I wasn't at any of the big events like Kent State or Chicago but back in the late 60s I did more than my share of demonstrations. I think they made a difference in the public perception of the Vietnam War so I'm interested in their resurgence today. I've been searching for coverage of yesterday's march in DC and I've had this Buffalo Springfield song rolling in my head while I ponder why they don't seem to have the same impact anymore.
I blame the media. Hell, they barely cover the war itself, much less the marches and what little coverage they give them, tends to be dismissive. Looking at the MSM stories, here and here, they minimize attendance and with media consolidation you don't get the variety of perspective that we used to get when every hometown paper would send a correspondent to cover the events.
We don't get a count because the government doesn't allow it and the photos, even those taken by the participants, rarely give a true picture of the size of the crowd. I notice mostly rightwing bloggers covered this one and they so blantantly choose their shots towards misleading mockery that it makes their outraged puffery over MSM photo doctoring look all the more pathetic.
But it's difficult to understand why at least the organizers though don't get some better shots. Perusing the Flickr galleries, here, here and here, the best crowd shot I found hardly conveys the thousands said to be there. I don't why, with all those tall building lining the avenue, that somebody doesn't just at least get a shot down the street from a upper floor. Instead they seem to concentrate on the oddballs and the signage and the protest babes.
The counter-protesters on the pro-war side didn't fare any better this time. I saw little coverage and even the wingers seemed to ignore their own, so I expect the turnout was rather short of the claimed 1000. The most coverage they seemed to get was from the WaPo, who came up with this quote from the pro-war attendees.
"We just want a chance to show America we don't agree with the vocal minority," said Deborah King-Lile, 55, of St. Augustine, Fla.
This is the most remarkable aspect of the pro-war supporters to me. They can read the polls and surely notice on the street that they're outnumbered but yet they're still living like it's 2002 and they're in a majority. Mindboggling disconnect there.
However, no one can accuse the WaPo of sensationalizing the conflict between the two sides. They noticed this exchange between two opposing demonstraters.
"We don't have to yell and scream at each other. Ultimately, we want the best for our country," Eke said.
"He makes good sense," DeStefano replied.
"If we call each other names, we'll never have a dialogue," said Eke.
DeStefano: "Absolutely right."
Someone should have told that to this guy though. Witness the civility of the right. He's demonstrating in support of the troops, who are fighting for our freedom to -- according to him -- STFU. Yeah, it doesn't make any sense to me either.