There are many distinctions between the antiwar activists of the Vietnam era and those today. In spite of the fact that many today are holdovers from that conflict, and have perennially, since that time, hated all things American, most are the new breed of protester.
The antiwar rally on the Mall in Washington, D.C., on Saturday, March 15, was like a big anti-American infomercial with each speaker giving their web site address, advertising what group they represented, and inviting all within hearing range to come to yet, another rally, for yet another anti-American cause.
It wasn’t surprising that in their rush to condemn America and President Bush, they forgot to mention it was the anniversary of the gassing of thousands of fellow Iraqis by Saddam. The few who lived through the horrors were not invited to speak or give an eyewitness account of the brutality that the tyrant visits upon his “loyal” subjects.
But you can be sure, if one Iraqi is even scratched by the US military, they will be immediately flown in, invested as the anti-war poster child, and paraded through every rally and talk show decrying the evil of President Bush and the United States.
The speeches, or commercials, would hardly convince the casual listener that they could possibly have anything in common with this rag tag group of socialists that never saw a dictator they didn’t love, and a patriotic American they didn’t malign as being a right-wing terrorist. They had apologists for Cuba, Columbia, Nicaragua and several other countries ravaged by communism, drug lords and tyranny. Their icon of irrelevant thought, Ramsey Clark, praised the French people and said even Lafayette and the Statue of Liberty don’t compare to the greatness of the French people today and their courage to stand up against the infidel, George W. Bush.
But, I would like to think that Ramsey Clark loves conservative Republicans, including President Bush, at least as much as he claims he loves the people of Iraq, which he did at the rally on Saturday. Remember Ramsey . . . charity begins at home.
It was cute how they all kept referring to each other as “brother and sister” like they were all going to go home and share a steak together or something. Oh, sorry . . . I mean a slab of tofu. So, the word “Comrade,” the ancient communist term for unity and “solidarity,” (another key word that kept popping up), has been replaced. Since the rest of the world is under the impression that communism is dead, forgetting Cuba, North Korea and China, it is cliché to call a fellow tyrant loving, useful idiot, a “comrade.” How retro can you get?
Years ago, during the Vietnam protests, we were privy only to the carefully gleaned semi-intellectual comments that were woven skillfully into the evening news of the three major TV networks that held the country hostage to their editorial slant and persuasion. There were no opposing views expressed, except at the voting booth that overwhelmingly put Nixon back in office, inspite of the impression that McGovern was the clear choice of “the people.”
Today, there are so many voices, opinions, camcorders and websites that not only report and film every single word, but provide dissection from every possible angle imagined. With CSPAN loyally providing an unvarnished version of the truth, the rest of America is free to shake there collective heads and wonder what rock these protesters crawled out from under.
Then we remember Seattle and DC and the anti-World Bank and IMF marches where violence and mayhem ensued in the name of peace and justice. A whole generation of anarchists chomping at the bit to release their venom against anything that stands for liberty, personal responsibility and civil rights, is delighted to finally have a purpose, a cause celeb. This was their teething ring, preparing them for the hopes of protesting against a President who has the courage to stand firm against attacks that killed 3,000 fellow American citizens.
It is still a mystery as to why they stood by silently as their icon of ego, Bill Clinton, dropped bombs on Afghanistan, Sudan, and then Serbia and Albania without checking the pulse of the International community. They were silent when the “oops” bomb dropped on the Chinese embassy, and on the personal residence of Slovodon, deep in the heart of Serbia. What, no human shields? No opposition to the president using our tax dollars, our military and our government to bomb sovereign nations, as many of the speakers Saturday were complaining that Bush was doing?
Ok, we know that liberals, even left wing anarchist liberals, believe no democrat can commit a crime, while all Republicans (except the Republican Guard) should be lined up against a wall and shot . . . in the name of peace of course. But it was amazing to see such hate issuing from these young, impressionable kids who probably couldn’t point to Vietnam on a map if their MP3 player depended on it.
So let’s look at the numbers. The most recent polls show that 70% of the American people support the president. That number keeps climbing every time a Hollywood starlet says how awful he is, and how ashamed they are of America.
The Dixie Chicks just caused Bush’s numbers to go up a few points in the polls as they trashed him to London audiences, hoping their base . . . red, white and blue-blooded Americans . . . wouldn’t get wind of their disloyal statements. Heh girls, I dare you to go on a local Nashville station and make those same comments.
Here comes the distinction between then and now. Although the vast majority of the agitators against the Vietnam War were paid operatives with the purpose of demoralizing our troops and destabilizing our presence in that part of the world, the naive followers really did believe we should be out of Vietnam. And that was it.
They weren’t tree-hugging atheists who spewed venom at people of faith who ate hamburgers. They understood the threat of the Soviet Union and wouldn’t be caught dead siding with Castro. They were thoughtful people who had a serious problem with the US sending troops, for years, to a land we knew nothing about for a purpose that was never clearly explained. And when the war ended, they went on with their lives, their businesses, their professions . . . and didn’t look back.
The protesters today are far slicker with a much more complicated agenda that really has nothing to do with peace. If it did, they would have spoken out at some point about the atrocities committed by Saddam, or Castro, or Kim Jong Il, or a myriad of other petty dictators who have zero respect for human life. They would be on the front line against abortion that kills more innocent babies in one year, than they even predict will die in the worse case scenario in an Iraq conflict.
They are giddy with delight that finally they have an opportunity to showcase to the world what an imperialist, aggressive, and arrogant nation they think America is. Because for them, the greater good lies in the hope of a world body that supersedes all that America stands for . . . which they think is greed, oil, money, domination, strength, individualism, religion, faith in God, belief in the core family unit, freedom to choose to eat meat or home school, pay less taxes, have less government control in our lives, etc.
So in spite of the intended result, the rally on Saturday, and subsequent rallies which are sure to follow, serve mainly to entertain, to galvanize an already committed nation to the cause of freedom and justice. They remind us that free speech is a right we all fight to preserve . . . just as much as the right to disagree and think for ourselves, without fear of being called right wing terrorists.