Skip

October 26, 2002
5:12 PM   Subscribe

Americans the streets, finally! 100,000 (or so) in DC protest the war in Iraq. Parallel protests in cities worldwide. Why is no lawmaker stepping up to represent this constituency?
posted by jfc (66 comments total)

 
Well, perhaps they are representing the millions who did not participate because they do not oppose war with Iraq.
posted by Durwood at 5:24 PM on October 26, 2002


Twenty-three senators voted against the recent Iraq war resolution, as did 133 representatives. Seems like this view has plenty of representation. Not enough to win, but certainly more than you'd expect based on the number of protesters.
posted by kindall at 5:31 PM on October 26, 2002


"If we act out of fear and not hope, we get bitter and not better." - Jesse Jackson

Add Al Sharpton and two shirtless women, walking arm-in-arm with stickers on their chests, and it becomes clear why no lawmaker is stepping up! This will be seen as a minority (and I don't mean racially) uprising, granted a large minority.
posted by TheFarSeid at 5:35 PM on October 26, 2002


"This will be seen as a minority uprising"

This is a much larger protest than occured as the US made plans to invade Vietnam. Of course it's small now. It will grow. Consider that many people didn't hear about this in time to attend. I would have gone to the march in San Fransisco, but I didn't find out soon enough. People will see this and wish they had been there. It will grow.

"two shirtless women, walking arm-in-arm"

It's not about sitting home and being timid. It's about marching in the street and yelling. I doubt these women were trying to gain the respect of elected officials. Since the march means we've given up on spineless elected officials.

The protests stopped the Vietnam war, and they'll stop the war on Iraq as well.
posted by y6y6y6 at 6:30 PM on October 26, 2002


y6y6y6, please provide a date for the "invasion" of Vietnam. That's about the most ridiculous historical analogy I've heard in quite a while.

The United States backed a sovereign entity, the Republic of South Vietnam, which was fighting an insurgency backed by North Vietnam. Later, North Vietnam invaded South Vietnam, which was the beginning of our direct engagement with the NVA. We never "invaded" Vietnam.
posted by dhartung at 7:20 PM on October 26, 2002


Ok, but the point, dhartung, is that the U.S. presence in Vietnam, taking over for the French colonial project, took years to spark large-scale demonstrations like this. Since we know that the U.S. either fabricated or exaggerated the Gulf of Tonkin incident for its own purposes, it makes sense that more people will be cynical about U.S. government motives today, and thus acting faster to stop idiotic warfare involving U.S. citizen-soldiers. The 'Net is helping organize and spread information, too.

It's a new ball game, and Cheney has to be aware that he's starting from a much weaker position than the executive branch (i.e., JFK) that first got us heavily involved in Vietnam.
posted by mediareport at 7:37 PM on October 26, 2002


The protests stopped the Vietnam war, and they'll stop the war on Iraq as well.

No they didn't. The protestors were correct and they did change the public's perception of the war, but the war itself kept right on going. The last Americans weren't out till the Fall of Saigon.

As far as people not piping up to protest the war, well quite frankly a lotta people aren't completely sure how they feel about the whole proposition yet. There's a certain percentage of people who will cheer on any warfare the government tells them to. Then there's another percentage who will denounce any military action by the US even justifiable ones.

In between lay the great majority of Americans, including myself. I protested against the first Gulf War as a college student, so my opinions here are not unconsidered ones. On the one hand, we have no solid proof that he was connected to 9/11 and starting a war with Iraq could have a ripple effect around the world with dire consequences for us. On the other hand, I have no delusions that Saddam Hussein is just a simply foreign head of state being pushed around by the Evil US who means us no harm. He's a reprehensible totalitarian scumbucket who does mean us and other people harm if possible, but he's not dumb enough to go head to head with us, but has the power to screw with us other ways, economically for instance.

So what to do? I dunno, honestly. If I had the answer, I'd be consulting in the White House or with the opposition, but I dont. Maybe I'm just wishy-washy who knows?
posted by jonmc at 8:12 PM on October 26, 2002


from the washington post: "Unlike those protests, yesterday's rally was different in that it preceded war, and many interpreted that as an indication of a potentially powerful movement. "During the Vietnam War, no demonstration of comparable size took place until 1967, three years after the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution ," said Brian Becker, co-director of the International Action Center."
posted by john m at 8:17 PM on October 26, 2002


"two shirtless women, walking arm-in-arm"

In an article that speaks of the large and growing anti-war movement your best response is to ridicule how two protesters choose to dress.

Instead try focusing on this: "People arrived in Washington by the thousands in buses, vans and cars packed with students, parents, families, and senior citizens. There were Muslim women wearing headscarfs, Catholic priests carrying placards, and children with peace signs on their T-shirts. And the numbers were as large, if not larger, than the organizers predicted."

Let the senators and congressmen focus on this: there have been no marches for war with Iraq.
posted by ?! at 8:24 PM on October 26, 2002


March for War:

About 500 Iraqi exiles came to Washington to show support for efforts to remove Saddam from power.

Tamir Musa, an Iraqi who has lived in Michigan for 10 years, said, "The war is good if it goes to kill Saddam Hussein. He has a lot of bombs. He's terrorist number one."

posted by Mick at 8:29 PM on October 26, 2002


The sister demonstration in San Francisco has been described to me by attendees as massive; Market Street was evidently clogged with demonstrators from the Embarcadero to the Castro. Any first hand accounts from the gang?
posted by RJ Reynolds at 8:29 PM on October 26, 2002




The protester crowd will skyrocket if there is a draft. So long as regular army troops and national guard and reservists are called to go fight, protests will be vocal but not a large crowd.
posted by Postroad at 8:39 PM on October 26, 2002


The protester crowd will skyrocket if there is a draft.

And if a renewed draft ever comes to pass, the oh so brave chickenhawk ranks here and elsewhere will be crowing a completely different squawk.
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 8:53 PM on October 26, 2002


Today's protestors are either too stupid to see the strength of our enemies, or they are our enemies.

Animated by whatever ignorance of the actual necessity of the threat of and use of force to neutralize our enemies, or happy of any occasion to demand that they be allowed to defat us, they are utterly unworthy of comparison to the Vietnam protesters.

Although, of course, the Vietnam protesters were still proven completely wrong about the merits of the war and the nature of the North Vietnamese (just think of what happened in 1975, and why it's so easy to get good Vietnamese anywhere in this country today), they reached their conclusions, by and large, after a difficult and traumatic process, and in the face of significant evidence which was capable of anti-war interpretation, and overwhelming evidence that our allies (the South Vietnamese establishment) and our military leadership were incapable of conducting the war effectively.

And, needless to say, an important strain of their protests was, at its heart, an isolationist, not a pacifistic, one: American lives aren't worth spending for this goal. It was this strain, more than others, which led to American withdrawal. Pat Buchannan aside, there is little of that now.

Bottom line, anti-war won't get anything approaching a serious hearing until and unless serious casualties are recorded. Considering the death toll which one well placed weapon of mass destruction could extract on us or an ally, that death toll would have to climb into the high tens of thousands before that would credibly start to look like a bad strategic move.

On preview -- I think the chickenhawk thing is a ridicuous accusation. In the 1960's and early 1970's there were legal exemptions and deferments, and the military reached its enlistment goals. There is nothing even slightly cowardly about availing one's self of legal alternatives to military service is one feels that is a better choice. ... that's why exemptions exist. One point of military organization is to make people, particularly people at the bottom of the organization chart, entirely fungible. When Congress says we need 1,000,000 men, it makes essentially no difference who is, or is not, in that 1,000,000, just so 1,000,000 are obtained. If/when Congress says 10,000,000, well, then, that's everybody in the age cohort who isn't an invalid, so no choice left.
posted by MattD at 9:06 PM on October 26, 2002


Let the senators and congressmen focus on this: there have been no marches for war with Iraq.

Really? There was one the same day, nearby. I just saw some of it on C-SPAN. It looked rather sad, barely a small crowd. But, there it was: Rally for War with Iraq.
posted by Ayn Marx at 9:12 PM on October 26, 2002


The best comment heard so far: "It's unfortunate that an anti-war movement, at a time when we need an anti-war movement, is saddled with the self-appointed and leadership-challenged Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and other self-aggradizing fools."
posted by kablam at 9:24 PM on October 26, 2002


Bottom line, anti-war won't get anything approaching a serious hearing until and unless serious casualties are recorded.

Riiiight. Cheney sees the poll data. He and Rumsfeld have already toned down their rhetoric since the vote in Congress showed such significant opposition - *before* a single "serious casualty." This ain't Daddy's Gulf War, and people across the country are increasingly realizing that fact, despite national Dems' cowardice on the issue. They'll still invade, of course, but they'll wait to see if luck breaks their way and they get control of the Executive, Judical and Legislative branches for the first time in 80 years.

American liberals: Have you told your friends and family Cheney's only one vote away from complete freedom to do whatever the fuck he wants?
posted by mediareport at 9:24 PM on October 26, 2002


There is nothing even slightly cowardly about availing one's self of legal alternatives to military service is one feels that is a better choice. ... that's why exemptions exist.

Aha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha *cough* ha.

Because those exemptions were equally available for all young men regardless of class, wealth, political connections, or citizenship. Yup.

Went to the SF march. It was pretty big--estimates vary, of course. And while all the usual Interesting Protest People were out, the majority of us there were just plain folks.
posted by feckless at 9:35 PM on October 26, 2002


Although, of course, the Vietnam protesters were still proven completely wrong about the merits of the war and the nature of the North Vietnamese

The "nature of the North Vietnamese"? You mean the people who got rid of our friend Pol Pot after we stood by while he killed a few million if his people?
posted by Armitage Shanks at 9:40 PM on October 26, 2002


Peace? Who needs peace?

posted by The Jesse Helms at 9:42 PM on October 26, 2002


There weren't 100K of people in Washington, more like 50K, and from I've read so far, the croud was significantly composed of the same pathetic crowd you get for any occassion to bash "the evil Republicans."

Let's all remember there was also an anti-war movement in 1990-91, which obviously caused a revolution. But the war was over so fast, with so many fewer casualties than predicted that those people looked like a bunch of timid a-holes. Gee...probably the same people were out there today.

You'd do a lot better lobbying Congress to not invade Iraq. Oops. I forgot: you lost that one.
posted by ParisParamus at 10:02 PM on October 26, 2002


mattd has swayed me. bombs away!
posted by mcsweetie at 10:29 PM on October 26, 2002


He's a reprehensible totalitarian scumbucket who does mean us and other people harm if possible, but he's not dumb enough to go head to head with us, but has the power to screw with us other ways, economically for instance.

And he's the only one, hmm?

Paranoia != foreign policy.
posted by rushmc at 10:41 PM on October 26, 2002


Over half a million American troops and 50,000 killed in Vietnam -- I guess one could call that an invasion although more protracted than the D-Day "invasion".

As for "the United States backed a sovereign entity, the Republic of South Vietnam", now who's being ridiculous.
posted by JackFlash at 11:52 PM on October 26, 2002


now who's being ridiculous

Now who doesn't know their history...
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 12:07 AM on October 27, 2002


American liberals: Have you told your friends and family Cheney's only one vote away from complete freedom to do whatever the fuck he wants?

You need 60 votes to invoke cloture and get any bill remotely controversial passed in the Senate, so a 51/49 majority does not mean that Bush and Cheney can do whatever the fuck they want.

It does mean that the 49 don't get much of the stuff that they want, but the 49 -- or just one of them -- can also keep the 51 from getting what they want.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 12:10 AM on October 27, 2002


And if a renewed draft ever comes to pass, the oh so brave chickenhawk ranks here and elsewhere will be crowing a completely different squawk.

Speak for yourself and yourself only, you tired old coward. Just because you lack courage and pride doesn't mean the rest of the nation does, thank God. While your young friends head for the border, mine will shave their heads and stand a post so you can continue to belittle and condemn them. War is a terrible thing, but not the worst of things...
posted by David Dark at 12:21 AM on October 27, 2002


a 51/49 majority does not mean that Bush and Cheney can do whatever the fuck they want.

Holy cow. You mean Jim Jeffords switched parties last year *for nothing*?

Who'da thunk it.
posted by mediareport at 12:25 AM on October 27, 2002


There is nothing even slightly cowardly about availing one's self of legal alternatives to military service is one feels that is a better choice. -- MattD

Unless you're Bill Clinton, in which case availing yourself of them makes you "draft dodger". Or so a great many Republicans insisted. Love that double standard.

Just out of curiosity, is going missing for a year from your Texas Air National Guard assignment a legal alternative to service?

posted by George_Spiggott at 12:25 AM on October 27, 2002


Today's protestors are either too stupid to see the strength of our enemies, or they are our enemies

Yes, godless communists, all of them.

No doubt, the Vietnam War was a great idea. There's thousands of reasons to justify it.

Estimates are that the Washington march was 100k, the San Fran one 50k. Were a good portion of them the usual bunch of anti-WTO Seattle-style yahoos? Certainly. But some of them were also folks like myself who totally support the ongoing operation in Afghanistan, but see the link between Hussein and 9-11 as the "the guy who tried to kill my dad" military action.
posted by owillis at 1:28 AM on October 27, 2002


It's unfortunate that an anti-war movement, at a time when we need an anti-war movement, is saddled with the self-appointed and leadership-challenged Jesse Jackson

It's no help that the pro-war movement is saddled with the self-appointed and leadership challenged George W. Bush.

There weren't 100K of people in Washington, more like 50K

There were a good 750,000 people in DC today, if it's my word against yours.

Were you in DC, Oliver?
posted by sudama at 1:48 AM on October 27, 2002


Well, perhaps they are representing the millions who did not participate because they do not oppose war with Iraq.

Sure; they deserve representation. But it's important to remember that today's protestors were not the bulk of the anti-war-in-Iraq movement. Many opponents of the war dislike ANSWER's aims, couldn't afford the trip, or are regular working folks and parents who couldn't leave home for a day or two. I was at a small (60-70 people) rally in Hartford today. For every middle finger or thumbs down passing drivers gave us, at least five would flash a thumbs up or peace sign, honk, or wave and yell encouragement. Even if you assume that every car that didn't respond to us was pro-war, about 300 opponents of the war passed us in two hours at a moderately busy intersection.

You'd do a lot better lobbying Congress to not invade Iraq. Oops. I forgot: you lost that one.

So because we lost one battle, we should acknowledge defeat in the whole war? Oh, yeah, there's the American spirit!

Today's protestors are either too stupid...

You mean like the Yale, Oberlin, Wesleyan, and Columbia students I keep seeing at events?

Yes, godless communists, all of them.

Especially that AFSC. Damn athiest pinko Quakers.
posted by hippugeek at 1:17 AM on October 27, 2002


Photos of the San Francisco Peace Rally can be seen at: http://www.jackspace.com/gallery/20021026_sf_stop_iraq_war_rally

Here are some images from the peace rally here in San Francisco. There's been little to no corporate media coverage. Estimates from most sources say there were over 42,000 people at the rally. People were incredibly nice and actually festive. There were people from all walks of life in attendance. Downtown traffic was for the most part completely halted. It was still going quite strong by the time we left the Civic Center area around 4pm. Nevertheless, the local television stations had only a few camera trucks at the Civic Center. We didn't see any TV cameras before we arrived there. The only coverage I saw took all of fifteen seconds. If you depended solely upon these stations to give you an idea of what happened in San Francisco today, you would think nothing went on here.
posted by jackspace at 1:20 AM on October 27, 2002


Ack! My comment time-jumped--it was supposed to go after owillis', hence my quoting him.

And sudama, you're actually quoting ParisParamus there, not owillis. (Unless PP is also Oliver in the outside world, in which case forget I said anything.)
posted by hippugeek at 1:26 AM on October 27, 2002


Nope.
posted by owillis at 1:27 AM on October 27, 2002


You mean Jim Jeffords switched parties last year *for nothing*?

I belive he switched for a Chairmanship, you know "scratch my back, I'll scratch your..."
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 1:58 AM on October 27, 2002


"the guy who tried to kill my dad" military action

I hear you, but although Hussein is a nasty totalitarian dictator worthy of nothing but scorn and distrust, the fact that his regime was actually responsible for an assination attempt on the senior Bush does not instill some feelings of unease in you?

I mean, just because it's Bush's dad, military action against a brutal savage is wrong?

Please think again owillis.
posted by hama7 at 4:45 AM on October 27, 2002


anti-WTO Seattle-style yahoos
you perpetuate a falsehood, owillis (which, i might add, makes you a willing tool of the deaf, dumb, and blind news distribution and cleansing system extant in this nation). there were thousands of trade union members participating in seattle. and we all know what a bunch of whacked-out protest-freaks THEY are. stop spreading The Lie.
posted by quonsar at 5:27 AM on October 27, 2002


"Elle a chaud au cul."
posted by The Jesse Helms at 7:04 AM on October 27, 2002


Why is no lawmaker stepping up to represent this constituency?

Uhhhhh ... Paul Wellstone?
posted by tpoh.org at 7:26 AM on October 27, 2002


Congressman McDermott is in Washington state. Some photos of march there -
http://www.idixon.com/pages/recent01.html

dixon
posted by idixon at 7:41 AM on October 27, 2002


"to stop idiotic warfare involving U.S. citizen-soldiers."

so many oxymoron MR. I'm surprised. I know your passionate about the issue but come on.

It's a new ball game, and Cheney has to be aware that he's starting from a much weaker position than the executive branch (i.e., JFK) that first got us heavily involved in Vietnam.

are you saying that Bush is "starting" this war (which no war has started...yet) from a weaker position then JFK? How so, Eisenhower sent in 'advisors'. We already have 'advisors' in Iraq. care to elaborate?

The protester crowd will skyrocket if there is a draft
there will be no draft unless our forces get nuked or something. and in that event, there will be no time for protesting.

Today's protestors are either too stupid to see the strength of our enemies, or they are our enemies.

I do not like this talk at all. These are our people we are talking about. They have a right to protest/dissent. remember HUAC, the bonus marchers etc. They had legit grievances and it seems most of the real trouble, violence etc., where flamed by communists or whackos(COINETLPRO included) who want to turn peaceful rallies into a bloodbath for what ever reason.

As for "the United States backed a sovereign entity, the Republic of South Vietnam", now who's being ridiculous. the rest may ignore you But I

The "nature of the North Vietnamese"? You mean the people who got rid of our friend Pol Pot after we stood by while he killed a few million if his people?
Pol Pot was not OUR FRIEND, please check on the complexity of the situation, please refer to the Mayaguez Incident. Vietnam was 'united' when they went into Cambodia in 78-79. The KR took power in april 75', so why did vietnam wait so long? Plus China invaded vietnam in 79' in response to Vietnams' invasion as China was Cambodians ally.
IMO, Vietnams invasion was long overdue, they seemed best equipped to deal with the KR. anything to stop the killing, but a majority of the killing had already took place by 79'. I do not apologize of the U.S. postion, we abandoned these people and the only thing we can do is help rebuild Cambodia from the mess we helped create.

(the jesse helms cracks me up:)
posted by clavdivs at 8:23 AM on October 27, 2002


I belive he switched for a Chairmanship, you know "scratch my back, I'll scratch your..."

Ass? Little toe? Right ventricle? What?

Let's let Jeffords speak for himself, shall we? But the larger point is made nicely in the Washington Monthly article. This country couldn't be more obviously split down the middle, and yet Democrats are utterly failing to warn most moderate Americans of the government they'd get if Republicans win both the House and Senate:

"If every judge Bush had nominated by April was confirmed tomorrow," notes Elliot Mincberg, vice-president of People for the American Way, "there would be Republican majorities on 10 of the 13 circuits in the land. Given current projections for retirement, by the end of 2004, a Republican president and Senate could easily have appointed a majority to every federal circuit court in the country." Tax cuts can be repealed. But judges serve for life.

This vision would rightly alarm any right-thinking Democrat--and the great majority of independent voters, as well. It's a threat that is real, that won't go away, and that plays in every swing district in America. But not a single Democrat has bothered to explain the dangers of GOP one-party rule on the campaign trail, in a major speech, or in Congress itself. Why?

posted by mediareport at 9:04 AM on October 27, 2002


Holy cow. You mean Jim Jeffords switched parties last year *for nothing*?

Try reading the next paragraph in the post you responded to.

Majority and minority both have some set of changes they want to the status quo.

The minority is unlikely to see theirs -- so, yes, things change when Jeffords flipped and a lot of things suddenly went off the table.

The majority is also unlikely to see theirs, since, to a first approximation, any senator can veto any bill unless it has a 60/40 majority to invoke cloture.

If the Republicans get the Senate, yes, it means that Democratic initiatives are dead in the water. It does NOT mean that Republican ones have an automatic go-ahead. It does not mean that the backlog of judgeships just goes away, it does not mean that Byrd rolls over and plays dead (unless they promise to rename Iraq after him), it does not mean that Bush gets what he wants.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:01 AM on October 27, 2002


The New York Times interesting article today featuring some rare, unmonitored interviews with Iraqis:

What the Iraqi people would like to hang on their walls would be
banners saying, `Yes, yes, Mr. Bush. Yes, yes, America.' There are 22
million Iraqis, and every one of them has 100 stories to tell of their
suffering under Saddam.
posted by adamsc at 1:19 PM on October 27, 2002


"two shirtless women, walking arm-in-arm"

For those of you who had issues with this, try substituting men for women in that sentence.

"two shirtless men, walking arm-in-arm"

Yup, definately a bunch of fringe wackos.
posted by kayjay at 1:34 PM on October 27, 2002


yet Democrats are utterly failing to warn most moderate Americans of the government they'd get if Republicans win both the House and Senate

Or how about the government they'd get if the Democrats win both the House and Senate...

You give little credit to the DNC... They must not see it the seeit that way, or if they are in inept as you say, then they deserve what they get...
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 1:37 PM on October 27, 2002


"If every judge Bush had nominated by April was confirmed tomorrow," notes Elliot Mincberg, vice-president of People for the American Way, "there would be Republican majorities on 10 of the 13 circuits in the land."

So is it OK if instead there were Democratic majorities on 10 of the 13 circuits? Would that not alarm right-thinking Democrat and the great majority of independent voters
posted by gyc at 2:01 PM on October 27, 2002


They must not see it the seeit that way

What the hell was I doing?
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 2:52 PM on October 27, 2002


The DC demographic was unusual- a rather large number of participants were over 50 or 60 years old, a few white guys in suits, suburbanite looking couples, an old lady with a walker, a variety of ethnicities, lots of handmade individual signs rather than organized groups. In short this crowd wasn't only "all the usual suspects," but also represented a rather diverse cross-section that was not easy to identify. Perhaps all DC marches are like this, but somehow I doubt it. My conclusion is that it may be difficult to determine the public sentiment on Iraq by their fashion statements and demographic data. Some participants weren't criticizing war on Iraq per se, but rather the doctrine of pre-emptive war ... Data crunching via all those surveillance cameras may yield some unanticipated results.
posted by sheauga at 3:15 PM on October 27, 2002


I was at work in SF in my office overlooking Civic Center plaza and there were a huge, enormous mess of people there. I really wanted to go join them, but alas I have to work. :(
I'm glad there were protests-not that Bush would care, as he, as so many on MeFi classify anyone who protests as "fringe wackos" rather than acually listening to what the people have to say and finding out who they really are.

As for the Democratic leadership, I don't think there is much there anymore. Hell, Dianne Feinstein even voted for that asinine bill giving all the power to Bush! And most of her constituants were against it! It terrifies me to think of the Republicans in control of everything. Just terrifying. But the Democrats are just frickin silent about it and it's killing me.
posted by aacheson at 3:53 PM on October 27, 2002


As for the Democratic leadership, I don't think there is much there anymore.

Yep. On Thursday, The Note, ABC News' great, in-depth political blog, called Dems "the arguably leaderless Democratic Party." Well-said.

Btw, any political junkie who hasn't been reading The Note should start immediately. It's smart, informed and cynical without being unduly snarky - great stuff. They don't update the archive daily, for some stupid reason, but you can get each post (usually 4-5 a week) by changing the date in any archived entry's URL.
posted by mediareport at 4:59 PM on October 27, 2002


I found the SF protest to be the diverse cross-section sheauga experienced in DC. I didn't see anyone that gave me the impression of someone protesting for the sake of protesting; a sense that I've had of some at other such events. (None of which were nearly so massive.)

aacheson, you didn't happen to take any pictures from your office, did you? I was hoping intensely that there would be top-down photos in the press, but haven't found any.
posted by brantstrand at 7:31 PM on October 27, 2002


Lawmakers Respond to voters. Maybe if there was an actual voting constituency out there vocally protesting this potential war Congress might act a little differently. Maybe the protest figures were just exaggerated. Why is it if these protests are so large that our elected "leadership" is so far in the opposite direction? Either the protestors are far fewer in number than reported, they don't go to the polls or there's something terribly fishy going on. From what I've seen with my own two eyes, I'd have to go with the first two in combination, there really aren't that many protesters AND they don't bother to vote. When the Shriners had a rally on the mall two weeks ago, they stopped traffic, set up bandstands and filled the streets with their tiny cars and fez hats. I was half an hour late to work, and they weren't even protesting anything!

Please prove me wrong. I am a DC resident. I have no voting representation in Congress, most of you Americans do, so PLEASE, I'm begging you, PLEASE go vote and if you don't then please don't come and break windows in my town, you're only discrediting your own worthy causes.

By the way it was during the Ike Administration that GIs started getting greased in Vietnam and it was more the financial toll that continuing the war was putting on our country that got the administrations worried about going on, not really the (once again) non-voting protestors (if they had been voting do you really think that Nixon would have ever been President, or further, a two termer?).
posted by Pollomacho at 9:20 AM on October 28, 2002


Maybe if there was an actual voting constituency out there vocally protesting this potential war Congress might act a little differently.

That's a bizarre way of putting it. U.S. House Rep David Price co-sponsored an alternative bill on Iraq and voted against Bush's resolution. I think obvious voters like these - 300 strong outside his Chapel Hill office in early October - probably had just a leeetle something to do with that.

it was during the Ike Administration that GIs started getting greased in Vietnam

The death of two U.S. military advisors in 1959 is hardly relevant to the point I made above, Pollomacho: that it was JFK who "first got us heavily involved in Vietnam." Hell, JFK authorized the creation of the Green Berets in 1961 specifically for counterinsurgency ops in Vietnam. This Veterans site's timeline demonstrates the point well:

12 Feb 55 - President Eisenhower's administration sends the first U.S. advisers to South Vietnam to train the South Vietnamese Army

5 Sep 56 - President Eisenhower tells a news conference that the French are "involved in a hopelessly losing war in Indochina"

8 July 59 - Two Americans are killed and one wounded during a Viet Minh attack 20 miles north of Saigon

13 May 61 - President Kennedy orders 100 "special forces" troops to S. Vietnam

11 Dec 61 - U.S. aircraft carrier "Core" arrives in Saigon with 33 helicopters and 400 air and ground crewmen assigned to operate them for S. Vietnam

22 Dec 61 - SP4 James Davis of Livingston, Tennessee killed by Viet Cong (VC) later called by President Johnson "The first American to fall in defense of our freedom in Vietnam"

15 May 62 - President Kennedy orders an immediate build-up of US troops in Thailand to a total of 5,000 due to Communist attacks in Laos and movement toward the Thailand border

By the end of 1962, there were over 10,000 U.S. troops in Vietnam proper. I don't see how anyone who knows the history can deny that Kennedy was the President who began the U.S. escalation.

it was more the financial toll that continuing the war was putting on our country that got the administrations worried about going on, not really the (once again) non-voting protestors

Evidence, please. I say the formulation above is absurd.
posted by mediareport at 11:57 AM on October 28, 2002


Make that absurd.
posted by mediareport at 11:59 AM on October 28, 2002


It's about marching in the street and yelling.

Frankly, protests are nice media fodder but even when you use numbers like 100,000 in the story, it still has NOTHING to do with the will of the people as a whole. A protest such as this displayed the will of one group of people and does not reflect general public opinion in any way. I'd think that you'd have more effect writing your congressman or, even better, showing up for his meetings with the local constituency or stopping by one of his local offices and speaking with aides. But, whether you like it or not, the second you do it as an organized mob you generally LOOSE credibility and you really don't effectively display that your cause has more support - you simply display that you have a mob.
posted by RevGreg at 2:04 PM on October 28, 2002


Both have their place, RevGreg. BBC isn't going to report on me attending a meeting with my congressmen. I know that there's widespread popular opposition to unilateral US war on Iraq in the UK and Italy because of the huge protests that went on there. Any reporting I've seen of the man-on-the-street's opinion in those places has been because that man was in the street at a large scale protest.

It may have nothing to do with the will of the people as a whole but then again, it just may. If you listen to what sheauga and I are saying--that DC & SF both seemed very diverse--then the will of the people might have been represented. To further my own point, I saw old, young, families, college kids, various ethnicities, guys with signs that said "Republicans for Peace", another with "West Point Grads for Peace, and so on. No one should dismiss it as "one group of people".
posted by brantstrand at 7:15 PM on October 28, 2002


No one should dismiss it as "one group of people".

The apparent diversity of the group has no bearing on it's representation of the society as a whole. It still was a group which represents an single, insular viewpoint and that alone makes it not representative of the population as a whole. Frankly, observation of a crowd such as this is a somewhat less than scientific method of polling - and the scientific polls do not agree with your observations.

BBC isn't going to report on me attending a meeting with my congressmen.

The BBS also isn't voting in the US Congress. The proper way for representative democracy to work is for the elected to represent their particular constituency. My congresspersons should vote the general will of the people in their district, not the views of the BBC or some mob in San Francisco. According to both Senators from my state and my local Representative their constituency is solidly behind war. I think the system is working fine.
posted by RevGreg at 10:54 PM on October 28, 2002


You're missing a key point, RevGreg - the effect on the folks watching at home of images of boisterous, nonviolent protests. Modern corporate industrial society is, I think, very effective at isolating us from one another - and from our own gut instincts. It's thus very easy for us to begin believing we're in the minority (say, in opposing a unilateral U.S. invasion of Iraq), particularly when all the corporate talking heads on TV are staunchly on the opposite side. If we don't see images or hear sounds that contradict our self-doubts - which I feel are routinely heightened by the culture of commercial lies that surrounds us, but that's a side point, really - many of us sink back into a kind of fearful but relatively comfortable silence.

The potential effect on that mindset of seeing smart, angry protestors in the streets really can't be underestimated.
posted by mediareport at 1:11 AM on October 29, 2002


Modern corporate industrial society is I think, very effective at isolating us from one another - and from our own gut instincts. It's thus very easy for us to begin believing we're in the minority

So you think that people were less isolated 100 years ago, when all they had fro news was a couple of newspaper if they were lucky (yellow journalism?), and none of the communications tools that we have (MeFi as an example)?

I find that hard to belive. I think people are more in touch with people that share the same beliefs as them, more than ever before.
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 1:32 AM on October 29, 2002


Wow, where'd you manage to find 300 anti-war protesters in a college town? I'm sure that makes the boys up here on the Hill quake and think about their fizzling reelection possibilities. If the will of North Carolina is towards some peaceful resolution, then how can you be represented by a freak like Jesse Helms? Doesn't it seem odd that if there is such a vast movement that the only way to get rid of guys like Jesse is for them to retire? By the way the Hon. David Price also co-sponsored house resolution 57 "recognizing and honoring Dale Earnhardt" and H.Con.Res.466 "Recognizing the significance of bread in American history, culture, and daily diet" I guess those 230 Nascar loving Bakers that marched in chapel Hill had him a little scared too! Of course it was the Hastert-Gephardt Resolution that made it through the house and not the Spratt Alternative Resolution (co-authored by Price not co-sponsored), further demonstrating that those opposed to war in Iraq have not voted in significant enough numbers to sway us from this course no matter how many people with megaphones stood on the side of the road in one fairly liberal district who's representative is far enough to the left that 300 people would have very leetle indeed to do with convincing him to vote nay anyway. So, like I said, please, PLEASE, go vote, get your 300 buddies to show up too, have them get 300 of their buddies, PLEASE! I agree with you on the issues, I just can't stand the methods, particularly when its a bunch of sound and fury. Is there any reason why my city got the shit ripped out of it at the 2000 IMF Anti-globalization protests, the Free Tibet rallies, the Nader-LaDuke rallies and then anti-globalization gets less than 5% at the polls? It does not help. It makes people who work hard here angry and when I actually do go to the polls, I think twice, "do I want the jerks who ripped up my town or the quiet conservative guys with the nice suits and the catch phrases like 'compassionate conservatism'" But I pull the lever anyway for the guys that incite vandals on my block year after year, but never win. Now like I said, I don't have any representation in Congress, so you all have to go out and get some decent folks in there by VOTING, not waving signs by the side of the road.
posted by Pollomacho at 8:33 AM on October 29, 2002


The potential effect on that mindset of seeing smart, angry protestors in the streets really can't be underestimated.

...which, in many cases, produces as much backlash as it does positive movement.
posted by RevGreg at 3:52 PM on October 29, 2002


Speak for yourself and yourself only, you tired old coward. Just because you lack courage and pride doesn't mean the rest of the nation does, thank God. While your young friends head for the border, mine will shave their heads and stand a post so you can continue to belittle and condemn them. War is a terrible thing, but not the worst of things...

Anytime you want to compare military service records, do let me know. And it's odd that you know how to reach me personally for these personal name-calling tantrums of yours, but yet you've never once taken advantage of that.
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 2:12 AM on October 31, 2002


As someone who helped organize some anti-Gulf War protests in Portland, OR. I'm not sure how much effect these marches have (other than making commuters irate). At our very first march we had more protesters in attendance than the largest march in the pacific northwest during the whole Vietnam War era. Every subsequent march drew larger and larger numbers (with the exception of a few small 'student' led events). Still, no tangible result came from the organizing. All I noticed was a growing distance between the far right and the far left and a growing feeling of powerlessness from all sides.

What I learned from that experience is that change comes from meetings of small groups with opposing views and lots of mutual education about the positions each side holds. I think these marches would be more effective if they broke up into groups of 5-10 and arranged workshops with hawkish groups of the same size. 100,000 small meetings going on around Washington DC would stand a better chance of making a difference.
posted by IndigoSkye at 6:25 PM on November 1, 2002


« Older Zippetty Hop!   |   Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post