We made it out for the anti-war demonstration in St. Louis today. I was surprised that the attendance was as high as it turned out to be (my rough guess is 1,500-2,000 people at its height). I wasn't surprised (although I was, as usual, disappointed) at the fairly depressed atmosphere, or at the usual opportunism.
Three years into the war on Iraq, public opinion is firmly on the anti-war side, but the anti-war "movement" as such doesn't really exist. It's just a hodge-podge of various groups which seem to constantly be looking for an angle to get their other pet issues in front of others under the "anti-war" rubric. Not that I can blame them, but there's a degree beyond which it damages the ability of the "movement" to solicit the active participation of Americans who want the troops home, but aren't interested in (insert pet issue -- saving Medicaid, ending the death penalty, fighting global warming, whatever -- here).
It's hard to blame them, of course: In politics, you figure out where the public is going and, if it's a direction you like, you jump in front of them and try to "lead" them not only in that direction, but in other directions you favor. The thing about opposing the war on Iraq, though, is that it cuts across a lot of lines dividing mutually exclusive political orientations. Most anti-war Americans (which means most Americans) aren't going to allow their anti-war convictions to be directed on other issues. The anti-war movement has to be an anti-war movement and nothing else if it wants to gain momentum instead of losing it. And doing so is more important now than ever. You get to pitch your other issues positions after you've offered the anti-war majority an avenue through which to achieve their specific shared goal.
Not all opportunism is bad, either. At the demonstration, I ran into an old friend circulating petitions to put one of the two genuinely anti-Iraq-war parties in Missouri on the ballot (the Progressive Party, Missouri affiliate of the Greens -- the other genuinely anti-Iraq-war party, mine, already has ballot access covered in this state). I signed the petition, and will be circulating it as well -- the more on the ballot, the merrier, especially when they're right about the key public policy issue of the day.
Finally got all the bloggers who supported my AntiWar.Com fundraising drive and the Paper Chase for Daniel's Art Class blogrolled. Sorry it took so long. I don't know if I ever made a "final final report" on the Paper Chase: The paper arrived, I delivered it, and Mrs. Schmutz was thrilled. Turns out that the price I got on it was about half of what she "pays" through her school budget line (if the order is filled at all), so we made a considerable dent in her supply needs for the remainder of the year.
It's been a long couple of weeks -- sorry for the relative infrequency of my blog posts here. In the past two weeks, I've rejoined the Missouri Libertarian Party, accepted appointment to its executive committee, participated in bringing a (hopefully) swift and successful end to our semi-annual "weirdo on the ballot" emergency, and spent considerable time addressing the fallout from that situation (including with the weirdo's supporters, who are not exactly the easiest group to communicate productively with). I'm also preparing for a major site launch, continuing to write for BlogCritics (here's my latest review), and loads of other things not worth mentioning here (except for Michael Pakko's annual St. Urho's Day party, which was a great time). I'm hoping to be back in the swing of things here at Kn@ppster this week.
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