Monday, March 31, 2003
The New Weekend Warriors
For years the National Guard/Reserve has been derided with this moniker. Here is a sober assessment of American protests from the left, by Geov Parrish.
This matches some of my experience participating in the Lysistrata Project. (It was a mildly amusing retooling of the classic, and it goes to show dick jokes are not a recent invention of modern Hollywood.) One of the people who spoke after the performance--a veteran protester of over four decades who had done real hunger strikes and hasn't paid income taxes as a conscientous objector for several decades--hit the nail on the head: depriving the leaders of sex (the play's comic premise) is not anywhere near the answer; implicitly, neither is performing in such a play; depriving them of your money and your vote is the answer. Since I was participating in the reading out of duty to a friend and the opportunity to work on character voices, it was interesting, as an outsider to the group mounting the play, to see the disconnect between passion and planning firsthand. In many ways protesting as practiced now participates in the same multi-lateral media tug-of-war, but with smaller numbers and less money. A photo op here. A press release there. Does it matter? The futility of protest by itself is obvious when you see the counter-protests get coverage, too.
The inherent problem is that people who are truly passionate and want to see changes may not have the skill, inclination, or resources to do much more than what they are doing. "I've got class." "I've got to work." "My rent is due." "I've got bills to pay." It's a wonder anything can be accomplished given our own personal entangling alliances to our jobs, food, shelter, and credit card companies. Until people are willing to make tough, personal choices about those priorities (e.g., is volunteering on so-and-so's election campaign a better use of my time than my current job?), the tug-of-war will continue with the usual, predictable results. Even then....Heck, it was seven years after the '68 Democratic convention, six years after Woodstock, and five years after Kent State that the VietNam war ended.
Update:I fixed the Lysistrata link.
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