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War protests - at least they're off the WTO's back...(7 posts)

War protests - at least they're off the WTO's back...TJeanloz
Feb 18, 2003 9:46 AM
I'll be the first to acknowledge that peaceful protest is the right of people living in a free society. That said, does anybody else just get sick of it all? My perspective is that there's this group of people that is just unhappy with the current social order, and will protest against whatever the Government wants to do. Do we have a class of professional protesters, who earn their keep by being appalled all of the time? (I think they call themselves "activists"). One has to assume that the core group of protesters is the same for every protest- while anti-war protests were going this fall, the Davos Summit went off without a hitch.

We even seem to have admission from some people (I'm looking at you France) that they aren't opposed to war with Iraq on it merits, but moreso that they just don't want to let the U.S. have its way.

So are these protests in fact democracy at its best, or mob influence at its worst?
Neither the best nor the worst.Jon Billheimer
Feb 18, 2003 10:11 AM
I assume that your phraseology is rhetorical. There certainly is not even the hint of mob rule here, but certainly widespread concern, if not opposition to a war, from literally millions of people around the world. A million or so Englishmen and Spaniards demonstrating, for instance, is not due to the machinations of a few diehard, professional protestors. I believe that there is a very large disconnect between the perceptions of America by Americans and the perceptions of America by literally the rest of the entire world.

Second, this also is certainly not democracy at its best. For democracy to function optimally, the people need to know and understand the truth of a situation, which I think almost none of us do. In the absence of uncensored, comprehensive information governments resort to pr campaigns and propaganda, often embellished with outright lies at worst, or shifting justification and rationales at best. So the citizenry becomes cynical, critical and confused. I think that is what is going on here.

Personally, on the one hand I'm extremely concerned that U.S. policy and behaviour is close to flouting longstanding international law and that the consequences of the "cure" may be worse than the "disease." On the other hand, perhaps the threat from terrorists, aided and abetted by rogue governments, is so serious that pre-emptive action is necessary to avoid a disaster that would make the attack on the WTC look like child's play. Who's to know? And that is a large part of the overall political problem. Don't trivialize the issues and the public response by blaming everything on a few "activists."
Hardly mob influenceOldEdScott
Feb 18, 2003 10:36 AM
since they've had none. I can't imagine the administration being influence by a few million rabble in the streets. They don't make many campaign contributions to Republicans.

I agree the politics of the American protesters are a bit muddled. There seems to be a core of pissed off, confused people who turn out for these and other protests, and have little idea what they're talking about. Or at least I can't make heads nor tails out of what they're saying.

Still, we all have the right to speak incoherently, and not making sense doesn't mean you're wrong.
Hahahaha!!!Jon Billheimer
Feb 18, 2003 10:51 AM
Nice comment, Ed! "Not making sense doesn't mean you're wrong" is the best apologetic for Dubya that I've heard yet:)-
turned around that way it sounds better :-) nmDougSloan
Feb 18, 2003 11:49 AM
Oddly enough, IOldEdScott
Feb 18, 2003 1:53 PM
though that phrase had a Bush-malapropism ring to it. But I liked it so much I left it anyway!
Neither best nor worst.Steve98501
Feb 18, 2003 5:00 PM
I agree with Jon on this. Peaceful protest, along with being a right in this still-fairly-free society, is ultimately an effective means of communicating with our government - along with voting, of course. I think protest played an important role in reversing the course of U.S. policy during the Viet Nam war, causing the nation to dis-engage. Without arguing the rightness or wrongness of the war, protest was an effective technique for influencing national policy.

You're entitle to your perspective, but I think it's pretty disrespectful of many Americans' core values regarding peace and war, or engaging in war contingent on certain conditions like imminent threat or similar just cause thresholds. Sure, some activists might be people just waiting for the next cause to join, but I doubt that accounts for most of us.