Although we protested inevitable war on Iraq a month ago, went again today, this time with a group of other new parents. Had a strange feeling this time that I didn’t have last time — questioning the clarity of mind of some protesters and beginning to realize that my opposition to war is not 100%. More like 90%.
The left is often criticized for knee-jerk politics and irrational, emotional responses. I often resist that description, but today I saw it clearly. So much of the group-think at a protest is expressed in signage, and so much of that signage is really clever / creative / cogent / potent. But there’s also an aspect of it that is so extreme and so clouded. Example: At the last protest I saw one sign that compared the Bush Administration to the Third Reich. Today it seemed that meme was all over the place. I saw dozens of signs accusing the present administration of fascism, attaching swastikas to the foreheads of Bush and henchmen/women.
Listen up: No matter how you feel about the idiocy and dangerousness of the present administration, we are NOT living in a fascist state, and our leaders are NOT engaged in ethnic cleansing. Meanwhile, Hussein IS a fascist and IS (or has been) engaged in ethnic cleansing.
Somehow it just felt harder to connect with the fervor of the protesters today. In part because so many of them damage their own credibility with poor rhetoric and divisive symbolism, and in part because I no longer think this situation is completely cut-and-dried. Some wars are just. Some fascists are evil and must be removed from power. I question how, by what means, at what cost, and under what hidden agenda. What criteria make a war a just war? Just how much more evil would Hussein have to become for most people to say, “OK, take him out. Do what you can to minimize the damage to innocents … just take him out.”
And then a splinter group put a stain on the march.
Didn’t shoot much today, but here a couple that turned my crank.
To clarify: I still feel that, as weblogsky puts it, “American power [has been] hijacked by a minority of individuals with potentially disastrous results from which it may take decades to recover.”