The Line, Part I

There are three parts to this consideration. Here is Part II. Here is Part III. The subject is the Bring the Troops Home from Iraq march and rally of Saturday afternoon, March 11, 2006. Both papers estimated 500 people attended, which is a lot. Here is a decent recap.

Cut in Line

I didn’t want to go last Saturday. I was 11 years old in the pivotal year of 1968, and most of the years since I thought I was born about 10 years too late. Oh, what a hip hippy I would have been. The hair may still have been long in the late 70s when I hit college, but the attitudes already were changing, for the Reagan decade to come.

But in more recent years, all this seemed like folly. Our friends are well-meaning and enthusiastic about expressing it. We find ourselves staying in Fayetteville because we know such people. But look at us, any time we’re out in this form: Blue jeans below, faded but hip T-shirts in the middle, and on top gray or coming-soon-to-gray hair on top. This afternoon, though, there’s a noticeable smatter of people outfitted in L.L Bean or comparable. I even met people from Benton County (conservative Wal-Mart HQ).

Who exactly are we out here for? The president, even the local Republican Congressman Boozman, are going to hear about our numbers, our enthusiasm and our logic and sincerity? Then they will go, “D’oh! They’re right! Bring the troops home.”

Or, perhaps we’ll be seen on TV by struggling families whose wage earners process chicken parts. Maybe we’ll be noticed by the newly arrived executives of Wal-Mart and related businesses. All will say either, “Let’s write our senators and get this episode behind us,” but probably, “Honey, didn’t you take ‘Woodstock’ back to Blockbuster? Oh, it the local TV news.”

My wife said that’s dour and wrong. I said, we cannot possibly make a difference skipping down Dickson Street then cheering at the square. We want to bring the troops home, then we vote. We tell others to vote. We insist that it’s time to give the government back to the Democrats.

The only problem is, the Democrats.

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