Sunday, November 04, 2007

Finger in the dike

(No, this post isn't a gender slur.)

For four years, I've been hauling around in my car a big sign that I display on weekly "peace marches" and at street corners in Santa Barbara and beyond whenever the mood strikes me that I've got to do something other than grumble about the state of the nation and type little ditties on this blog. The sign, for the first several months, carried varying messages: "Impeach Cheney First!", "NeoCons? No, same old con." "Wake Up, America, Impeach!" and the like. About two years ago I settled on a single message: On one side of the sign are listed the current figures for dead and wounded G.I.'s and Iraqis, and for the billions of dollars spent on the Iraq war and occupation; and on the other side is the exhortation, "Out of Iraq--Now!" I settled on this display because I believed the issue of the illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq was the single most important question of our time.

But my view has been overtaken by events. Now we have to deal with an imminent attack by the crazed US executive on the nation of Iran; a battle between separatist Kurds and Turkey's military, that could expand into a regional conflict involving a NATO ally on one side and the nation we occupy on the other; US threats and Israeli aerial attacks on Syria; the continuing deterioration of Afghanistan's "democracy," now involving a burgeoning poppy trade and the resurgence of the Taliban regime; and most recently the sharp reversal in Pakistan, a nuclear-armed "ally" in the "global war on terror," now despotically ruled by a military dictator whose allegiances and stability are at best questionable. When I add in the ongoing failure of the United States to address climate change, income disparity, health care, corruption in politics, drug addiction, childhood obesity, rampant materialism, loss of meaningful employment, loss of civil liberties, torture and imprisonment without trial--to list a few of the present outrages extant in today's America--I'm beginning to feel that my sign's protest is but pissing in the wind.

On the other hand, I've decided not to change my sign--except to amend it daily to display the latest death toll--because I don't have room on it for the above litany, and it wouldn't make sense to the viewer if it simply said, "Arise and Revolt!" People who saw it would simply think it was an ad for a rock group or a new energy drink.


Unknown said...

Maybe "Everybody Wake Up!" or ... "Holy crap! We're in big trouble," on one side. "Imeach Bush-Cheney on the other."... Nah, I can't think of anything general enough, that wouldn't be too vague, and wouldn't get you cited for obscenity.

Erik said...

I'm thinking of "Imp" on one side and "each" on the other.