Date Added: June 7, 2004
The Internet gives any politically minded person unprecedented power to organize and execute symbolic demonstrations. As we can see with this chain, that can be both good and bad.
My name is Nadia Jensen and I have an idea for a quiet revolution. Please take 5 minutes to read my email and then help me if you can: Here's some history behind this idea: When Norway was occupied by Germany in 1940, Norwegian women began to knit RED caps for children as a way of letting everyone know that they did not like what was happening in their country, that they didn't like having their freedom taken away by the Nazis. My great aunt, Karin Knudson Myrstad, was one of the women who knit red caps for her children and others. Similarly, in Denmark, women knit red-white-and blue caps (colors of the Allies) for the very same reason.
The result was that whenever Norwegians and Danes left their homes -- to go to the store, to work, etc, they could see that the majority opposed what was going on in their country. As you know, both countries organized effective Resistance efforts and changed history -- everything that happened began simply by wearing red!!!! (or the colors of the Allies, in Denmark).
1. BACKGROUND: I believe, as many of us do, that at the very heart of our democracy is our right to oppose certain policies of our government. Increasingly, our Government is redefining "freedom" in ways that make too many Americans perceive that it is risky to oppose his policies - and, in particular, current inroads about individual freedoms and policies in the U.S. and abroad. However, many of us do oppose what our government is doing to individual rights-- and I have an idea that will allow all of us to recognize each other very easily so we can see that we are the majority.
2. SO... I have been thinking that it's time to take action in a way that is effective and easy for all of us to do: Just wear red every Friday between now and election day.
Wear a little or a lot - just be sure that when you leave your house to go about your day - to work, to school, to the store, to the gas station, wherever you go in your daily routine - that everyone who sees you will see that you are wearing red because you believe in freedom and you don't agree with our current administration's policies at home and abroad. I'm really certain that we'll see that lots of us wearing red for freedom - because we are the majority. We just need a way to show each other who we are!!! Between now and election day, ask everyone you know to wear red for "Freedom Fridays."
3. I have already spread the word to friends and have had a very enthusiastic response. This email has been forwarded around the country by many who receive it - feel free to send in on to your friends and co-workers.
The most frequent question I get about this one is: "Is it legitimate?" Well, it's legitimate in the sense that someone came up with the idea and decided to use e-mail to spread the word. While many groups and individuals have voiced support for "Freedom Fridays," there is no group officially sponsoring the movement and ensuring its success. The author chose to provide only her name, with no way to contact her, and web searches for "Nadia Jensen" mostly turn up copies of this letter on message boards and blogs.
Anybody can use the internet to organize a movement like this one. Unfortunately, that means that some often opposing viewpoints can adopt the same symbol. In April, 2003, a similar campaign, later backed by the Special Forces Association, proposed that Americans wear red on Fridays to show their support for the troops. At about the same time, an anti-war organization proposed crimson garb to protest "U.S. warmongering."
As with most grassroots campaigns, its legitimacy can only be proved through its success. But, you have to wonder: with so many differing causes recommending the tact, will folks really know what you are protesting? Break this chain.