The antiwar movement, Part II
: First, there was this critical piece
(and later Hub Blog item
) on the antiwar movement, as seen through the eyes of an antiwar writer. Now Ellen Goodman
is also taking shots at the movement, for roughly the same reasons. Ellen: “Earlier this month, when an old activist friend wandered over to one of the rallies pegged to International Human Rights Day, he felt like a reverse Rip Van Winkle. He'd changed, but the scene had stayed the same. Some of the slogans seemed like verbal uniforms taken out of mothballs: ‘Drop food, not bombs.’ ‘Hell no, we won't go. We won't fight for Texaco.’ ... Todd Gitlin, historian of the '60s, has seen this as well. ‘The silent majority of antiwar sentiment hasn't found its style or form. That's a serious obstacle,’ he says. ‘We in the 1960s would have looked stupid if we were mouthing the rhetoric of the 1930s. Why is it smart to sound like 1967?’ ''
Indeed, the problem with today’s antiwar movement is its sentimental '60s nostalgia. The same slogans. The same clothes. The same signs. It’s too often about well-educated, well-off protesters making statements about themselves
and to themselves
about how virtuous they are. How can you respect such ossified, self-centered thinking? You can’t. But Goodman has another good point: Poll after poll shows a deep uneasiness among Americans about the coming war with Iraq. OK, some polls show strong support one day, others show lukewarm support the next. Combine all the polls together, though, and you get a clear picture that Americans aren’t so clear about what to do with Iraq.