...I'm okay with being REALITY-based.

Sunday, March 23, 2003
      ( 9:04 AM )
Why I envy the Kid Today:
1. He doesnt know what dying means.
2. He has no idea that life can suck.
3. He gets to nap all the time.
4. He finds incredible delight and joy in simply banging on a toy piano.
5. He gets to stay in his pajamas till 10:00 a.m. every morning.
It would be nice to be 10 months old during days like this.

Thoughts on Protesting
I have honestly been trying to consider the point of view that seems to be very pervasive, including the following main ideas: (1) the protests that block streets are equivalent to "violence", (2) now that the war has started, the dissenters should drop their protesting and support the government, and (3) protesters are ignorant and unaware.

(1) I don't understand how people can equate people marching down a street (and yes, blocking traffic) with violence, when at the same time they are inundating themselves with 24-hour viewing of a city being bombed into oblivion. When did all protesters become equivalent with a few black blocks who commit vandalism? I think it most likely has always been that way - like the incredibly pervasive belief that ALL Vietnam war protesters spit on GIs when they came home. I think that people in Northern Ireland or South Africa or Chiapas might beg to differ on what constitutes "violent protest." And don't tell me that our culture is more highly evolved and we can't be compared to those other countries. A culture that consists of 5% of the world's population but consumes 20% of its resources is not highly evolved. When close to a quarter of a million people march in New York City and only 90 or so get arrested, and most of those for simply sitting-in, how can the entire protest be "tainted" by those "few bad apples" (quoting the news commentators)? This can only happen when people fail to have a larger world view and a bigger perspective on things.

(2) Why would people think that just because the threatened invasion has now occurred that people who were against in the first place would suddenly change their minds? And why should they? I don't understand this thinking at all - it assumes that protesters don't have any conviction. Is this what the general public believes? That these people march because they have nothing better to do? Do hundreds of thousands of young people, old people, war veterans, children, doctors, lawyers, students, etc, etc, have no real thought or faith or true belief behind their actions? How can this be so broadly assumed? Is it because they choose to disagree with how the country they live in is representing them to the rest of the world that they are so evil? How about the opposite question: Is it the right thing to just go along with the government no matter what it does, just because it's your government? I think that a few people of significance (like George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams) might disagree.

(3) I can only think that protesters are being called ignorant and unaware because they are not towing the line like the rest of the country. Perhaps the rest of the country (and several cable news commentators that I've seen) convince themselves that the protesters just don't understand and are idiots, because if they aren't, then their blind faith in the government might actually be challenged. I have found that people who are against the war are incredibly informed, by a vast array of sources of information. They actually read and observe information from other sources than the American media. They actually know the history of the country that we are invading. They actually are aware that we have already been bombing that country for 12 years, and that the sanctions we have imposed have led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of children. While they know these things, they also know that Saddam Hussein is a despotic dictator and is a terrible, ongoing threat to his own people. Yet, the same was true of Pinochet, Idi Amin -- and yet, we did not invade. It wasn't convenient. The argument that this invasion will stop another 9/11 from happening is ludicrous, and that the protesters are "for Saddam" is equally ludicrous.

I fear that when we are attacked again by terrorists (who will most likely be religious zealots, and not from the secular Ba'ath Party of Saddam Hussein), that people will wonder what happened and why didn't our invasion work? The people who are protesting aren't arguing for evil to triumph, they are arguing for a broader view. They see beyond the tv war coverage:

I would also like to take a moment to respond to a comment made to one of my posts a few days ago with regard to the protests here in Portland. He said that when protesters block highways, they endanger innocent lives, and that makes them degenerates. ...Thanks for posting your comment - it gives me a chance to show that I don't disrespect you or your point of view. While we are probably worlds apart in our opinions on this matter, I do appreciate that there are two sides to the coin. I do not believe such action actually "endangers innocent lives" because it is a slow-moving action for one, and also surrounded by police at the same time. Blocking a freeway causes people to have to stop and get jammed up in traffic, but not unlike the stops and jams they might encounter when there is an accident. What I'm trying to say is that while I may not personally go out and sit on a street, I feel kinship with people who feel that they have not been heard by their government and thus must take direct action like that. I guess when I hear "endangering innocent lives" in relation to protesters, I think of the innocent lives that are being lost right now on the other side of the world, and I wonder how the two can be equated. But that is only my perspective, and I recognize and understand there are other views on the matter.

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