Sunday, January 19, 2003

Instapundit, channeling Peggy Noonan, divines my reasons for posting the article below about his father's civil rights and war activism. I posted it essentially without comment, so I guess that's fair, but it had nothing to do with thinking "it's funny that [his] father protested a different war." Vietnam is not Iraq, Iraq is not Vietnam, and Instapundit is under no obligation to be his father.

I posted it because I had remember reading it months back after Glenn linked it, and was struck by his father's commitment to the cause despite the negative consequences and associations, and its illustration of the difficulty of striking the right balance when protesting.

But, to follow up on Glenn's comments, I find the attempts to confuse the message with some of the messengers quite cheap. I also think it's a shame that the protest was organized by ANSWER, but mostly because it just provides ammunition for those who would like to discredit the movement by branding them as unpatriotic, "objectively pro-Saddam," or by marginalizing them.

Charles Reynolds didn't cancel his protest because one idiot insisted on carrying a North Vietnamese flag - one idiot who, for all we know, was one of the FBI's many plants. They had a habit of doing such things. I listened to maybe half of the speakers on Saturday, and I thought the degree to which everyone brought in their "pet loony lefty causes" or other irrelevant issues was surprisingly small, despite the assertions of many. The crowd was overwhelmingly filled with apparently "normal folks" -- if anything it seemed to disproportionately lean towards white middle aged America more than Trustifarian Anarchists or those who had piggy-backed the I/P issue onto the Iraq one. And, judging by the crowd pictures from San Francisco the same could be said for them.

The fact is hundreds of thousands of mostly average folk went out to protest this sadly inevitable war. Everything else that is said about them is a disingenuous attempt to discredit the message. Pretty sad, really. Glenn's doing about what the Freepers did to noted communist sympathizer Jim Henley as he walked by - chanted "Your Red Roots are Showing" despite the sign he was carrying. It's obvious this war movement isn't about supporting Stalinism, or wanting Saddam to "win" (win what?) or anything else. People heard there was a protest against the war, they went.

(Edited slightly)