Sunday, September 25, 2005

More People 'Get It' Than I Thought

Yesterday felt like the Sixties and I felt like I was in my twenties. Thousands of people all across America joined together to protest the unlawful and inhumane war in Iraq. The estimates of participants in these demonstrations vary widely (like they did in the Sixties), but even conservative figures show that at least two hundred thousand Americans felt deeply enough about the issue that they were willing to forego college football on television and fall chores to unite with their fellow citizens to do something as American as college football and leaf raking: demonstrate. I was one of them.

I had been teased by another lawyer earlier in the week that I'd be the oldest participant in the march. The judge before whom we were appearing chimed in that I certainly would not be. He was right. The crowd in Los Angeles was as diverse in age, ethnicity, social class, and political stance as the country itself is. From my friends on the internet comes word that this diversity was shown at all the demonstrations, marches, and rallies across the country. Today's media reports confirm that fact.

Even the Los Angeles Times noticed the nature of the crowds spilling out in downtown L.A.

Capping a summer of rising discontent with the war in Iraq, tens of thousands of protesters marched through cities across the nation Saturday to demand the immediate withdrawal of U.S. forces.

Crowds shrugged off chilly rains and breakdowns in public transportation to greet Cindy Sheehan and her traveling antiwar vigil in Washington. In Los Angeles, actors and politicians led a long procession of protesters through downtown. And in San Diego, war veterans were among the thousands who gathered at a peaceful rally at a park. Thousands also protested in London.

Organizers said more than 200,000 people turned out in Washington for the peaceful event, calling it the largest protest in the capital since the war began in March 2003. D.C. Police Chief Charles Ramsey said the group had probably reached its goal of 100,000.

In Los Angeles, police estimated 15,000 people participated in a raucous 1 1/2 -mile march from Olympic Boulevard and Broadway to Los Angeles and Temple streets, where speakers such as actor Martin Sheen and state Sen. Gloria Romero (D-Los Angeles) took to a stage and railed against the Bush administration. Organizers said that as many as 50,000 protesters were on hand.

"This war is ill-conceived, ill-advised and illegal," Sheen said. "The only clear truth about this administration is its dishonesty."

I have heard complaints on the blogs that speakers at the various rallies diluted the intent of the protests by including issues not connected to the war in Iraq, such as Palestine, Leonard Pelletier and Mummia, the World Bank, and so on. They feared that people would be turned off, wouldn't continue to press for a withdrawal from Iraq. I don't think they need to worry.

As I said last night at Eschaton, a quarter of a million and more Americans got off their asses and actually protested against the war. This is amazing and it is important. It gives substance and a bodily presence to the polls showing that a majority of Americans despise this unjust war which was initiated by lies. A quarter of a million Americans just left a mark.

More like this, please.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I disagree. What ever the basis was that we went to war on (dishonest or not), we now have to finish the job in hand. If we pull out early, Iraq will very likely slide into civil war and any positive effects that we have achieved will be undone. Whilst I feel for Mrs Cindy Sheehan's loss, her son made his own mind to join, stay and fight in the military. I believe her anti-war stance is pure grief based and not based on sound reasoning.

If we did pull out, and Iraq did slip into civil war, that part of the world would be come even more unstable and the potential for another dictator (Muqtada al-Sadr) to sieze power would increase. We would be back to square one again having to replay these events in the future. The great western world would then be seen as not only invaders, but also pillagers.

We are there to do a job. Lets do it, give our troops our full backing until then get home, and then question every aspect of our envolvement afterwards holding those people accountable for their bad decisions.

11:01 AM  

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