Tuesday, March 27, 2007

We watch and weep

A lengthy but interesting piece explores the expansion of antiwar sentiment in the last few years but the relative lack of public demonstrations compared with the Vietnam era. His conclusion rings true to me -- that it's about a loss of public trust that their leaders would pay any attention:
Today, it crosses no young minds that the top officials in the White House might be listening. Many fewer young people, I suspect, have any remnant of that deep faith that our political system could be responsive to them or that anything they could do might change it. When they look to Washington, what they see is fraud, dysfunction, conspiracy, cronyism, cabal, influence-peddling, corruption, fear -- in short, a system, a world, beyond response, possibly beyond repair, and utterly alien to their lives. In such a situation, despair or apathy tends to replace anger and hope.
I'm not sure that I agree with the Bill Moyers quote here that this is part of a dwindling belief in democracy -- I think that many people who have given up on the efficacy of public demonstrations are very invested in the power of the voting booth -- but merely that Bush has so frequently demonstrated his disinterest in public opinion (or, really, in national interests) that it's clear that there's no point in directing any of it his way. It's terrible feeling that you can only grip your armrests and wish the next 18 months to fly by, so that we can put a more rational and trustworthy leader in charge of our domestic and foreign policies, but it's not the same as giving up entirely. Although the dark cloud meantime is much the same . . .

(via This Modern World)

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