Make levees, not war, D.C. crowd suggests
The shadow of disaster looming behind George W. Bush grew significantly larger this weekend.
Tens of thousands of Americans — hundreds of thousands, in fact — finally joined up with the likes of Cindy Sheehan in stalking the president.
The crowd of anti-war protesters that marched past the White House yesterday may have even outnumbered the American troops trapped in the Iraq quagmire — where, just today, a couple of dozen more people were blown up and U.S. soldiers clashed with Jerry Bremer‘s old pal Moqtada al-Sadr‘s militia.
The jury’s still out on the fate of the St. Patrick’s Four, but not on Bush. The latest exit poll on the president is highly favorable — for him to exit. No wonder Bush’s handlers rushed him out of town today, sending him to Louisiana, where he spoke in Baton Rouge.
The Washington Post‘s Jennifer Moses explains why, even though people elsewhere can no longer swallow the Bush regime’s bullshit, the POTUS is still potable in Baton Rouge. The reason, says Baton Rouge resident Moses, may have something to do with a growing fear of America’s growing underclass:
The answer isn’t that the folks in Baton Rouge are a bunch of racist ignoramuses. Rather, it lies in cultural and social identification, overlaid with a patina of Christianity and fueled by raw, largely social, fear. In short, even before the hurricane rendered hundreds of thousands homeless, the feeling in white, middle-class Baton Rouge was already one of displacement.
That’s not something you’ll hear frankly or fairly discussed on Fox News, where a talking head said this afternoon that Bush was pleased by the “hospitality” of Louisianans.
Good for Bush, because there wasn’t a levee on either side of the Mississippi high enough to protect him from the growing number of angry Americans in Washington this weekend. Maybe that’s because the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has been spending so much time, energy, and money in the other Gulf. In any case, the dam of resentment on this side of the globe finally burst, and Sheehan’s reinforcements finally joined her, as my colleague Sarah Ferguson reports from the scene.
Tens of thousands of people packed downtown Washington yesterday and marched past the White House in the largest show of anti-war sentiment in the nation’s capital since the conflict in Iraq began.
The demonstration drew grandmothers in wheelchairs and babies in strollers, military veterans in fatigues and protest veterans in tie-dye. It was the first time in a decade that protest groups had a permit to march in front of the executive mansion, and, even though President Bush was not there, the setting seemed to electrify the crowd.
Signs, T-shirts, slogans and speeches outlined the cost of the Iraq conflict in human as well as economic terms. They memorialized dead U.S. troops and Iraqis, and contrasted the price of war with the price of recovery for areas battered by hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
Riffs on Vietnam-era protests were plentiful, with messages declaring, “Make Levees, Not War,” “I never thought I’d miss Nixon,” and “Iraq is Arabic for Vietnam.” Many in the crowd had protested in the 1960s; others weren’t even born during those tumultuous years.
Lots of people are getting hep to this jive-ass president. Not all of us were born yesterday.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on September 25, 2005