Saturday, February 15, 2003

Why are they so angry?

I am trying my best not to see any pictures or reports on the protests today, just because I have seen them all before. I saw it personally back in 1990 and 1991. I grew up in a town with a military base (in fact, fighters were scrambled from there on 9-11) and you can imagine that there were a few protests outside the gates. There is actually a rotary off of which the road to the base begins (now that I mentioned rotary, you can all tell which state I am from!) and one day as I drove home from my summer job there they were- the anti-war crowd, with their signs. This was at the time when we were still in the Desert Shield phase, before the war. There were about twenty or so people with signs reading "no blood for oil" and "war is not the answer" and "honk for peace". Of course, I didn't honk and instead went home, grabbed a piece of cradboard from the basement of my parents' house and took out a marker. On it I wrote "STOP SADDAM!" I returned to the rotary and stood opposite from the others. I was met with looks of surprise and shock. I can tell you I received far more thumbs up and horn honks than the others. The reporter who was dispensed to cover the story came over and even asked a few questions. Given my own age, she had assumed that I was in the military (I was 19 at the time). I was not, but I assured her that I had a personal stake in the safety of our troops, as I had a cousin and several friends who were in theater and would eventually be in harm's way. Maybe I didn't make for a compelling story because she ran the bit on the anti-war folks, but not a mention of me!

But back to my story. Just yesterday I caught a bit of some anti-war press conference sort of thing on CSPAN. What I was struck by was just how angry these people were. And I have noticed that on several occasions now and in the past. I think the anger comes from a world that has passed them by. They didn't stop Vietnam; weren't able to get the US out of Central America; haven't toppled capitalism; etc. After such a string of defeats one begins to get bitter, I would think. Listen carefully and you can hear it in their voices and read it in the words they chose.


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