Before the Iraq War began, there seemed to be a growing anti-war movement, with huge demonstrations across the country. The war started, and then only sputters of anti-war activism occured. I even count the 10,000 who showed up in Washington, D.C., in early 2007 as a sputter.
This Saturday (Oct. 27), United for Peace and Justice is organizing another annual day to protest the war. In the past, this day has gone by without much fanfare, but national organizers are calling this the National Mobilization to End the War in Iraq.
Beyond the lone roadside vigils and the efforts at armed forces recruitment centers, I've wondered what happened to the anti-war movement. A friend told me he thinks there can't be a movement when most of the country is against the war. He points to Bush's low ratings of late. We've also had no draft, he said.
Part of me has also wondered if those who say they are against the war are also scared into silence. This is a different time with citizens bullied by level orange, homeland security laws and watch lists, and inane politicians from all parties who betrayed every one of us and continue to do so.
Little has been asked of us during this war, and until a draft is put in place, only a small percentage of citizens can claim they've been touched by war's sadness when loved ones return home in coffins. Unlike during World War II, we haven’t had to live with rations or plant Victory Gardens. I guess we can thank China for helping Americans live normally during a time of war. We owe them a ton of gratitude for lending us the cash to make Iraq possible. You know, if you think about it, with all they've done for us, a little lead paint on toys isn't as bad as having your face or legs blown off by an IED.
Have I joined the lady by the side of the road with the signs? No. Have I joined the groups at the recruitment centers? No. In the beginning, I was out there. When Congress approved the war, I remember wondering how they could support the war when everyone knew there were no WMDs. I think it's been a state of a depression ever since.
On Oct. 27, there will be 11 regional demonstrations: Boston, Chicago, Jonesborough, Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York City, Orlando, Philadelphia, Salt Lake City, San Fransico and Seattle. Solidarity protests will take places in Fairbanks, Alaska, San Diego, Denver, Evergreen, Colo., Des Moines, Iowa, Smithfield, NC, Oklahoma City, and Tucson, Arizona.
The local event begins at 10:30 a.m. inside the UA Main Gate at Park Avenue and University Boulevard. The march begins at 11 a.m. and travels along Speedway from the UA to De Anza Park at Speedway Boulevard and Stone Avenue. A rally takes place there at noon with speakers and music.
The rally MC will be Molly McKasson, and speakers include County Supervisor Richard Elias, Isabel Garcia of Derechos Humanos, and City Councilwoman Nina Trasoff. Organizers are awaiting confirmation from Congressman Raul Grijalva. For more info, call 624-4789 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
There have been protests in other countries that have put us to shame. But Oct. 27, we can make up for it. What happens after that? Will we have ourselves an anti-war movement? Perhaps we'll feel we've done our share after Oct. 27 and let the lady on the roadside continue to protest alone.