I opened the Sunday morning edition of the local Trib, hoping to see a story about the anti-war rally in downtown Salt Lake City that Hubby and I attended on Saturday. Instead, nearly the entire first page (Section A) featured a large headline depicting “the popularity contest” between the Republic and Democratic mayoral candidates. There were also 4″x4″ color photographs of each, even though most people in town already know what they look like. Then the story continues on pages 4 and 5 (Section A) with a nearly total 2-page spread with more photos devoted to the candidates.
Also on the front page was a story running along almost all of the right-hand column about the Milwaukee schools voucher program, appropriate, I suppose, because Utah will be voting on November 6 for or against their own school voucher program. But on page 1? Especially since Milwaukee’s voucher program differs substantially from that proposed in Utah.
Finally, on page 5 of Section B, there was a large full-color photograph, 4 column width by 5 column inches, of what was described as “about 1,000 protesters marching down State Street to the City-County Building as part of an anti-war rally organized by We the People for Peace and Justice. The main speaker was the current SLC Mayor, Rocky Anderson. Two-hundred pairs of shoes and boots–all marked with the names of Iraqi civilians and U.S. troops killed–were laid out across Washington Square Park as haunting symbols of war casualities.
An Iraq War Veteran, Jeff Key from Alabama, who is now protesting against the war because of emails and phone calls he receives from fellow military personnel, reminded us that we’re in a war that cannot be “won” in the conventional sense of “winning” and “losing” wars. No matter how long we occupy Iraq and no matter who else we bomb in the Middle East, the enemy who, according to President Bush is “Terrorism,” remains faceless. There will never be a General Terror who will sit down with President Bush or General Petraeus and say, “We Surrender. You whupped our butts good. You win.”
Where’s the outcry against the horror that nearly 4000 Americans have died in a foreign country that we invaded because the current occupiers of our White House said there were weapons of mass destruction there? If there are no WMDs, as we now know, then why are we still there? If two-thirds of Americans are against continuing the war, then why are we still there?
I believe it’s because too few of us face direct sacrifices, except indirectly through our pocket books, for higher gas prices, etc. And the print media is letting us down relegating stories of this importance to the back pages of our newspapers. Otherwise, this rally in downtown SLC– going on simultaneously with others with not jst one-thousand, but thousandS in attendance in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago, Rochester, NYC, Philadelphia, Chattanooga, Jonesborough (Tn), Denver, and South Dakota–might have rated a full-page story on the front section of SLC Tribune.
I believe if all or most of the American people were as impacted by the war as those who have sacrified sons and daughters for a war that will never be finished, and those who destiny decrees will be added to that growing club of grieving families, there would be many thousands more protestors in many more cities than the dozen noted in this post.
Here’s a thought. What if the draft were reinstated, forcing a more equitable burden of this war across the country and across the economic and opportunity divide? Well, for starters, we’d all be less apathetic. The stories of outrage would be bigger and less easy to contain, and our streets leading to the city-county buildings to rallying places would become pocked with foot traffic. Then those rallying stories would be plastered across front pages, rather than buried in Section B, page 5.
We knew when the Prez started this that it was his Vietnam war. Many of us who opposed that are tired. It’s not impacting the young. I don’t know what’s happening with the middle agers, but we all need to stand up and take some action. “Where are the activists,” someone asked me this weekend. I couldn’t answer.
Thanks, Alice. You’ve said it just the way I would if I could write better.