This afternoon, I attended a clean energy rally downtown with a group of good folks made up of farmers, teachers, writers, and environmental activists.  It was a group of friendly people who smiled and weren’t pushy and I felt pretty comfortable carrying a sign that asked for a reduction of carbon emissions: 35% by 2020.  Nothing radical.  

And yet, the response was a strange mix and for a few hours following I let it bother me that one woman yelled, “Why don’t you get a green job!” at close range or the guy who yelled, “My urban footprint is smaller than yours!” or the guy who yelled “I love coal!” (at least he did so with a smile).  The back three people walking with me were all organic farmers, so these responses were not only out of place, but strangely hostile.  

So, on the way home, I thought about all the thumbs up, the supportive honking and the “Keep it  up” that came from the cute guy in thick black glasses and tweed vest.  And I thought about the wonderful people who care enough to stand in the rain passing out flyers about what people can do to contact their senators regarding a more comprehensive clean-air act.  

The anger wasn’t a response to the signs, it was a response to some made-up labels they attached to us somewhere in their periphery.   When did the yelling begin and when will it stop?  Maybe rather than clean energy signs, we should have carried signs that read:  “Let it go.”  “Cheer up!”  “Let’s talk.”  “Do you need a hug today?”  

I’m reminded of the day I saw a man on the free way in Charlotte who carried a sign that said “God loves you.”  The bravery in making a statement – in standing out among the masses with a message is why they target us.  It’s not the message, but the fear of what it means to stand by and do nothing.  

So, I’ll always march for causes that mean something to me and I’ll always take the time to read your signs – whether real or carried through in an expression because I care to know.  Because I care.  

My energy is not clouded with disillusionment.  My energy is clean.