Rather than getting into a lengthy discussion of this weekend's anti-war protests perhaps the best way to understand their meaning is simply to listen to the protesters themselves. Here's a sampling of some of my favorite quotes from stories in yesterday's Minneapolis Star Tribune:
"The underlying motives for this government's actions have always been greed and racism," said Moonanum James of United American Indians of New England.
"In the spirit of Dr. King, in the spirit of Crazy Horse," he said, "no blood for oil."
In spirit of people I admire I spout off insipid clichés?
Aris Cisneros, 38, brought his two young children.
"I want Bush to see that his people are against the war," he said. "I want to show my children that they can stand up to stupidity."
You know Aris I have a feeling that your kids may start doing that any day now.
In Des Moines, about 125 protesters marched 2 miles in below-zero windchill. "Standing out in this kind of temperature is nothing compared to innocent people losing their lives in Iraq," said marcher Eric Kimmer, 32, a credit union worker.
Innocent people losing their lives in Iraq? Are you speaking of the hypothetical innocent deaths in the event of a US military action or the real innocent lives being lost today under Saddam?
Here's a little local flava:
Nancy Slocumb, 55, a research coordinator at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, said, "I deplore the killing of the Iraqis. We have no business saying that we are going to force a regime change."
Strapped to Slocumb's back was a Wellstone sign that a neighbor sent with her. "It's an eloquent statement because he was such a lone ranger in Congress," she said.
It's a statement all right Nancy but eloquent might not be the word I would use to describe it. Pathetic. Desperate. Sick. Perhaps disturbing.
"Why is it that we have the world's biggest arsenal of nuclear weapons?" asked Lana Abboud, a student at Bloomington's Northwestern Health Sciences University who came with the Anti-War Committee contingent.
Abboud, 27, said calls for Iraq to disarm are hypocritical since the United States has allowed countries such as North Korea, Pakistan and Israel -- and itself -- to possess weapons of mass destruction.
A dose of moral relativism that would make Chomsky proud. She seriously believes that the U.S. has no more right to nuclear weapons than Iraq or North Korea. Nuclear weapons that helped end World War II and win the Cold War. Would she rather that another country on earth had the largest arsenal of nuclear weapons? I don't think I really want to know that answer to that one.
And finally a well know figure makes what might be the best quote of the day:
Added civil rights activist Jesse Jackson: "We march today to fight militarism, and racism, and sexism, and anti-Semitism, and Arab-bashing."
I'm sure the people of Israel are sleeping much better knowing that the Reverend "Hymietown" Jackson is now fighting for them.