Crossposted here

There may be some here for whom the anti-war protests yesterday were their first.  In my case I was at the ellipse in Washington DC, but this march was not the first for me however.  My first goes back a long way, and today’s march brought back a lot of memories..  Step with me into the wayback machine….
The time was a different time.  It was a different war.  George Bush probably wasn’t even a drunkard at the time, and the president was LBJ.  I was just a child – I would guess just 1st or 2nd grade at the time (I know I changed schools in the 3rd grade, and I remember the D.C. crap I brought back for show-and-tell).  I called my mom and try and figure out what year it was, and the best we could come up with was that it must have been 1964 or 1965.  It was springtime – I think we might have even hit the cherry blossoms at peak.  There were lots of speeches – to a child, those speeches were boooooring, and there were the marches were quite tiresome too.  I vaguely remember that my brother and I were climbing the cherry trees though – as I was sitting there yesterday, I was wondering if the trees were the same as the ones I climbed as a child.

Any of you who know history, the anti-war movement kept going until early 1970’s when the government in Vietnam finally fell.  There were many more anti-war protests in my youth.  My high school was adjacent to the University of Minnesota main campus, and we got a first-hand view of many more protests.  We saw police helicopters landing in our football field for our school to refuel and load up with more tear gas.  We saw marches, sit-ins.  We saw the administration building at the University taken over by radical students.  All of this only ended when the government realized the futility of it all and “cut-and-run”.  It would be nice if one large march was sufficient to get a government to change it’s policies, but that isn’t how things work in the real world.   In that spirit, I can only say that I have no expectations that yesterday’s march will change all that much.  It will only be when members of Congress and Senators start to worry about facing unemployment that anything of substance will change.

Any of you who haven’t seen it, I can recommend the movie “The Fog of War”, which is a long reminisce from Robert McNamara – Kennedy’s (and ultimately Johnson’s) Secretary of Defense.  Some might rightly argue that McNamara has realized in his old age that he fucked up and is trying to create a comfortable place for his legacy in the pages of history – some of it is definitely self-serving, but it is still interesting.  The thing that I find so amazing is that McNamara and Rumsfeld seem to have very similar personality types – so similar that I keep wanting to transpose their names.  Both of them were arrogant pricks.  I can only wonder whether Rumsfeld will make a movie or write a book where he admits that he had his head up his ass.

Back then we had the problem that it was a Democrat who bore most of the blame for the mess in Vietnam.  The saddest thing about it all was that you would have thought that we as a nation would have learned something from that experience.  Perhaps only the Democrats did.  The Republicans were so blinded by their hatred of the anti-war crowd that I guess they needed their own “learning experience”.  Evidently the neo-cons held the view that we as a nation should have just sucked it up and stuck it out.  The problem is that people have been killed.  People have been maimed.  Lives have been ruined.  All on-the-job training for the nutjob neo-cons to “learn” from.

I still don’t quite get why the Democratic leaders are so afraid to withdraw support for this thing.  The Democratic party has no stake in the thing.  We didn’t start it.  We didn’t support it.  Some members of Congress voted for it, but one can argue that those votes were based upon fudged intelligence, and there really wouldn’t be any blowback if they just came out and said they were wrong.  Maybe they are just sitting back and letting the Republicans learn on their own, but the problem is that people are dying while they figure this out.  Then again, we need to make sure that this lesson really sinks in, or they will try the same crap in Iran.

One other thing.  As an adult – the same damned speeches were just as boring as when I was a child.  We need to do something different here – instead of these long winded (but well meaning) people, we should get people like Al Franken and Jon Stewart to speak at these things.  Try and liven it up – make it something that people actually want to hear, and not just a long series of rants to try and liven up the crowd.  Yeah, OK, maybe a few rants, but give me a break…


As a postscript, when I was riding home on the subway after the march yesterday, I ran across someone from my home state of Minnesota.  It was easy to spot – he was wearing a Humphrey button – I was thinking to myself “well, that’s something you don’t see everyday”.  I didn’t have the heart to tell him that 40 years ago it was LBJ and Humphrey that held the place of honor that Bush and Cheney held today.

0 0 votes
Article Rating