By Dan Rinderle (associate editor for The Post)
November 1, 2005
Rumor has it that democracy is dead.
At least that is the truth that theWorld Can’t Wait organization is touting as the basis for its Nov.2 protest of the Bush administration. For all the holier-than-thou rhetoric that characterizes its agenda, the WCW lacks one inconsequential detail – logic.
Now, before accusations of fascism are thrown my way for not violently denouncing Bush for his “crimes,” let me assure you that Dubya and I will not be four wheeling around Crawford, Texas anltjme soon. The chances of that would be as likely as the president tap ping into Cindy Sheehan’s military expertise.
Although WCW claims that the Bush “regime” is illegitimate, a quick glance of its Web site, http://www.worldcantwait.org, reveals no hard evidence; it merely cites that Bush stole the last election to support its claims. Nor does it offer anything except fear-mongering doubletalk. WCW labels Bush (and all the politicians that have failed to challenge him) as fascist. Yet in its FAQ section WCW admits that the president is not really a fascist, but rhetorically asks, “Why does it matter?!”
WCW also claims that their movement will remove Bush, Dick Cheney and all the other “fascists” from the U.S. government faster than you can say FEMA. It is ironic that WCW’s demonstration calls for students to walk out of their classes when the organizers clearly need a history lesson. The line of succession, should the president and vice president resign, goes through the speaker of the house (who is also a member of the
GOP) and on down the list of the those so-called fascists. So for all the chest-thumping about what WCW can do, they offer no concrete plan of what they will do – should their scheme pay off.
Aside from the befuddled platform of WCW and its orsanizers lack of understanding how democracy really works, the most severe flaw of its movement is the means by which it seeks to elicit change. WCW’s Nov. 2 event seems to be an attempt at reviving the spirit of the Vietnam anti-war movement, but like most recent political demonstrations, it is an exercise in futility.
Sadly, the major protest that will occur on Nov. 2 is not some grand statement or demonstration; it is instead the most elementary form of political protest – a walkout. Not only was that tactic not employed in the Vietnam War opposition, it also has never been applied in any movement that actually obtained social change. Unless you count my high-school peers that walked out to protest the cancellation of the school newspaper – I’m sure it was them and not the lawsuit that the editor-in-chief’s lawyer father threatened the principal with.
To the public, a walkout conveys nothing more than lack of ingenuity and pure apathy. Political protests must signify commitment strength and purpose to bring others down off the fence and not just seem like a temper tantrum. The Civil Rights, Free Speech and Anti-War Movements of the 1950s-70s would never have succeeded in their goals if the walkout was the dominant means of protest. Campaigns like “Jail, No Bail,” “the Freedom Rides” and lunch counter sit-ins all convey one message that walkouts simply do not — the protestors are committed to changing the system instead of foolishly trying to circumvent it.
Instead of concrete planning, WCW offers hyperbolic rhetoric. In place of realistic goals, WCW broadcasts its celebrity endorsers. In exchange for a long term commitment WCW offers its followers the privilege of being part of a one-time demonstration with the promise of real change.
Although the antiwar movement has merit, the means by which theWCW seeks to practice its opposition is an insult to its predecessors and the spirit of democracy. Unless the war’s opposition gets serious about developing a real plan, which can only be achieved through years of struggle, then all the walkouts in the world won’t do anything but get some college kids a bit of exercise and confirm the latest rumors.
The true spirit of democracy is dead, and the WCW killed it.
–Dan Rinderle is a senior journalism major and The Post’s associate editor.