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    Thursday, September 29, 2005

    Last Weekend's Anti-War Protest

    My partner, A, and I were amazed at the generally un-freak-a-lizing coverage of this past weekend's anti-war protest. Mainstream news outlets like CNN and MSNBC offered perspectives from people who weren't wearing t-shirts campaigning for high office on behalf of parts of their sexual anatomy:

    While united against the war, political beliefs varied. Paul Rutherford, 60, of Vandalia, Mich., said he is a Republican who supported Bush in the last election and still does — except for the war.

    “President Bush needs to admit he made a mistake in the war and bring the troops home, and let’s move on,” Rutherford said. His wife, Judy, 58, called the removal of Saddam Hussein “a noble mission” but said U.S. troops should have left when claims that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction proved unfounded.

    “We found that there were none and yet we still stay there and innocent people are dying daily,” she said.

    While I still don't see such protests as politically effective in this day and age, I have taken part in them and respect the sentiment that draws people to such events, so I am comforted when activists are treated respectfully by the press and are made to look like capable, intelligent, not-rabid representatives of those who share their views (at least to some extent- God help us if the rest of us don't tend toward a bit more nuance). But it was not comforting to conservatives.

    Indepundit links to Tantor's Conservative Propaganda for his pictures of the Saturday March and Rally. Guaranteed to make you cringe. One sad-but-true quote:

    The demonstration was huge. It could well have been a hundred thousand people there. It wasn't really an anti-war protest so much as dozens of protests against everything under the sun all hung on the central theme of hating Bush. That brought out a rather representative slice of the left side of the country. And when they come out in the light, what you see is a freak show.

    I can't help but point out a particularly scary moment in their comments:

    TANTOR says: This commie babe was hawking copies of the "Socialist Worker" for a buck apiece. I told her that I rejected such crass capitalistic exchanges and would prefer to wait until the revolution was complete and all things would be free to the workers. OK, so I was flirting with her a bit. I know, I know, she's a commie and commies are bad, well, worse than bad, pure evil. But she was cute. It kinda looks like she was buying my line of crap, too.
    StinKerr said...I don't blame you for hittin on the commie babe. She might have shown you a new trick. After all, her head is hollow.

    By the way, the Socialist Worker dish appears above left.

    John Leo also rakes them over the coals in US News and World Report:

    When the mainstream press approves of marches and demonstrations, it can't resist gussying them up to make them seem more wholesome than they really are. The Times used to do that with gay pride marches, excising the nasty and crude contingents and the sex-with-children advocates but focusing on the stable and well-dressed gay neighbors next door. The media has a habit of doing the same thing with antiwar rallies. In February 2003, they offered a mainstream motherhood-and-apple-pie image of the marchers. But if you poked around the Internet, you could pick up images that didn't fit the press theme–hate-Israel cards, hammer-and-sickle flags, pictures of Che Guevara, the usual "Bush is Hitler" signs, and the huge banners of the sponsoring Stalinists at ANSWER.

    I think it's a bit extreme to expect first-time activists to know who's who and what's what in the radical Left when all they want to do is go to protest the Iraq War. That said, I hope that this information coming to light will organize new anti-war arms of the movement who are thinking strategically, pragmatically, and inclusively, because I think the ridiculous span of interests Lefties bring to protests actually does damage to our ability to be inclusive; it makes people think, "Wow. If I'm here to protest the war, I also have to be a Socialist, anti-Israeli, secular, Mumia-freeing zealot."


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