Notes on the Atrocities
Like a 100-watt radio station, broadcasting to the dozens...

Wednesday, March 26, 2003  

"Protest marches, like petitions, are exercises in futility."

That wisdom comes from Harley Sorensen of the San Francisco Chronicle. He elaborates:

"What person in his or her right mind actually believes a man like George W. Bush will change his views on the basis of a peace march, no matter how huge?

"The history of the Vietnam War shows clearly how ineffective protests are. No other war in American history had as many active opponents, and no other war lasted as long."

As a rebuttal, let me offer an example from our own little corner of the world. Here in Portland, we have a healthy (though under-celebrated) protest corps. But the local paper is center-right: it urged readers to vote Bush and it supports the war. Early articles were decidedly negative about the protesters. Not, I think, intentionally; everyone was in shock about the war, and for those with traditional, support-our-troop views, the early, loud protests were unseemly. But the protests continued every day, and increasingly, the discussion about the war and protests has changed. Listen:

"From bridges or helicopters, they blend into indistinguishable masses. Up close, they are of all ages, and they come from a wide spectrum of backgrounds and beliefs. They are united, however, in one thing: They all oppose the war in Iraq."

The local paper decided to give the protesters a fair shake, and the results are remarkable. For 24 hours, a reporter and photographer followed the protesters and wrote a wonderful piece about their lives and their views. Read it here.

It humanizes and gives voice to the anti-war movement. Much like the dozens of soldier profiles the media prepares, this one paints a sympathetic portrait of Americans with strong, patriotic views. I think it would be impossible to read it and not feel inspired by their voices.

posted by Jeff | 10:56 AM |
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