Sunday, March 19, 2006

Anti-War Protests So So, as Expected

From the
Salt Lake Tribune:

The protests, like those held to mark each of the two previous anniversaries of the March 2003 invasion, were vigorous and peaceful but far smaller than the large-scale marches that preceded the war. . .

And here, in Fayetteville North Carolina, the Fayetteville Observer reported on the diminished anti-war effort's showing:

Last year, as many as 4,000 demonstrators crowded into the park. Police put this year’s attendance at no more than 1,000. The turnout was smaller this year because of other peace rallies across the country, organizers said. Last year’s event also was held in conjunction with national meetings of several anti-war groups in town. Counterdemonstrators numbered about 200 last year.

The photo above is a pic of demonstrators marching in front of the Airborne and Special Operations Museum, which is located on Hay Street in downtown Fayetteville. It is the keystone of the downtown revitalization project and definitely worth a look if you ever happen to find yourself in town. There's a few good restaurants and a coffee shop a stone's throw from the place too, by the way. Hopefully the protests drummed up some extra business for the shopkeepers downtown this year. . .

The ineffectiveness and sparse attendance of these protests are in line with the theory I advanced in a previous post: Protesting is cathartic for those involved, but actually does little to advance a given cause. Protestors, after an act of disobedience, feel like they have taken action, taken a risk, got out there and said something that had to be said. In truth, however, American society has become conditioned to accept that there are going to be people on the greens or in the plazas of our cities protesting something, anything, and most Americans really don't give them a second thought. So while a stand may be taken when placards are lifted and guest speakers take the stage, in reality the cause never truly advances. Keep at it though, don't let those feelings stay bottled up for too long. . .

Post Script: A commenter at Gateway Pundit suggested that the protests had light attendance due to the fact that the majority of Americans already disagree with the War; this is counterintuitive, actually.

If the majority of Americans disagree with the war, than they should be extremely dissatisfied with the political system, since politicians in both parties have continued the funding and execution of Operation Iraqi Freedom for three years now. In contrary to the commenter's post, this is typically a time when people would come together and organize acts of civil disobedience, since the system offers no satisfaction. The fact that they are not could mean a variety of things. Most likely, it could be contributed to the fact that the majority of politically active American people are uneasy about the war due to expectations they had for OIF compared to recent military actions elsewhere (Afghanistan, Kosovo, Haiti, Desert Storm, etc), along with the added uncertainty of a seemingly open-ended, expensive commitment that the Iraq War seems to be; this is in contrast to what are arguably
extreme views espoused by some of the so called mainstream protest groups, who use invoke themes like illegality, war crimes, etc, in their manifestos and calls to action. The uneasy American center is not aligned with this group, so they choose not to participate in acts of civil disobedience with them, either.

Of course, judging by the political apathy of a large portion of American society at election time, an equal number of people don't get out in the streets because they don't want to miss the NCAA Basketball Finals, or the new season of Surreal Life on VH-1. Just a theory, though.

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