We Shall Underwhelm
By: Thomas Lindaman
On the third anniversary of the Iraq War starting, people opposed to the war took the opportunity to once again tell the world just how wrong we were to start the war in the first place. But this year was different than last year. Oh, I’m sure some of the same people who came out last year were there, but this year there were fewer people. I’m not talking a drop off of a couple of people, either. The protest in New York City garnered a whopping 200 protestors. By contrast, 300 people gathered outside of the Naval Observatory, where Vice President Dick Cheney lives, and 200 protestors gathered in Salt Lake City, but only after a protestor text messaged friends to show up.
Boy, how the mighty irrelevant have fallen.
To hear Democrats and liberals talk about it, the anti-war movement is finally reaching the average person, as evidenced by President George W. Bush’s approval ratings, which hover between 30% at the high end and a percentage that equals the Fahrenheit equivalent of absolute zero, depending on the poll. Other polling data shows a majority of Americans now think Iraq was a mistake and we need to withdraw troops immediately.
Ah, but there’s the rub. It’s one thing to respond to a poll question, but it’s another to actually act on how you responded to the poll question. The poll numbers may be down for Bush, but it’s not translating into more people protesting the war. If the anti-war movement’s message is “finally reaching the people” there should have been more people out there along with the handful of protestors. Not to mention, the actual attendance of these anti-war protests has declined since the protests on the first anniversary of the Iraq War.
So, if the message is getting to the people, why aren’t they picking up protest signs and marching? It’s simple, really. The anti-war movement has not done a good job in making people believe that their cause is just, or at least just enough to make us break our routines to take part in the festivities. Today, Americans are pretty much slugs with cell phones. We get more fired up for “American Idol” than we do for any protest march. This is not to say there aren’t people out there who do have the gumption to try to affect change in our foreign policy by painting themselves Day-Glo orange and holding a sign showing a picture of Adolf Hitler and George W. Bush shaking hands and smiling. But stick a rainbow wig onto that protestor’s head and take away the sign and you’d get someone rooting for the Syracuse Orangemen in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.
Also, there are no real leaders of the anti-war movement right now. From what I’ve seen in the news and on television, the protestors aren’t that many and they aren’t that organized. The very fact that the anti-war movement couldn’t muster more than 200 people in New York City is a testament to just how haphazard an affair the anti-war movement has been these days.
And the only “face” as it were to come from the anti-war movement so far has been Cindy Sheehan, a woman who has made a cottage industry out of being a “grieving mother.” A book deal, a movie starring Susan Sarandon, and trips around the Western Hemisphere to offer such wisdom on world events as “George W. Bush was behind 9/11″ and “Israel killed my son.” Don’t be surprised if there isn’t a “George W. Bush killed my son and all I got was this lousy t-shirt” line, a reality TV show, and a board game in the works.
But here’s the thing. Cindy isn’t helping the anti-war movement gain new followers. For that matter, can anyone point to anything she’s done that has affected the landscape? Raised awareness about the war? Please. The media have been doing that since day one of the Iraq invasion. Shown bravery by standing up to the Bush Administration? Sorry, but there were others who were doing that well before Cindy-Come-Lately appeared on the scene. In fact, since she’s come onto the scene, the anti-war movement has lost a lot of momentum. A possible explanation for this is that most people don’t want to be associated with her for any number of reasons, ranging from their disapproval of her position to not wanting to spend a Texas summer in a ditch.
If present trends continue, the anti-war movement will eventually find itself sitting with Justin Guarini on the deck of the U. S. S. Irrelevant sipping umbrella drinks and wondering what happened. But it didn’t have to happen. There are logical and sensible arguments to be made by the anti-war side, but they’re getting drowned out in a cacophony of political shrillness that is more anti-Bush than anti-war. Saying “Bush Sucks” or “George W. Hitler” isn’t going to bring the troops home any
sooner, nor will it make the insurgents in Iraq say, “You know, maybe we should stop shooting at Americans.” The Bush approach, though far from perfect, is the best one out there so far.
So, if you’re really anti-war, stop protesting and come up with a better alternative. It will be energy far better spent.
Thomas Lindaman is a Staff Writer for the New Media Alliance, Inc. The New Media Alliance is a non-profit (501c3) national coalition of writers, journalists and grass-roots media outlets. He is also Publisher of CommonConservative.com.