If all goes as planned, tomorrow will make for interesting times in San Francisco.
Under aegis numerous anti-war groups, mass actions are planned throughout the city. San Francisco's protests form part of a larger nationwide "day of protest" commemorating the anniversary of the invasion of Iraq.
As anyone who attended last years protests will tell you, this will be a scattershot affair organized by groups like "Queers for Palestine", Earth Flag, A.N.S.W.E.R., SF, among others that come together for the day. The war protest is a template from which they grind a very personal ax. Watch out for those out of place shouts for gay marriage, the environment. anti-globalization, Indian issues or whatever.
Given this mix bag approach it is actually quiet surprising (and a stark rebuke to Bush's ill fated policy) that the core message from last year has proven to be 100% correct: no weapons of mass destruction, no embrace by the Iraqis, more civilians then soldiers have died and, as the bombings in Madrid prove, we are no safer.
Though, in contrast to Europe, being right has done little to change the general perceptions of the War or President Bush. More the point, the protests failed and tomorrow's will too. If change is to come the protesters need to face reality. George W. Bush has one cause, and a unified audience behind him, fearful, right-center, middle and upper class America and rock hard backbone of evangelicals. Until the protesters make in roads with them nothing will change.
In fact, guerilla protests with swarms of black-clad wannabe Che Guevara's stirring up trouble is doing more harm than good. If they really want change, protesters (and the left in general) need to start chipping away at Bush's base. Not as impossible as the press and the religious right would have us believe.
Instead of whining about things normal folks see as nitpicky (the conflicts of interest associated with the war; the fact that the President and his praetorian guard of neo-cons lied to us, etc.) the movement needs to focus on the thing important to the general unwashed mass: money and God. That's it, in their eyes nothing else matters when you have a job, tuition to pay and a personal Jesus to answer too.
All is not lost. It is still possible to get them thinking anti-war and anti-Bush. There are facts on-the-ground right now the movement can capitalize on to turn the tied. Whether or not the far left will openly talk about the fact that we are spending billions to bail out a hoard of ungrateful Iraqis is open to question but they should at least scream from the rooftops that our soldiers are coming back in body bags to serve grand dreams in the Middle East and that massive numbers of innocent human souls are dying needlessly. Those facts hit the Christian Right and Bush knows it. That's why you no longer see dead Iraqis on Fox News.
If the protesters put aside frindge issues and created a real dialogue about these issues only even the most ardent evangelical will start to pay attention. It's body bags, billions and babies. That's it, over and over again.
But here is the big problem. Today, traditional voices have been disenfranchised of any voice within the anti-war movement. Like it or not, this movement is controlled by people most Christians and "normal folks", are morally opposed to being associated with. In a perfect world all those whack jobs with their bad b.o. and conspiracy rants would stay home, they won't and its crying shame.
Happy revolting, children. To bad it does more harm than good.