Saturday, July 21, 2018

Get the Troops out of El Salvador!

by Matt Weston (writer), New York, February 04, 2007


On an anti-war march last Saturday I overheard a woman complaining about the Socialists, about how they overreach and “always want to talk about everything at the same time.” She had no way of knowing that she was describing the rotten core of the Iraq anti-war movement.

If you were one of the “several thousand” – L.A. Times’ safest estimate ever? – marching in the rain last weekend, you couldn’t help but notice the proliferation of causes on display: signs pleading to Impeach Bush and Stop Bombing Somalia, reminding us What About Katrina? and of Genocide in Darfur and Occupation in Palestine, that Thanks to the Patriot Act, Bush is Listening.

Since when is protesting an unwinnable war waged under the slimmest, falsest pretenses not good enough? Shouldn’t the news that this unpopular war is escalating, with as many as 21,000 troops/targets deploying to cities where kidnapping is more common than traffic lights, arouse a focused response? Why did the march feel like it had Attention Deficit Disorder?

I suspect some of the inconsistency has to do with feelings of outrage against the Bush Administration and its policies. The comedian Lewis Black summarized 2006 in this way, and I paraphrase, “if you like incompetence, then 2006 was a great year.” In the last year alone, breaking points, moments to have lost faith in our leaders numbered in the tens, if not hundreds.

The march routed us from LA’s Democratic Party Headquarters on 9th and Figueroa to City Hall, and along the way we were treated to a lesson in urban blight: the scarified remains of neighborhoods left to fend for themselves. This was wrong, you knew it in your gut. There are places to air such grievances, but anti-war march is not one of them.

Marches like this one are not easy to set-up. They take a very long time to coordinate and publicize. For these reasons, they don’t happen very often. The clamor of a million-and-one ideals is confusing, and it makes these seldom held events less forceful then they would otherwise be. The math is simple: two voices speaking the same words will sound clearer than one voice saying one thing, a second voice saying another.

Let’s try speaking with one voice. It’s the best chance we have that someone will hear us.

About the Writer

Matt Weston is a writer for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
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3 comments on Get the Troops out of El Salvador!

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By V on February 04, 2007 at 02:16 pm
There's a point. I've never been to a march where multiple ideas are being pushed willy nilly. You're absolutely right that, in order to get a message across, it is far more impactful to keep it simple & concise.
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By J. La Mont on February 04, 2007 at 02:54 pm
It is nearly impossible to get everyone on topic. I've led a few protests and in order to get the numbers you need a wide net and everyone has their pet cause they think trumps everyone else. Sadly that's been the strength of the right wingers for the last few years.
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By Matt Weston on February 04, 2007 at 04:50 pm
Yeah, it must be tough to reign everyone in. When it's a matter of numbers and if you're talking about a war that cuts across so many causes (funding, admin. mismanagement, civilian death tolls, etc.) there's bound to be some straying from the message. Let me know if I can help plan any future marches, J. Thanks to both for the comments.
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