Sep 23, 2005

What A Long Strange Trip It's Been

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Left: "Brady," warming up the crowd

Tonight I covered a rally for anti-war protesters, but for a tangential reason (read Wednesday's Toledo Free Press for that story). I am still trying to sort out this event; I am not sure whether to laugh, cry, or sink into a deeper level of cynicism after witnessing this event.

Over a hundred well-intentioned people gathered in the parking lot of UT's Rocket Hall to send off two busloads of protesters who will join the huge DC rally this weekend. The crowd was a blend of sixtyish ex-hippies, hemp-wearing coeds, and assorted peace activists and radicals.

Vendors hawked the Socialist Worker, the Final Call (Farrakhan's publication), and others passed out flyers for every group between NOW and Reform Ohio Now. A folk band played classic protest songs, and people milled about waiting for the busses.

Several thoughts came to me as I snapped photos and talked to people. I was first struck by what I perceived to be a small turnout; if the polls can be trusted, there are surely more people against this war. Why are we so apathetic?


I also questioned the money being spent on this endeavor. If sixty Toledoans are spending $400 on this trip (no matter how well-intentioned), how could that $24,000 have been spent locally to improve life right here? Will their presence in DC change anything?

Is this, in the words of one person I spoke with tonight, just "political tourism" designed to make the participants feel better?

Note: I am against the war in Iraq, and have been since day one. I also do not question the motives of the participants.

But will anything be accomplished? Will our soldiers be more likely to return home?

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

pinko peaceniks - what do you expect?

Hooda Thunkit said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Hooda Thunkit said...

Mike,
"Is this, in the words of one person I spoke with tonight, just "political tourism" designed to make the participants feel better?"

I would say yes.

I do not doubt nor question their motivations, but I do question the results of their actions, especially on our troops in harm's way.

Some day, maybe our government will realize that there are better, more effective ways to fight a war than by putting boots on the ground and ways that require no exit strategy.

I do back the war, but I disagree with the methods and techniques that we are employing to accomplish our goals.

liberal_dem said...

Why are we so apathetic?

Indeed, why? Could it be the daily right-wing propaganda sound bites which filled the airwaves up to and during Bush's invasion of 'Iraq? You remember, the 'anti-Americanism' labels pinned on anyone who would dare to question the wisdom of Bush's pre-emptive war?

So many Americans have drunk deeply from the right-wing Kool-Aid that I believe they are dumbed down and afraid to question the 'authority' of the Executive Branch.

Right-wing radio and FoxNews were as effective as Goering and Julius Streicher. The American sheeple, having been traumatized by the events of 9-11, were easily duped into believing that Bush was doing the right thing and that he was defending us from further attacks.

I understand [perhaps and urban legend?] that the majority of folks in the Southern states still believe that Saddam Hussein was involved in the 9-11 attacks. What does this say about the power of propaganda?

One final observation as a survivor of the Vietnam War years: many of us who believe in peaceful protest and war as a last resort are tired. We have been browbeaten, spit-upon, and degraded by the faux patriotic folks who succumbed to the propaganda techniques of Karl Rove and his cadre of neocon politicos. Tired of watching these right-wingers destroy our society while the sheeple go about their lives in ignorant assured bliss. Tired, Mike, just tired...

liberal_dem said...

Hooda Thunkit said... I do back the war...

Why?