What a disappointment. Nothing against the old folks, but they simply can’t match the energy of a young crowd of college kids unencumbered by work responsibilities or age-related health problems. The whole rally was flat, dispirited, and even boring. I felt especially sorry for the speakers: it’s hard to rile up a crowd when so many attendees are afraid to stray too far from the porta-potties.
The languid mood was reflected in the pedestrian anti-war slogans. Speakers led the crowd in bland, rhythmless chants like “Troops! Home! Now!” and “Pull! Out! Now!,” thus showing an awkward reluctance to invoke words with more than one syllable. They couldn’t even muster the energy to launch into a refrain of the ‘ole “Hey, hey. Ho ho . . .” chant, a nice rhythmic incantation that is usually a staple of antiwar demonstrations.
Dominated by the '60s generation as it was, it was unsurprising to see a galaxy of signs and booths invoking the sacred cure-all of nearly every 1960s radical -- socialism. “Bush is the symptom, Capitalism is the disease, Socialism is the cure” blared one giant banner. “Defeat US Imperialism. Socialist revolution is the only solution” intoned a pennant by the League for the Revolutionary Party. “Defend China, North Korea, and Vietnam Against Imperialism and Capitalist Counter-Revolution!” was the motto of the Sparticist League. That last slogan I found to be one of the most offensive statements of the day -- right up there with one speaker’s invocation of Maureen Dowd as an authoritative social analyst.
It is sad that in thirty years, the U.S. Left hasn’t come up with a better idea than socialism. Dejected, I wandered away from the workers’ champions and approached a drum circle. Even this was dominated by superannuated radicals who couldn’t seem to play anything other than quarter notes. I struck up a conversation with one of the few college-aged girls in the vicinity, who asked me how I liked the music. As a drummer myself, I told her that I’d like to see the musicians venture outside of a 4/4 time signature. Perplexed, she picked up her “Buck Fush” sign and walked away.
Looks like a site worth exploring.