Hogan Zeroes

Wednesday, September 28, 2005


March, My Words

It turns out I was wrong (see two posts down) in specifics but not wholly wrong in general about the anti-Iraq war march in Washington last Saturday. The noxious pro-Palestinian signs were not there, thank goodness. There was a hackneyed "X dies/Y lies" rhyme but that's to be expected. And the new "Make levees not war" is clever. And not too much pro-Chavez stuff. On the other hand, openly pro-Communist stuff (explicitly so) floated about; a non-ANSWER type organizer later bemoaned to me that every type had to show up.

I was a fellow-traveler (of the march not Communism). For a few minutes downtown I walked alongside the demonstrators, in agreement with their goals on Iraq but not their world view. I walked past the counterprotesters who were too busy baiting the marchers for a serious discussion. A person or two among the counterprotestors was painted and decked out in red white and blue in a way that would be as offensive as flag-burning when done by the other side.

But here's what struck me. The counterprotestors, the mostly normal-looking ones (which were most of them), had American flags, while precious few American flags were in the anti-war march. For those of us who may have non-conformist opinions but conventional political esthetics, and even an old-fashioned patriotism, stuff like that is very noticeable.

More important was the fact that ultimately this was not an anti-Iraq rally or even an anti-war rally. It was just an anti-Bush rally, with Iraq as the accusation du jour. One cannot help but think that for many demonstrators their real problem with the war is not the American life, limb or resources lost, or the Iraqi lives destroyed and disrupted, or the falsehoods advanced to justify it, but simply that all that carnage was initiated by the loathed personage of George W Bush. And looking at the demonstrators one could feel that, for at least a great many, they hate Bush primarily because he simply reminds them of some jock/religious-devotee/fratboy/whiteguy/rich-kid who made them feel like rejects for being a hippie/woman/gay/minority/nerd/working-class-person, etc. And that's a dumb reason and way to fight a dumb war.

UPDATE, SORT OF:

Eugene Robinson of the Washington Post, in a column I have only in hard copy, shows what I mean in a way. He harangues the White House for not taking note of the import of the antiwar movement, and compares the current administration to the White House of Johnson failing in Vietnam to notice the protest songs. Then Robinson adds "did everybody in this administration spend the whole Vietnam era listening to Pat Boone or whatever it was they grooved to in the frat houses?"

And did Mr. Robinson spend the '60s in an Afro listening to James Brown in the 'hood?

Maybe there could be a stereotype competition. Sheesh.

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