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Where I stand...
ttocsland
Do You Care? Do I Care?

"Join thousands in LA on March 18 to protest the war on Iraq on the 3rd Anniversary of the US Invasion"
Thousands might be right, but frankly I've seen more people waiting to get into Disneyland.

I went to the rally. I took photos. I thought the signs had snap and bite - "Lie-ability - Impeach Bush"

I walked the parade route to see if there were throngs anywhere else, but sadly just tourists outside Graumann's Chinese getting the photos taken with Mr. Incredible, Chewbacca, Darth Vader and Supergirl.

Then I headed home.

I didn't step up to carry a coffin in the parade.
I didn't spend any money at the bumper sticker table.
I didn't ... engage the activity. I passively observed, wrote down some notes, took some photos... and fled.

I don't support our troops when they abuse local people they're supposed to be 'liberating'. I don't support a bunch of white, rich, hypocritical fucks in the highest level of government who tell us lies, just so we react the way we've been programmed. I think that the rich history of America being the good guy has crashed into the ground quite like flight 93 did on September 11th.

I'm ashamed that all I do is think these things. I don't act - at all. I had a bumper sticker on my Amigo - Bush Lies - Soldiers Die. I got into exactly one discussion over that sticker. Three years - maybe three serious "let me change the way you think" discussions. We are a horrible country at the moment, and quite frankly, we deserve what we have.

This war doesn't impact me in any direct way - it's all ... ephemeral. 19 year old American boys are dying every day - every single day, for a war that we went into because we were lied to. We have no leaders who are demanding justice for the atrocities; hell, the best I've heard is "my step-son..." by a rabid Cuban/Floridian republican who seemed to actually believe that what we're doing over there is the right thing. I can only hope her soulless body was on auto-response as she puked the party line. (Last night’s Real Time with Bill Maher was where I watched her perform)

But back to here - back to now - back to me.
Why the fuck am I sitting here? Typing... Why am I not walking the parade, as it gets warmer, with the discomfort of a pine box on my shoulder? Why did I think that the flag-wrapped coffin, on the ground, wasn't respectful to the flag? Why did I hope for Consolidated to show up and make me act.

I am against this war. I was against the last 'war for oil' - and by the time I actually realized I'd say no to a phone call to return to the service of my country, we had finished what we started - the liberation of Kuwait. In return, Kuwait decided that families should only have 3 slaves, instead of the many they had before Iraq invaded. Supporting the democracy of the world, that's what the US does...

"Bumper stickers are pretentious - oversimplified slogans in a pre-digested world"
says boo... "I don't like them"

The beautiful people are not protesting...

And so ... after a bit of discussion... we ... do ... not ... anything ... much.

Fuck.
Let's see - college basketball on 2, PGA golf on 4, Sabrina, the animated series on 5, Sonidos on 7 and Paid Programming on 9. Pet Keeping with Marc Monroe on 11 and Unspeakable on 13 round out our local channels at 1:32 this Saturday afternoon.

Meanwhile, three blocks away, marching. Protesting. Exercising our constitutionally guaranteed rights to free speech and free congregation.

I hear the helicopter up there - I suspect it's just the LAPD enforcement campaign.
Older 'hippy' peeps, punks with spiked mohawks and anti-war sloganed vests. Lots and lots of bicycle cops (pacific blue!) Lots of photogs, and everyone had a digicam - the wonders of the 21st century, eh? Looking at the snapshots I took, a lot of women are out there.

And so now I'll push the photos, maybe make some witty captions... and finish my apple pie (nothing says protest against the stupid gov't like apple pie!) while watching the Sebring 12 hour endurance race on Speed.

Eddie swung by to say "hey, I'd thought you'd be at the protest"... we chatted about the lack of people, the immense traffic damage, the joys of Hollywood in general.

Why am I not out there, protesting? What's up with my inaction?
and now, an hour or so later, I'm ... less upset at myself, at my pathetic-ness... because that's life? That’s how it goes on and on? I remember my fear from the first gulf war... not a personal fear for my limbs, but a moral fear that I'd support something nefarious. And now? Now... it's just - laziness. Apathy. The month or so after September 11th I was all sorts of confused, but the outpouring of humanity brought me a bit of comfort. How on earth would we get over what had happened to us? Turns out it's just time, that's the healing agent... how sad.

:+s+:

dona nobis pacem


for Zachary, Alyssa, and Roan

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Out of curiosity, when do you think America was luxuriating in their "rich history" of being the "good guys"? Obviously pre- 9/11 from your analogy about the plane there, but beyond that.

These protests are neutered affairs for people who like to feel that they are doing something, making a difference, but don't want to have to give up any of their spa time to do it. They are there for themselves. Not the country, not any other country, and certainly not to effect any real change. If there was nothing to protest, what would they do with their time and their stock-piles of posterboard? Trust me, no one in washington cares about a bunch of people in LA hanging out in a park and patting themselves on the back for being safe iconoclasts. It sucks for all the protest types out there... but it's true. Protest works in the right time and place. But that time and place (it's becoming increasingly clear) was over 30 years ago. Sometimes the old ways work better, knock us out of our complacency. But this type of thing with a lot of self-satisfied pricks standing around with their "witty" signs and their pricey bottled water from the co-op are not cutting it.

I think that this country desperately needs more tragedy, more disaster, and hopefully with it, just an ounce more perspective. This navel gazing bullshit is exactly what leads us into our pat, bullshit, backward, jingoistic, faux-patriotism. I hope you're not out there protesting becuase somewhere deep in your lizard brain you've understood that those people are there for themselves, not for the country and certainly not for anyone in any other country.

Why was the rabid republican any more "soulless" than all those party-line regurgitating poster wavers in the park? Probably for the exact same reason the neo-con talk show hosts equate "I don't like the war" with "I hate soldiers". Becuase it's quick, it's simple, and it requires the smallest amount of thought on their or their audience's part.



Wow... someone reads this!

first off - thanks!
Secondly - thanks for making me think about what I wrote...

Let's see - America as the good guys. I could reference the Declaration – where we are based on life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Our constitution is buttressed with the Bill of Rights, which actually allows us to cry foul when the government tries to thwart our freedoms. Compared to the Iraq and Afghanistan constitutions where they’re ruled by Islamic laws, I think it’s a good thing.

Sadly, I’m stuck with the ‘relatively’ based argument – unlike Hitler, we didn’t kill those we rounded up in our country during WWII, for example. So we’re relatively good. But for every pitiful example of good, we have lots of examples of bad (starting with the decimation of the native people of North America that happened during our ‘birth’). So. What makes us good?

I had a friend who used to say it’s not where you are, it’s your derivative (he was an econ peep, and I took this, per his explanation, to mean it’s not where you are, but where you’re headed) – are we getting better?

I certainly like to think of America as a bastion of ideals worth fighting for. Life Liberty. Home and Family. God and country. I like to think that we’ve made a positive difference in the world. As someone who contributed to the end of the Cold War, I like to think that the tank practice fields of East(ern) Germany now support something better – flowers, at least. I like to think that the Americans of note from our history are as important as others in the world. Was Martin Luther King, Jr. Gandhi’s equal? Did the progress John Kennedy asked from the American populace help the world?

Without concrete tenets to debate from, I should concede, but I don’t want to. I want to scratch at that itch and see if the blood that flows is red and rich… not blue and watery. But I can’t find the footing to support my need for leverage. I’ll keep working on it though.

I’m not sure if the peeps at the Hollywood protest were concerned with giving up their spa time. From what I saw they seemed to be earnest, they seemed to have the beliefs from earlier in their lives when a protest did accomplish something. Gathering in today’s realm of the surreal to challenge the status quo leads me to think that perhaps they aren’t exactly there for themselves, as you say. Have you seen the LAPD in action? You mention ‘hanging out in a park’ – if that was in reference to the one photo I have of peeps in a park, they were gathering there before they went to the march, just FYI.

I concur with your opinion that we need a stronger kick in the ass. Doubt we’d get any more perspective, but I’d be willing to give it a try. Boo says I can’t kill people, though.

You say that the peeps protesting are there for themselves. I don’t get that. They gave up their routine on a Saturday morning to go into the public spotlight, to be watched by ‘the man’ (even if the man was on a bicycle) – they took action when the masses around them choose to do other things. I went because I wanted to do something – anything. I figured it was time to try. It certainly didn’t fill me with a sense of faux-patriotism; dread at the lack of a turnout and the realization that we, as a country, need a lot of help. I think I mentioned my sad pathetic-ness in the first post.

RE: soulless republican - has a transcript from the Real Time show I watched. Understand that I don't catch the republican machine - I don't watch Sunday morning news shows, fox news, anything - I watch some Daily Show, read the WashPost.com, the occasional Real Time, and go about my merry way.

So when I see an elected representative of the United States meandering blindly through her world, PUBLICLLY spouting party line, and using her college-educated, Marine Officer stepson as proof that she knows what ‘soldiers’ in Iraq think and feel, I’m left thinking that her heart is a lump of coal. That she has no understanding of the situation as a whole, just the side she’s fed. That equals soulless to me. I just get the sense that a discussion of the color of the sky with her would be difficult if the Republican machine stated that it’s green.
::snip - too damn long for LJ::


Re: Wow... someone reads this!

As for the "party-line regurgitating poster wavers in the park," well I see people challenging what they’ve been fed. I see people who have a soul, perhaps one, like mine, that has gnawed at them during the quiet times. They are the ones I see making a stand – the stand that invading/conquering sovereign countries for lies is wrong.

It’s always easier to take the quick, simple way – who wants to think about how our system of government isn’t responsive to the ‘people’ who give the consent to be governed? I certainly don’t want to – it pisses me off then depresses me. My PoliSci1 class, thankfully, allows me to chip away at that dark spot, poke it with sticks, and shine a light in there. I’m sure most of my current political rambling is directly due to the learning of the basic theories of our country’s creation – and the challenges to the assumption/presumptions I’ve made all my life.

So bear with me as I learn, as I explore what I’ve held dear, what I’m finding out to be so painfully wrong. But keep the conversation going… I like having to think. It’s like a good workout.

Re: Wow... someone reads this!

My point was that those people in the park with the signs (I'm generalizing here) are just as soul-less and empty as that person on the news program. Just becuase they're spewing party lines or political agendas you agree with doesn't mean that they actually feel that way or that they're doing anything other than reacting. Bumper stickers *are* over simplified slogans that remove the need for thought. So it punditry. Punditry on the right, punditry on the left. It's the same thing.

People who read DailyKOS and just believe everything that's there becuase they like the source bug me just as much as people who listen to Bill O'Reilly's radio show and believe everything he says becuase they like Bill. We, as a country, have removed *thinking* from politics. Even someone like McCain who doesn't really follow party lines is still stuck in a place where he feels the need to rally behind the president... despite regularly disagreeing with his tactics, plans, and ideals. Ya know... because they're all republicans! Gotta stick together becuase of this arbitrary party tag!

I don't watch TV, especially political TV. I don't buy into a lot of our consumer-bullshit lifestyles. So it's a lot easier for me to see a big liberal protest in LA as just another "hey, this is trendy!" thing for the trendsters to jump on. Tae-Bo, Jazzercize, Apple's horrible products and savvy marketting, Designer coffee, Designer sweats, Designer ideals. And it makes it even easier to find protest idealism "cool" when the beautiful people are doing it too. I'm not saying that people should open their mouths about this type of thing. I am saying that a lot of the people joining the crowd at this late date are doing it because it's safe and cool, not because they find it really meaningful.

I think that America is definitely based on ideals that are worth persuing. I just don't see where we have EVER actually persued them. Nice ideas are nice. But just becuase you have noble goals that you expound frequently, that doesn't mean you're automatically noble yourself. It's more difficult than that.

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