May 1, 2006


Protesters Give Bush the Finger (Tom Engelhardt, 5/01/06,

It's the perfect day for a march. Sunny, crisp, clear, spring-like. The sort of day that just gives you hope for no reason at all, though my own hopes are not high for New York's latest antiwar demonstration. I haven't received a single email about it. Many people I know hadn't realized it was happening. [...]

Perhaps such demonstrations are now not for the Bush administration, nor really for the mainstream media either, but only for us. Perhaps they are a reminder to all those who attend and to those numbering in their hundreds of thousands, if not millions, on the political Internet that we are here, alive, and humming. That is reason enough to demonstrate.

Yes, your marching is just about you.

Posted by Orrin Judd at May 1, 2006 8:19 AM

Actually, the theory that the American Revolution was started by self-centered protesters simply trying to indulge themselves on a sunny, clear, crisp, spring-like day is rather popular up here.

Posted by: Peter B at May 1, 2006 8:47 AM

Tax revolts are always about the self.

Posted by: oj at May 1, 2006 8:51 AM

It was interesting listening to some of the crowd's reaction on C-Span during their replay of Sunday's Darfur demonstration. Apparently a good deal of that group neither knew nor cared about Bush's previous discussions of the problem. They were simply there because it's become the compassionate issue de jour of the caring liberals, and were shocked that Bush had come to the issue two years before they had, when some of the speakers mentioned his name and their meetings with the president on the issue.

Just the mention of his name drew the reflexive "boo" for his warmongering nature from those in the crowd who were there to hear the usual suspects (Al, Jesse, etc.), even though many of the long-term activists on Darfur want Bush to do there what they're protesting he did in Iraq.

Posted by: John at May 1, 2006 9:18 AM

Collective interests are first discovered as self-interests. What would you prefer, revolts over meaningless abstractions as in Revolutionary France or Russia?

Posted by: Tom C., Stamford,Ct. at May 1, 2006 9:27 AM


No revolution.

Posted by: oj at May 1, 2006 10:48 AM

None?Ever? I think you need to pass a law or something requiring always wise, benign and disinterested rulers.

Posted by: Tom C., Stamford,Ct. at May 1, 2006 10:55 AM

Posted by: oj at May 1, 2006 11:00 AM

It's about the costumes and the giant puppets.

Of course, with Code Pink, it's about the giant protestors, too.

Posted by: ratbert at May 1, 2006 11:02 AM


No draft, no "anti-war" movement. The article doesn't dwell on that simple reality. The quoted language blames "apathy," and "too much television,"--that sort of thing.

Sorry comrades, we learned from Vietnam--you taught us well--not to fight wars of policy with draftees, not to put cowardice in service of treason.

Posted by: Lou Gots at May 1, 2006 12:43 PM

Interesting mental image appropriate for Leftwing demonstrations in general: 'giving Bush the finger" while sucking the same hand's thumb.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at May 1, 2006 2:58 PM


It should just be called the War of Independence. Personally, I don't consider it a revolution.

Posted by: Matt Murphy at May 1, 2006 3:23 PM

Yes, Independence was the mistake.

Posted by: oj at May 1, 2006 4:15 PM


Without independence you'd be British, French, Spanish, Russian or Canadian. Be happy you're an American.

Posted by: Tom C.,Stamford.Ct. at May 1, 2006 7:55 PM

Yes, history would have gone better had we stayed British.

Posted by: oj at May 1, 2006 8:02 PM

Without independence you'd be British, French, Spanish, Russian or Canadian. Be happy you're an American.

The British weren't opposed to a little imperial conquest when it suited their purposes. They'd have found a way to get their ally the tsar to transfer his American holdings, they could have made the Sandwich Islands a protectorate, they'd had a free claim to Oregon, they'd already grabbed the French territory in the north, or forced divestment elsewhere (remember, Lousiiana was Spanish until Napolean persuaded Jefferson to buy some stolen goods, cheap) and they'd probably have found a way to pick up some Spanish holdings (at least Texas and maybe Cuba?) while beating back The Corsican Ogre. By 1820 the only part missing might be California and New Mexico, and the Gold Rush would have taken care of the first.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at May 1, 2006 9:21 PM

Meanwhile, remnaining tied to Britain would have forced an end to slavery quicker and the permanent alliance would have prevented things like the Battle of Britain.

Posted by: oj at May 1, 2006 9:24 PM

Yeah, but we'd have lost baseball for Cricket.

Posted by: Mike Beversluis at May 1, 2006 11:29 PM

...and the "football" we'd be playing would be even less to Orrin's liking than the NFL.

Posted by: ted welter at May 2, 2006 12:37 AM

Blasted other commentators, beating me to the soccer punch.

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at May 2, 2006 12:50 AM

If the American south had been British, Britain would not have outlawed slavery in the colonies or the slave trade.

This delusion that it's better to be British than American, or that the monarchy can be saved, is bizarre, but you should feel free to emigrate to England (old Hampshire, perhaps), where you can vote for Tony Blair to your heart's content.

Posted by: David Cohen at May 2, 2006 8:16 AM

Yes, while we would have been saved the Civil War the far greater tragedy is that they would have been saved from socialism and WWI & II. We were easily able to recover, they weren't. In effect, we stayed British while they flirted with Frenchification.

Posted by: oj at May 2, 2006 8:22 AM

Jim: Isn't the "soccer punch" the one where you fake throwing a punch and then fall down, hold your hand, and pretend to writhe in agony?

Posted by: Mike Beversluis at May 2, 2006 8:35 AM


Insight and thoughtfulness are characteristic of both of your commentaries although you guys assume an awful lot. The USA exists because of the fight for independence. The ejection of European interests from most of the continent is directly related to that independence. Without it, who really knows how things would have played out? The revolution in France and the Napoleanic aftermath were little more than distant curiosites to Americans because we were detached. Thankfully.

Posted by: Tom C.,Stamford,Ct at May 2, 2006 12:22 PM

Britain was next door and didn't fall for the French model in 1789. Though they did by the early 20th century.

Posted by: oj at May 2, 2006 1:08 PM

Tom: I'm all for the Revolution.

Posted by: David Cohen at May 2, 2006 4:16 PM


I know. I don't understand oj's belief that we'd be better had we retained closer ties to European ways.

Posted by: Tom C.,Stamford,Ct at May 3, 2006 9:28 AM

England wasn't Europe. France is Europe. All we are is the English way.

Posted by: oj at May 3, 2006 9:31 AM