March 19, 2006

The peace rally.

The Wisconsin State Journal reports that "several hundred people" showed up for yesterday's peace rally here in Madison, Wisconsin:
It was one of several protests scheduled across the state, nation and world to mark the three-year anniversary of Bush's order to invade Iraq. In addition to marking the date, the state organizers were trying to build support for April 4 referenda planned in several Wisconsin communities asking voters whether troops should be withdrawn.

In Madison, chants such as "This is what democracy sounds like," or "Hey hey, ho ho, Bush and Cheney have got to go" were popular.

Towering above the crowd was a 10- foot-tall "Earth Mother" body puppet worn by Terry Ross, 46, a member of the Madtown Liberty Players, a group that performs in parks and at the Dane County Farmers Market.

"We're here to talk about taking care of our country," said member Shawn Brommer, 37.
I understand that there must be puppets. And I understand that "hey hey, ho ho" is required. But should you really be chanting "This is what democracy sounds like" when you have a tiny turnout?

MORE: Meanwhile, in France 500,000 people go nuts rioting over the government's plan to limit job protections. Somehow, they think it makes sense not just to get violent, but to aim that violence at cars and restaurants. Let's take a moment to feel thankful for our American protesters, puppets and all.

IN THE COMMENTS: Is there something creepy about chants per se? Do you try to avoid chanting? As far as I remember, the only time I ever participated in a protest-type chant was circa 1970 at the University of Michigan. The chant was "Open it up or shut it down." We were students threatening to strike unless the University of Michigan adopted a policy of affirmative action.

YET MORE: Uncle Jimbo has some photos. He was there to observe, not agree, and he praises the speakers for their "upbeat" tone and "the lack of any heinous Bush-hating."


Dale B said...

I understand that there must be puppets. And I understand that "hey hey, ho ho"

I understand the "Hey Hey..." chant is a protest tradition dating back to the Vietnam era antiwar protests. Sometimes traditions are a good thing. Still, for me it's a deal killer. Even if I agreed with the protest I could never participate if they were doing "the chant." I do enough dorky things without realizing it so I always avoid acting that way on purpose.

I have never understood the puppets though. Where did they come from? I don't remember seeing them in the Vietnam protests. Maybe I just wasn't paying attention. They are kinda cool though. At least they show a bit more imagination than "the chant."

Dave said...

Can we all disabuse ourselves of the notion that the disaffected French have any sense of perspective?

All my European friends mock France. (Even the French.)

(I'm not trying to sound pretentious when I say "all my European friends." I live in NYCm and, well, there are a lot of European transplants that I run into...)

tiggeril said...

Dale B beat me to it- why are they still using the same old chants?

Balfegor said...

But should you really be chanting

I don't think the substance of the chant is even the deal-breaker for me -- it's the fact of the chant itself. It transforms what might otherwise be mere "protest" into something that seems cult-ish and almost fascistic.

FXKLM said...

They're using the same chants as the Vietnam protestors because a lot of them (especially the leaders) were at the Vietnam protests. A lot of those people never grew up.

PatCA said...

Protesting, wearing tie-dye, chanting, puppeteering all used to be signs of rebellion. These people are aping their parents, not protesting against the old order. It all seems so shallow and calculated, like a Star Trek convention rather than political theater. I guess this is what the Left has come to.
Kids today...!

tiggeril said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
tiggeril said...

Using the same old chants doesn't seem subversive or progressive.

It's almost quaint. Or god forbid, traditional.

Der Hahn said...

I think this is evidence that certain groups could turn up the volume, if they really felt the situation had as much impact on them as the changes the French are proposing would have there.

So long as the Iraq war is perceived as primarily impacting poor red-state male christers, and brown people far away, it isn't going to generate much interest outside the professional protesting class.

Robert said...

The people!
Provide a bigger target!

s1c said...

Another protest andother chant, ho hum.

Gaius Arbo said...

Uh oh, now I have to update my blog. Giant puppets have been sighted.....

It really does seem extremely silly (at least to me since I remember the Vietnam protests) that these people are either the exact same or are pretending to be. It's like Peter Pan gone bad......

XWL said...

At there's an amusing thread contemplating what would be the appropriate group adjective for a grouping of french students (like a murder of crows or crash of rhinos, etc).

As far as the protests yesterday, it's interesting how light the turnout was. The celebrity dotted (kicked of by Paul Haggis) protest that shutdown Hollywood Blvd. only attracted a couple thousand diehards (meanwhile the Marathon today attracts tens of thousands participants and onlookers).

For a president who's supposed to be so unpopular, and a war that's supposed to be universally hated (if you buy the spin coming from large chunks of the media), few people, even in the most liberal of areas, seem interested in protesting.

Could be the 'dirty effin hippies' syndrome, nobody but left wing nuts want to be associated with hippie-ish activity, or it could be the polls are exaggerating the state of play, people dislike the problems going on now, but they support the goals of this conflict and the president (but there's frustration currently regarding methods)

And the protest that drew a few thousand here (though the organizers ANSWER LA claim 20,000, a rule of thumb, whatever organizers claim, divide by 10 and then you might be close to the truth) was put together by real live Maoist.

I guess in place of Pres. Bush's policies that group would like to experience the joys of a 'great leap forward'.

Pogo said...

The logarithmic decline in attendance at anti-Iraq protest rallies surely speaks louder than any ginned-up polls.

You know what leftists really care about?
In France this week, over a half-million students took to the streets to protest a change in labor laws. They care more about prolonging the nanny state than about some desert in the Middle East.

What do Madison collegians really care about?
Hands down you'd see a bigger turnout for:
(1) a drunken Halloween mini-riot
(2) decrying cuts in student loans
(3) protesting an affirmative action bake sale
(4) someone spotted Matt Damon in the Quad

Verification word ~ njchz:
the number of times one can recite the Lord's Prayer per minute

W.C. Varones said...

The San Francisco rally was amusing.

Hey said...

I'm loving the bigger target chant!

Immensely hilarious.

If AmeriKKKa was as fascist as these people claim, they really would be a bigger target.

USSC precedent with respect to encitement and criminal facilitation is really unfortunate, for so many of these people could be prosecuted and jailed for very, very many years thanks to their lovely traitorous speech. Though it seems that even the UK, with very good jurisprudence on these subjects, doesn't take the actions and speech of these people seriously, only prosecuting 5 of the "behead those who insult islam" folks.