Make It Stop

Went down to the protest yesterday. The march from UNM to Downtown marked the third anniversary of the Iraq War, and similar protests occurred all over the world.

The Albuquerque turnout was great—by my rough estimate, there were probably around 1,000 people. Better still, the APD didn't bring out their nightsticks and tear gas on a crowd filled with kids, seniors and puppies on leashes. The entire event passed without police violence.

I've been to my share of protests over the years. It's nice to see people voice passionate nonviolent dissent against government activities with which they disapprove. I love the costumes. I love the signs. I love the drums and music. Lord knows I love the puppets and other creative props.

What I don't love, however, are the painfully lame slogans. Here are three particularly annoying examples I heard yesterday:

1-2-3-4

Stop this illegal war!

Peace, peace, more peace!

What do we want?

Peace!

When do we want it?

Now!

Are you kidding me? If I wanted to organize a parody of a war protest, I would encourage people to chant these slogans. Most of the crowd seemed to agree—it was almost impossible to get any significant number of people to start chanting these tired cliches. Personally, they embarrass me. I also have a sneaking suspicion that they're counterproductive. Any ordinary person who hears this kind of thing is going to think we protesters are just a bunch of burnout hippies freeze-framed in 1970.

Not to undermine the sincerity of the people who turned out. Not at all. Certainly, people need to hit the streets to voice their opinion over a disastrous war that's becoming less and less popular with each passing week. Next time, though, let's either come up with something new to say, or let a massive silent protest reflect the will of a silent majority.