Sunday, January 28, 2007

March in Washington

Yesterday, I participated in the Rally/March against the Iraq War. It's really only the second March I've participated in. The first one was the March for Women's Lives in 2004. So, it's been two and a half years since my last one.

There were a couple of differences. First, the dynamic was different. The March for Women's Lives was much larger and much more professionally done. Given, they had more time and a larger budget with with to stage such a large event. They had about a million people. If I had to guess, there were about a hundred thousand at the march yesterday. And, that is a great turnout. I don't mean to compare the turnout for the two. Yesterday's march was organized on a shoestring budget by a handful of dedicated activists in the span of a few weeks. By all accounts, it was a huge success.

But, I want to say a couple things about it. First, it was definitely full of speakers from the far left. Maybe the middle left folks weren't invited to speak. There has been some criticism that no Senators showed up and only six or so Members of Congress. But, at the same time, the speakers included some clearly anti-Israel folks. That threw me for a loop. I know we're largely pro-Israel in this country and there is probably a lack of point of view from the Palestinian side. But, to give a prominent speaking voice to someone so clearly anti-Israel bothers me. I just wanted to say that.

I'm a novice at anti-war demonstrations and will probably remain a novice. Hopefully, anyway. But, I think it's a bad idea to let smack be talked about Israel unless you're going to allow someone to talk about all the grievances that they have against the Palestinians. Then 'bout we just let the discourse remain on how America is involved in a war we have no business being in? That's probably a better idea.

The criticism being said, I had a great time. The most striking thing that I noticed was the diversity of people present. Young and old, rich and poor, all kinds of races and cultures, and liberals and moderates. Heck, maybe there were even a few Republicans present! (I did see a fur coat!) These are the faces of our progressive movement. We are like herding cats, yet we always manage to come together for a cause. Not everyone there had the same opinions on the war. We didn't all agree with every speaker. But, we all agree on one thing. We need a change of course on Iraq policy.

Do you realize we went from "Stay the course" to "Democrats are cut and run"? The Bush Administration has put more thought into rhetoric than actual strategic policy. How awful is that?


Thomas Mc. said...

I understand the feeling, that the issues are being confused. After all, the war is in Iraq, not Palestine. But, on the other hand, the Palestinian issue is what is keeping the entire Arab world enraged. And there are many who feel, as I do, that it was Israel that pushed us into this war, and is now trying to push us into another war, in Iran.

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