Sunday, September 25, 2005

No More War

I spent three hours yesterday in and among some 500 anti-war demonstrators, watching as they chanted, sang, waved and marched, signs held high, in solidarity against George W. Bush’s unholy war of terror in Iraq.

What really happened there? Or, more appropriately, what will happen now?

It’s no secret this country has turned against Bush’s folly. Hell, barely half were even in support of the fucking thing in the first place, with millions of protestors worldwide shouting loudly, and nearly stopping the invasion before it began.

Only once before in history did a nation’s own people rise up and force the government to abandon a war: Vietnam.

It’s going to happen again. It’s going to happen without a draft, without violence, without major arrests and god willing without the death of 58,000 of our own soldiers, and untold thousands of others.

I don’t want to wade too deep into the politics here though. This is the sights, the sounds and the curious nature of the peace movement, by its very nature probably the widest ranging, most diverse cause imaginable.

There are the usual suspects, to be sure. In the movie PCU they’re called the “causeheads,” an appropriate label for the crowd that almost seems to protest for protest’s sake.

But the march yesterday here, and judging by the pictures and video from D.C. the same there, was virtually an Everybody’s Club. There were all ages, from 3-year-olds to folks who look like they’re pushing 90. One of the highlights was the Raging Grannies, the funniest group of post-menopausal women out there. Their reinterpretations of “Yankee Doodle Dandy,” “Guantanamera” and “God Bless America” are witty and damning.

The man in the overalls with the banjo stuck to the old standards: “Michael Row Your Boat Ashore” and one of my personal favorites, the song that should be our national anthem, Communist leanings be damned: “This Land is Your Land.” Woody captured everything this country should be like, everything it would be if the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights weren’t subjugated by the power interests from the get-go of this country.

My favorite sign of the day (creative, but don’t get lost figuring it out too literally): “Frodo failed, Bush has the Ring.”

I’ve been among protests for a while, seen a good dozen of various types.

One thing I noticed yesterday, and one thing I think will increasingly come to matter as this year progresses, is the near ubiquity of calls to impeach Bush. Like previous protests, this isn’t just saying NO WAR, it isn’t just saying BUSH LIED US INTO WAR, it’s demanding the constitutional removal of an American president. It won’t happen. It should, but it won’t. The Republican majority in Congress is far too corrupt and far too deep under Karl Rove’s spell to ever take that action.

But given the forcefulness of the impeachment call at the protests, and the fact that nearly two thirds of the country now oppose the war, I’d guess that somewhere near 20 percent of this country believe Bush should be impeached and tried. Argue with the guess if you want, offer your own, be regardless, recognize that it’s a significant portion of Americans.

But back to the color of the day. I wish I was more of a photographer, or that I’d at least brought my camera. Some of my best photography came from the protests in Los Angeles in 2000. It’s not only the color and the theatrics of the whole thing. Protests have an undeniable energy, and you can capture it in people. The expressions, the yearning eyes, the sense of duty… it all comes through in the lens.

Face it, protests can be entertaining. The redundancy of the speakers aside, there’s plenty to look at, plenty to take in. Above it all perhaps is the feeling of oneness and accomplishment that pervades the rally. Demonstrators are DOING SOMETHING ABOUT IT. They’re not sitting back, not writing letters, not engaging in friendly debates. They’re idealistic, but they’re not stupid. I’d wager this country’s best educated, smartest and wisest people absolutely oppose at least this war (if not war in general) for the simple reason that they’ve gotten past the bullshit administration rhetoric and understand what the conflict really is about. And those reasons – power, oil, neo-con colonialism – do not in any way justify the action, which is why so many other “justifications” were offered.

Those “justifications” were just like a baseball lineup, building to power, then falling off.

Leading off was “Axis of evil,” up second was “Saddam is dangerous,” hitting third was “WMDs” and the administration was off and running. If that wasn’t enough, the clean-up hitter was the powerful but subtle insinuation of “nuclear capabilities.” After that, the quality of hitters started falling quickly. Fifth was “liberation.” Sixth was “Democracy.” Seventh was “Bring ‘em on.” Eighth was “the insurgency is in it’s final throes.” And up ninth, the puny, ineffective “Stay the course.”

Ninth, of course, will be the one that strikes out to end the game.

Staying a disastrous course will lead to more disaster. Any idiot can see that. America is waking up. The wave is coming. And the last idiot who realizes that the course he’s stayed is ultimate disaster will be a disgraced and hopefully impeached president.

1 comment:

JLC said...

the frodo sign is my favorite. sums it up.

i went to a conference earlier this year where the speaker (a first amend. guru) said the country is in the middle of a war between freedom and fear. it sounds like freedom is starting to gain some ground back lately.