging activist I was going to a CD training on Saturday he’d snorted: “What’s to learn? You go limp. End of training!”
But I don’t roll that way. If I’m considering something hard, something I’m scared of, I need to do exactly what I did: I need a class. I need to pay money. (Not a lot; $15.) I need to spend five or so hours with other people contemplating the same action. (There were about forty of us.) I need hand-outs. (9 pages, double-sided, no less!) I need lots of Q & A and roll-plays and earnest conversation at lunch. I need to take turns reading quotes about non-violence aloud. I need to contemplate Gene Sharp’s list of 198 methods of non-violent action. And to study a hand-written flow chart explaining what might happen at a civil disobedience event—and my choices at every step. I need to show up.
And now I need to do my homework, the same homework I always do. Which is to ask: What am I called to do? Is getting arrested—and all I now understand will happen to me should I decide to do so— what I am called to do? I’m not clear.
But I do know this. The day after that training, at my Quaker meeting, when asked to give a one-word description of how I was doing, my immediate answer was “Preparing.”