Marching on Washington this Saturday (1/27)

This Saturday should see the biggest antiwar demonstration in Washington since September 2005. Details here.

I will be heading down to the big show. When I go to these events, I tend to saunter more than march, savoring the circus elements of these festivities and spending as much time on the periphery as in the throng.

Stopping Bush from expanding the Iraq war and from attacking Iran are by far the most important short term issues in American politics. War unleashes presidents to do their worst, with scores of millions of Americans guaranteed to cheer any new oppression of their fellow citizens.

Some people might avoid this march because of differences with the sponsoring organizations. Shizam, if I paid close attention to the words from the podium at these events, I might never go to any of them. I have been struck how often the demonstrators seem significantly more serious and reasonable than the speakers. But people are there to oppose the war, not to swear allegiance to every nitwit  who nabs the microphone for 2 minutes.

Likewise, some people might avoid publicly protesting because they want to avoid being in the same square mile as the fringe elements that show up for these events. I’m not talking about the undercover policemen. People who incite violence may be getting paid time and a half for working on Saturday.   There is no collective liability for all the ideas at the protest.  People who show up to oppose the war are not culpable because someone else shows up with a sign advocating bombing whomever.

 On the other hand, some of the people there might look at me and also shake their heads ruefully.   (“Antiwar event attendees are supposed to be clean shaven. Is it really necessary to be chomping on a cigar? And where did he get that hat? No one wears hats like that in Brooklyn.”)

Attending an antiwar march is one of the easiest ways to drive neoconservatives visibly insane. The New York Sun suggested in February 2003 that the New York Police Department “send two witnesses along for each [antiwar march] participant, with an eye toward preserving at least the possibility of an eventual treason prosecution” since all the demonstrators were guilty of “giving, at the very least, comfort to Saddam Hussein.”

Political entertainment doesn’t get much better than an editorial like that.

The forecast for Saturday is   49 degrees and Sunny.   Fine weather for a tromp around the city.   The last time I checked, all the local breweries are scheduled to be open.

I don’t know how much good it will do but this is one of the most visible legal means of protesting government policy.  Enjoy it while it lasts.

Feel free to post your thoughts on marching – or not marching – at my blog here.