Skipping homecoming to march

Do war supporters see President Bush as only a leader for their fear?

I was originally going to write this column on the pleasures of Super 8 mm film. I’d mention the pleasant noise of the film projector and compare the colors of the Super 8 film projections to the colors newborn babies see. I’d point how Super 8 film slows the pace of life and makes it possible to see a person’s gait, see each strand of a girl’s hair blow across her face and see how shadows seem more defined than they appear in real life. But that column will have to wait. This weekend is one of an early homecoming for the University of Minnesota, but it is also one of crystallization of the current antiwar movement.

Instead of marching in a parade, I will be riding a bus for 22 hours to get to Washington, D.C., for what is anticipated to be the largest anti-war demonstration in the United States against the Iraq war. I’m going largely out of curiosity. Does anybody have sympathy for the president? Do war supporters see him only as a leader for their fear? Do protestors even empathize with Bush as a human?

In many ways I feel sorry for President Bush. I believe somewhere down inside of him there is a spark of humanity that realizes his crusades against homosexuals, against innocent civilians of foreign and home origins, the environment and against the future citizens of this country, are wrong. Somewhere inside of him there is a boy who just likes to play baseball. But now President Bush and his like are caught in their own power struggles. Does President Bush cry at night?

And in all of this, who can blame Bush and his kind for taking advantage of the country’s collective apathy. Much of the blame can be placed on a Democratic Party that too easily abandons its most progressive factions and ideals. Can the progressive Democratic Party that brought us Franklin Delano Roosevelt be recovered? I don’t think so. They are too far gone. They are the beasts of H.G. Wells’ “The Island of Dr. Moreau” – originally beautiful distinct creatures, now sewn together, ugly and deformed. The Democratic Party should really be abandoned and allowed to die its pathetic death. The Democrats are a party for the corporations as much as the Republican Party is. They even run their party like a corporation using people as mere tools without really caring what they think.

Americans want authenticity. They want honesty. They want people who stand for something. In this, Bush was better than Al Gore and John Kerry. I think Bush really does believe his policies are best for the United States. His disinclination to confront the public and seriously engage in discussion over his policies combined with Karl Rove’s masterful staging has really insulated the him from having to deal with the truth that his policies aren’t the best option.

In many people’s minds, Cindy Sheehan is an authentic character. She lost here son, Casey, in Iraq and now she wants answers. What did Casey die for? And in many ways, the anti-war movement is different for her authenticity. It is not composed of disgruntled Gore voters. It is not composed of terrorists. Rather it is composed of real Americans asking questions. Why are Americans dying in Iraq? Why did the president neglect the people of Louisiana and Mississippi during and after Hurricane Katrina?

I’m skipping homecoming to march in a parade. Hopefully, we’ll all be better off.

Karl Noyes is the Editorials and Opinions editor. Please send comments to [email protected].