Getting harder to ignore

Here’s more on the anti war march, from the Village Voice:

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Just maybe the zeitgeist is beginning to shift. This week a Pew poll found that only 42 percent of Americans believe that President Bush has made the case for war — down from 52 percent in September. Last week, a huge Chicago local of the Teamster’s — one of the unions that’s been cosiest with the Bush White House — hosted the launch of a national labor antiwar coalition. Republican business leaders raised concerns about a war with a full-page ad in the Wall Street Journal. Chicago, the nation’s third-largest city, joined a list of 38 city councils that have passed antiwar resolutions. And despite freezing temperatures that never topped 24 degrees, more than 100,000 demonstrators took over the streets of Washington, D.C., on Saturday in the second massive national antiwar protest in three months.

If the last march, in October, was the largest antiwar protest since the Vietnam era, Saturday’s march was easily as big — or bigger. The networks nearly ignored October’s demo, while several liberal critics, such as David Corn, called it “a pander fest for the hard left” and expressed concern that the organizer of both marches, the International ANSWER Coalition, would “prevent the antiwar movement from growing.” But this time the buzz was undeniable, with the Washington Post running half a dozen pre-protest stories and Nightline giving a platform to antiwar rabblerouser Representative Dennis Kucinich on protest eve — undeniable, and well-earned. Sure, one heard flashes of tone-deaf rhetoric blaring from the morning stage in front of the U.S. Capitol, as a few speakers threw out terms like “cryptofascist” or stumped for Mumia Abu Jamal. But the march was huge, with a tone as populist as they come.

Placards equating Israel with Nazism, so common at ANSWER’s first big march last April, were nowhere in sight — in fact, few signs strayed far from the antiwar message. The seemingly endless river of protesters carried aloft hand-scrawled cardboard placards and homemade banners bearing peace slogans at their most basic: “War Is the Problem, Not the Solution” and “Peace Is Patriotic.” Saturday’s march would have played well in the heartland — and not so surprisingly, since that’s exactly where many of the signs were made. As protesters from Alaska and Vermont, Iowa and Ohio, strolled through Washington singing “Give Peace a Chance” and “We Shall Overcome,” they flirted more with banality than fringe ideology.

There’s been a bit of a tempest in the echo chamber of the blogosphere lately regarding ANSWER. If you’re among that inestimably tiny fraction of readers who give a rat’s ass about this non-controversy, there are responses here and here (from progressive and libertarian perspectives, respectively). But I think this entry, from a blog called Polyglot, sums up the attitude of most of the demonstrators for whatever eeeee-vil hidden agenda the organizers may or may not have:

there were speakers, but it was hard to pay attention to them, and they didn’t really seem to be saying much besides rhetoric…instead we wandered around and looked at signs, laughed at signs, checked out buttons and t-shirts for sale, and “wow”ed at people who had traveled from locales far, far away.

— snip —

i love america. i love feeling like i might be able to affect change, no matter how small that chance is, by speaking out for what i believe in.