38 thoughts on “please read this

  1. If you don’t like the sponsorship Barlow mentions, another rallying point (online) is these folks. They are an outgrowth of the Clinton impeachment process, where their slogan was “censure and move on.” They have a lot of ideas about actions that can be taken; I don’t think there’s specifically one about mass protests in the streets, but short of that they have thoughts.

  2. yeah, i’m on their mailing list, it’s quite handy in that they give you the phone numbers and other contact info of the right folks to call and register your opinion (not that it did any good with this last vote) but still, it was good to try.

    good to keep trying. don’t want to be one of the ‘quiet germans’.

  3. I was trying very hard to avoid this. But it’s true. The thing is, he’s charging off to do some dirty work in Iraq because he thinks it’ll take attention away from the bad karma back here, kind of like what happened when Daddy bombed Saddam in the first place. What gives us the right to go around the world telling people how they need to be governed? Making them over in our image — well, that sounds akin to something God supposedly did, eh?

  4. it’s all about empire. it’s orwellian and horrifying. i still can’t sleep, nor get anything done really. just up, head hurting, it’s so late.

  5. “Reading this document, which makes ironic use of the word ‘freedom’ every third sentence or so”…

    King George II uses that word A LOT. The one and only time I ever saw the president on tv, he used that word repeatedly.

    I think a big problem is, we don’t have Russia keeping us in check any more.

    I’m voting everyone OUT on election day… simple as that. No matter where you stand on the issues. This is fucking BAD.
    *looks at watch, wondering when “the draft” is coming back*

  6. actually, i’m ok with keeping in those who came out against this. but yes, i think the American people need to go to the polls and effect a ‘regime change’. while we still can.

  7. I intend to vote. The choice is an awful one: between jerks who really believe this war is a great thing and wimps who won’t stand on their hind legs and say “Not so!”

    Where do I place the blame? On the American voter.

    I don’t have a lot of time for quitters and a few have spoken up mockingly in this thread. When it comes right down to it, America has become a nation of quitters. We quit the idea of justice for all. We quit the idea of serving all our citizens. We just quit sticking to the principle of No First Strike. Now folks are quitting the vote. What’s next? Nero used bread and circuses. The World Series is coming up. Perhaps they’re hoping for free hot dogs and beer?

  8. “I don’t have a lot of time for quitters and a few have spoken up mockingly in this thread.”

    I don’t see anyone in this thread saying that they plan to stop voting. What’s with the name-calling?

  9. Our head man is gonna do what he wants to do (or what others tell him to do) because: “After all, this is the man who tried to kill my Dad”.
    All our rants and raves aren’t gonna change his mind.
    The middle east man is nuts, with a great fondness for Hitler. Reads alot about him.
    I think some countries feel he may be the 21st century equivalent of him.
    Maybe they are right.
    I just hate war. It is unhealthly for flowers and children.
    And old ladies like me who fight to stay alive in order to see and feel this beautiful world…….

  10. I read it. Had to stop every few minutes to puke but finally finished it (a virus I think). Got me to thinking about stuff again, and was probably the leading cause of my having started a poll about this on my website. I’m interested to see what percentage of the people I know online are in favor of this war and how many are not.

  11. I reacted, probably a little too strongly, but not entirely unjustly, to the collective sigh.

    These arguments go back and forth every time there’s a war. I saw them when I coordinated the Middle East peace conferences for PeaceNet during the Gulf War. It all has to do with sacrifices. If your co-workers find out, they will belittle you. Your boss may bait you, just to see if he can get you to challenge him. If you get as involved as I was in 1991, your phone will be tapped and your email read. (God, did I pity the guy who had to do that!) But the worst thing is that while you’re going through this, a lot of people who claim to hold the same principles as you won’t say a thing in your defense.

    Aye, the prices you pay for your views may be high.

    Frankly, I share the lack of enthusiasm about demonstrations that some have and maybe for the same reasons: how many of those people will be there speaking up for your loyalty to the country the day after? How many did we lose after Friday’s vote? I’m still here, catching flak as I always have. I would like to feel that I won’t be alone doing this.

  12. well, considering one of the main points the article made, is that so far all the protests have been ignored, i think frustration is an apt response.

    like Jason asked, what do we do? i would elaborate on that by saying, what can we do that would make a difference? consider this quote “Despite a deluge of calls, letters, and e-mails, which Capital Hill staffers admitted ran overwhelmingly against the ludicrously-named “Resolution Authorizing the President to Use Force, if Necessary, to End the Threat to World Peace from Saddam Hussein’s Weapons of Mass Destruction” …”

    now that’s frustrating. and sigh-worthy.

  13. I know it’s not storming the capitol or anything, but dayku has been a good outlet for me to express myself about the war, and to read what others have to say. I feel like everything say has already been said, and I don’t want to ramble on and on.

    And I see demonstration as healing if only because I know that I feel so helpless and insignificant sitting in my living room, watching it all happen.

  14. you know i was just thinking that, Dru — that sometimes, the gathering and protesting is more for the benefit of the protestors, than something that actually causes change. kind of like a fellowship, camaraderie, feeling not-alone.

    the only thing that really, really makes a difference, is going to the polls and voting the a**holes out of office.

  15. This was a good one, kd. Thanks for the link.

    Oy. My head hurts. I’m with you, Jason, now what?

    Voting is one way, but that won’t affect anything immediately, so I guess it’s protesting in the streets. Since many of us missed Vietnam…did any of the street protests do any good? (and yes, my historical knowledge of that era is woefully sketchy. I think I had to purge some of it to make way for the song lyrics to Hey Mickey or something.) Or is that just one more way to make us feel better about ourselves, because we can say we did something? I see this letter set the date of the 26th…you know, that’s actually our next blogger meatspace event thingee. Wouldn’t it be kind of cool to have a nice quiet protest, and then go for drinks and merriement afterwards? (providing we’re not spending the night in jail for unlawful assembly or something. If we’re not, it’ll be like celebrating the fact that we’re NOT in jail. hee.) It’s a thought I have.

  16. My server is flakey this weekend, so please forgive the long post.

    Well, dru and skits, I went to the protests in 1991 against the Gulf War, marched down Market Street in silence with everyone else, sat down, listened to the bands and the speakers, and went home on the train to hear to a friend of the engineer get on the PA system and give us “peace activists” a piece of his mind for blocking traffic on the Bay Bridge. Bombing commenced in the Gulf War and the momentary flicker of euphoria that “I had done something” vanished. No one wanted/dared to do anything after that. They’d “done something”. The flags came out and it was all “support our boys”. This war was, I think, made possible by the sudden drop in support for the peace movement after the vote and after the successful war in Iraq. Not many of our boys died, so who cared? Congress and Bush figures that we’ll just go along like we did the last time.

    So I have reason to be suspicious of the way that some see demonstrations as “doing something” when what they really seem to be is a big party whose main purpose is to make people feel good for a couple of days. The war will start and you won’t feel very good if you pay the slightest bit of attention to the news.

    I honestly don’t know your positions, so I will couch my advice neutrally: if you plan to throw your spirit behind “our boys” while they are invading Iraq or North Korea or wherever Bush sends them, don’t insult those of us who remain committed pacifists by going for the party. If you’re more committed, put the party idea out of your mind. Ask yourself: are you ready to be clubbed in the head by police who might appear in riot gear to provoke an incident, as has happened recently in Portland and elsewhere? If the idea concerns you, don’t go to the demonstration because it might happen. It is OK not to go, too, as long as you vote and keep speaking up.

    This demonstration could have the opposite effect of a party. If you go expecting one, there’s a good chance that you might be disappointed. And we’d lose you. The next time you’d find a different party. If you go with no expectations of feeling better afterwards, I dare say that you will be better prepared for heading off disappointment.

    I will probably not go to the demonstration because it doesn’t seem to have a clear, lasting objective. This demonstration is not civil disobedience. The latter entails risks, the risks of bodily harm and/or imprisonment. (I wouldn’t engage in that, either, if the objective was fuzzy.) I will however continue to write about this, to express my feelings so that others might read it, hoping that they will not avert their eyes from the hard things that I say.

    Again the key question: what about October 27th and thereafter? Well, for a start, in addition to the fine work of MoveOn, there’s People for the American Way who are soliciting contributions for an ad that will play in certain key states: http://inv9.com/.l/3ZXJ306J97 . Voting, as kd and others have pointed out is important. Reconsidering your lifestyle and your personal addiction to luxury should be a high priority. And, of course, do not stay silent about the war.

    Last requests for today: don’t burn flags. A better idea that I saw is to stain them with simulated blood and then perform a ritual washing. When you burn a flag, many people see themselves going up in smoke. When you wash it, it is an act of love that still demonstrates the point that the nation has blood on its hands. But we can come clean again.

    Second, if you see anyone beginning to commit acts of vandalism and violence, take a cue from St. Hugh of Lincoln and Atticus Fitch: dare to put yourself in the path of the lynch mob. We’re for peace, dammit. If you want to punish a business, do it by not going there. Let them go slowly broke. It will give them time to think over their position, instead of being forever turned off to the idea of an anti-war movement.

    Third, consider not taking part in patriotic demonstrations. There’s a risk to this: it is possible that some around you may attack. I’ve done it a couple of times and nothing has happened, but there is no guarantee that you will be spared. Consider, however, what you are supporting when you stand up these days. Love of your country may at this time entail refusing to be used by those who merely want to cover their business improprieties through jingoistic demonstrations. Perhaps you will be attacked. Perhaps your quiet example may inspire others to sit down, too. Again, there is no guarantee.

    Finally, dress as you always dress. Show them that you are a citizen, just another person like the people who will watch from the sidewalks. Fancy face paint attracts photographers, but it scares a lot of people who will latch on to this as evidence that you’re some kind of a freak.

    I speak from experience, from having been in the thick of things.

  17. Hard Truth

    They see the older pacifists marching and think it cute, something to photograph. But have they talked to those who made genuine sacrifices for the cause? Have they considered what their showing up may mean?

  18. Why do you continue to believe that we’re planning a party? (because the event Saturday night and anything that may or may not happen Saturday morning are two different things.) You need to step back for a minute and stop talking about things you assume you know about me or anyone else.

  19. Emporer…

    I appreciate you passing along your experience. I’m a little put off by your patronizing tone, but I don’t know you, so I’m going to let it slide.

    I have a great deal of reservations about making voting out to be the be-all end-all solution to the problems that we, as a nation, face. I have been thinking about it a lot, and was very pleased today when, at a lecture given by Noam Chomsky today, a woman came to the microphone and asked him why, in his hour long address, he didn’t give any solutions…and why voting was not mentioned.

    His immediate reply was simple:

    “Voting is OK if there is a choice.”

    He then went on to add that, regardless of who ends up in office, they simply MUST respond to organized and active public opinion.

    I lost count of how many times he urged the audience to organize and participate in activism. It was a thread throughout the speech, throughout the question and answer period…and it was rolling over and over in my brain all the way home and still now.

    While he didn’t directly discourage people from voting, his words rang true to me. We already DID vote…remember? The people we voted for JUST GOT DONE totally trashing us. REMEMBER?

    I’ll probably be posting more about this later on full bleed, but another thing he talked about that rang so true to me is that WE, the people in the United States, are the only ones who are capable of preventing our government from continuing with their plan to gain control of the world’s resources. Other countries can’t do it, because they fear retaliation…citizens withing the borders might suffer retaliation to some extent, but we are far more capable of putting an end to it than any other country.

    Terror is the means by which our government keeps the population under control. I’ve been talking a lot about fear on the individual level, and it’s the same on the societal level. It’s in their best interest to keep us afraid. To make us feel hopeless. To make us feel like we don’t matter.

    And that’s why “going for the party,” as you say, emporer norton, is a completely revolutionary act. To get out of your house and to see that there are others who are outraged and unwilling to support the system is something that can only inspire hope and help to overcome some of the terror that’s being forced down our throats by our own elected officials.

    So…vote or don’t…demonstrate or don’t…write haiku or don’t…all of these things are equally valid. All of them make a difference. Chomsky KEPT STRESSING an “organized and ACTIVE public opinion.”

    Stay active. Speak your truth. Don’t fall into the trap of fear.

  20. The Emperor hasn’t said that voting is the be all and end all; in fact he said it was important, but also gave other suggestions besides voting that were useful. He’s not saying don’t demonstrate, either; he’s saying think about the objectives of any demonstration.

    Once, some years ago, people I knew were doing a sit-in and get arrested at a Congressperson’s office over US policy in El Salvador. A friend of mine asked me about whether I would take part, and I kept not feeling right about it. Then I had an opportunity to assist the Sanctuary movement, and at that point I realized why I hadn’t felt right about the earlier action. I didn’t see any reason why sitting in at that Congressperson’s office at that particular time made real sense (if anything, that particular action – not all demonstrations, but that one, as it was organized – seemed less effective than writing letters), but the action in support of Sanctuary, helping actual refugees, was something that did make sense to me.

    Of course, demonstrations (and letter-writing, and many other things, which the Emperor and I have both done) have their place, too; it’s a matter of thinking about how to spend your time and what you hope to accomplish.

  21. for a lot of us (well, for me), this is relatively new. i think the most important part right now is that we keep the dialog open and work with each other, and not succumb to bickering amongst ourselves, when there is such important work to be done.

    *deep breath* here goes.

    i was a little upset and put off by the Emperor’s first comment in this thread, and by the tone he took with skits’s initial suggestion, which was an off-the-cuff remark, and well intentioned. i was further upset by the tone of the post that pinged this one. i was going to send an email but couldn’t find the words. i’m not finding them now either.

    but i would hope that further discussions about issues related to pacifict activism, would be less … like this one. obviosly there’s a lot of work to be done, and it is only counterproductive to the cause, if the tone becomes outwardly critical.

    i didn’t want to turn this into an argument by pointing at it and complaining, and that’s not my intent. just voicing my feelings on the turn this has taken.

  22. I did not make it explicit, but I am sorry about the quitters comment. That was the one point at which I feel I was insulting. The rest was criticism. I am not continuing this thread because I am getting majorly pissed off with the actions of another participant in this thread, who complains about my being insulting and at the same time is insulting to me.

  23. um. this did not start out as anything that could be construed flameworthy. however. look at it now.

    here i go again:

    “complains about being insulted and at the same time is insulting to me”

    the complaint happened after the original perception of insult. wouldn’t have without it.

    i hate it when these things fall into arguing about how to argue. but here this is.

  24. OK, I just posted the write up of the Chomsky speech, for anyone who wants to read it. A warning to the emporer and empress…I am typically far less tolerant of bullshit on my site than kd is here. Please leave your condescension at the door.

  25. In Arkansas, voting seems to matter so very little — everyone’s the same, no matter where they stand — but I’ll vote anyway because it is the only responsible recourse at this time. As for the rest… I think I’ll have to track back. I have too much to say.

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