Not Exactly a Lunatic Fringe

In that last post, I linked to an article about a poll showing than fewer than half of Americans think the war in Iraq is winnable. I cited that one because I couldn’t locate another piece that showed how many people support ending — or at least starting to end — the war in Iraq. Well, I found it.

A recent Gallup Poll , for instance, found that 63 percent of Americans — almost two out of three — support the immediate partial or complete withdrawal of U.S. troops. Fewer than one in three Americans support Bush’s handling of the war.

As Froomkin points out, it’s going to be increasingly hard for Bush and Republicans to marginalize or dismiss a growing number of Americans. But there’s another question that’s kind of bugging me, being a denizen of D.C. The anti-war movement is coming to town. And simultaneously, Democrats are getting the hell out of Dodge.

As the anti-war movement arrives in Washington this weekend, many top Democrats are leaving.

Nationally known Democratic war critics, including Howard Dean, the chairman of the Democratic National Committee, and Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, Russell Feingold of Wisconsin and John Kerry of Massachusetts, won’t attend what sponsors say will be a big anti-war rally Saturday in Washington.

The only Democratic officeholders who plan to address the rally are Reps. Cynthia McKinney of Georgia and John Conyers of Michigan.

Today’s leading Democrats head a party divided over the war, and many leaders are wary of standing with anti-war activists, who represent much of the party’s base. The divide between anti-war activists and Democratic leaders underscores a challenge the party faces in the 2006 congressional elections and beyond. Some activists say that Democrats such as Clinton and Kerry who criticize the war but refuse to demand a timetable for withdrawal are effectively supporting the status quo – and may not merit future support.

At a time when more and more Americans are coming around to the idea that the war in Iraq is an intractable problem, why are Democrats getting are far away from an anti-war march as possible? Well, it may be due to wariness of some of the participants and sponsors; in particular International A.N.S.W.E.R. Their purposes for the march are a little bit broader than just ending the war in Iraq.

End Colonial Occupation

from Iraq to Palestine to Haiti

Support the Palestinian People’s Right of Return

Stop the Threats Against

Venezuela, Cuba, Iran & North Korea

U.S. out of the Philippines

U.S. out of Puerto Rico

Bring all the troops home now

Stop the Racist, anti-Immigrant and anti-Labor

Offensive at Home, Defend Civil Rights

Military Recruiters out of our schools & communities

It’s an array of issues some say might be too broad.

I read posters in DC last night that made this thing sound like the “everything but the kitchen sink” coalition was running it. The poster, from A.N.S.W.E.R., said the protest was about ending US colonialism, or some such crap, in Haiti, Palestine, Cuba and beyond.

I for one will have nothing to do with a protest that is devoted to that kind of wingnut crap. I sincerely hope that ANSWER has nothing to do with the Sheehan protest, because if it does, I’m going to recommend folks don’t go.

It’s an interesting point, because a good many of the Americans who count themselves as supporters of all of the above. But should this be enough to keep people from the march? Do people need to agree with everything the sponsors — everyone else at the march for that matter — believes? Sure, it might be enough to keep career politicians — who are wary of paying a political price for being associated with some issues — away. But I don’t see a reason everyday people shouldn’t attend.

The point is that opposition to the war in Iraq, and support for ending it, isn’t a lunatic fringe position (if it ever was). Heck, it’s not even a minority position anymore. I’m willing to bet that, while there will probably be some “far out” elements to the march this weekend, there will probably also be a lot of people who look like anybody you might run into in any town in America. Maybe more than anyone expects.

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About Terrance

Black. Gay. Father. Buddhist. Vegetarian. Liberal.
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