Has the essence of America, its very nature, changed from benign democracy to imperium? Why do such majorities across the water fear and despise this administration? Too much piety, triumphal arrogance?...
How many times do we have to indulge the same idiocies for which we must later be ashamed?
-- Arthur Miller, in Sunday’s New York Times
I sent my emails, doing my part of the Virtual March on Washington, fully understanding that email is incredibly easy to ignore. I’m just hoping the vast numbers aren’t. I’ll report back later today on the response in the media, etc.
When I first posted information on the Virtual March, I got some rather heated messages from Right Wing noders complaining about my rhetoric, but it was only when dem bones chimed in and asked if I wasn’t flamebaiting that I gave it serious thought. (Conversing with dem bones had an odd, calming feel to it, like chatting with a benevolent Yahweh.) He pointed out that a majority of Americans supported military action; I pointed out that a majority also supported U. N. approval, which the Bush administration has openly stated is unnecessary. He asked me if I couldn’t tone down the rhetoric, and I honestly thought about it, but in view of the level of rhetoric that the Right exploits, in nasty ways, every day, I couldn’t bring myself to retract a few provocative statements that were based in fact and tucked in at the end. I believe that the Right counts on good, polite Leftists silently shaking their heads in dismay at their antics, and reacts with an almost rabid vitriol when we speak up, in the hopes that they can shout us down with their nastiness. As I told dembones, I’m a Buddhist by practice, but a loud-mouthed brawling East Coast Irish Catholic by nature and nuture. It goes against the grain to sit down in the face of a bully, whether it hurts me or not. (Keep in mind, this was dem bones I was talking to, and I fully expected him to nuke my w/u. He did the opposite, and insured that it, and Noung's opposing rant, would remain. And my very positive experience talking to him left me eager to get back to my artsy fartsy noding. Indeed, I’m sure most of us on the Left are eager to get back to our quiet little artsy-fartsy lives, but that doesn’t look like it’s going to happen any time soon.)
As a stay-at-home dad, I mostly... stay at home. This Virtual March, easy to pooh-pooh for more outgoing activists, is something I can do. Am I discouraged by the quieting of the anti-war effort over the last week?
Yes. But I also believe that much has been done to shake the wrong-headed resolve of the Bush Administration.
Do I believe war is inevitable?
Do I believe it is wise to fight the inevitable?
Yes. I believe that sometimes— times like these— it can be the very heartstone of wisdom.
Postscript 1 (9:21 PST): Just went to MoveOn's Online Virtual March Headquarters http://www.moveon.org/onlinehq/index_04.html They say the call count is 170,744 at this moment and going up like gangbusters every minute. Whether yer fer this thing or agin' it, I highly recommend checking out this site. It's really pretty frickin' cool.
Postscript 2 (13:35 PST):
This from The New York Times: The Mall was quiet, but the
switchboard on Capitol Hill was swamped today as anti-war protesters conducted what they called the first "virtual march" on Washington. The organizers, a coalition called Win Without War, said that hundreds of thousands of people were sending messages by email, fax and telephone to the Senate and the White House....
This from Reuters: Hundreds of thousands of opponents of a U.S. war against Iraq called and faxed their senators and the White House on Wednesday in a "virtual march on Washington," jamming many congressional telephone lines for several hours....
Tom Andrews, a former Democratic representative from Maine who is running the organization, said more than 500,000 people had signed up on the Internet to take part and a half a million more were also expected to participate without registering on the group's web site (Moveon.org)....
A Time/CNN poll conducted Feb. 19-20 found 54 percent said the United States should use military action to remove Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. The number was down 5 points from two weeks before and at its lowest level since last November. Thirty eight percent said they were opposed....
This from AP: The office of Sen. Peter Fitzgerald’s, R-Ill., received more than 100 calls an hour from people on both sides of the issue, said Fitzgerald's spokesman, Brian Stoller.
Dismiss it if you will, from either a policy perspective or a logistical one, but the Virtual March on Washington is getting covered by the major press, thus it is working.