Sunday, May 07, 2006

On Protesting (Or Not)

A few weekends ago my brother and I had talked about going up to NYC. UFPJ had organized a protest against the current war on Iraq, the impending war on Iran, and the war-mongering Bush administration in general. My brother and I both felt a sort of moral obligation to add our voices to the protest, but we also didn't feel like going to New York, and we doubted that any amount of protesting would change BushCo's approach to foreign policy.

I firmly believe that every single American citizen could be in the streets protesting and Dubya would merely pause to shake his head in condescending pity for our stupidity, and would then return to the business of fucking everything up. This is because the man actually believes that God talks to him:

2000: "I've heard the call. I believe God wants me to run for president. . . .I can't explain it, but I sense my country is going to need me. Something is going to happen... I know it won't be easy on me or my family, but God wants me to do it."

2003: "God told me to strike at al Qaeda and I struck them, and then He instructed me to strike at Saddam, which I did, and now I am determined to solve the problem in the Middle East." (By striking somebody, probably. Or maybe smiting.)

2004: "I trust God speaks through me. Without that, I couldn’t do my job."

Bush and his administration have demonstrated repeatedly that they don't really give a shit what the American people think. Why should they when they're doing God's work? 55% of Americans think BushCo deliberately misled the public into war and 60% of Americans believe that war has not been worth fighting. Big deal. 100% of Supreme Beings (of which there is, of course, only one) think Bush is doing a bang-up job.

This, however, is no reason not to protest, and I've felt guilty ever since I skipped the NYC protest. I felt especially guilty this morning when I read Melissa's lovely post, which reminded me that it's important to stand up for what you believe in, even when it seems that doing so is unlikely to change anything. Despite the fact that BushCo is impervious to dissent, there are lots of good reasons to protest, namely that it is the right thing to do regardless of the outcome. As Martin Luther King, Jr. said, "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter," and as Ghandi said, "Whatever you do may seem insignificant to you, but it is most important that you do it." And as Elle Woods said in Legally Blonde 2, "One honest voice can be louder than a crowd's."

This is (or used to be) essentially my whole m.o. as a person, and especially as a teacher. If my students learned nothing else, I hoped they would leave my class believing that they could make the world a better place. When the hell did I stop believing we could make the world a better place? I didn't go to a protest because it wouldn't do any good and New York was too far?! Yikes. When's the next protest? I'm so there.


Steve said...

What makes the whole "I hear God talking to me" part of the theocratic Bush Administration scarier, or maybe just ultra depressing, is that many in the upper echelons of the Bush Regime believe that the “End of Days” RAPTURE is close at hand and a couple more wars in southwest Asia will bring it on even sooner. Why care about global climate change or federal deficits when many of the people driving our national and international policies don’t see themselves living on planet Earth much longer (6-18 months is always the estimated time to Rapture). Why no long ranging planning from this crew of neocon bible thumpers? They are off-shoring their saved selves in the very near future.

Brian said...

I'm not even going to get started.

Melissa said...

That quote brought tears to my eyes when it was said in the movie. I don't know if you've seen it, and I'm not saying it's the best movie ever made, but the underlying message really touched me. I think you would like it.

Megan said...

I actually used to show it to my students at the end of the year when I taught Government. They all made fun of me, but I insisted the movie had a good message. . .because I really believe it does.