In 2004 when President George W. Bush got re-elected, I was afraid I might get really depressed. I decided to join my friends on the Margaret Chase Smith Bridge in Skowhegan every Sunday who were carrying signs advocating for peace and against war. We’ve been coming to the bridge almost every Sunday since then. We’ve seen the beautiful Kennebec River rushing over the dam in springtime and frozen in great cascades of ice in the winter.

We’ve come to feel that it’s important to us not to intimidate people, not to block the sidewalk, and to be aware of passersby and to make room for them. We hope to open dialogue, not argument. We carry our signs, but we don’t scream at people driving by.

Over the years many people have expressed to me their feeling that although they don’t agree with us, they will do all they can to protect our right to protest.

Lately the people in Skowhegan who have wanted to keep their Indian mascot have been protesting there as well. Although I don’t agree with them about the mascot, I’m glad they’re out there doing it. I think that our right to protest is a core American right and I value it highly.

I hope they will continue to make their voices heard on every issue. I hope they’ll be out there if President Donald Trump takes away their health care, or if he sends American soldiers to die in Venezuela for a mistaken war. I hope they’ll protest to end the kidnapping of refugee children at our border.

And right here in Skowhegan I hope we can agree to disagree in peace.


Abby Shahn


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