February 17, 2003

Let's Keep This In Perspective:

tivMuch has been made in the blogosphere of the fact that some anti-war protests this weekend -- presumably planned and exercised by people for peace -- turned violent, such as this one in San Francisco, and well as those in Greece, London, and New York.

True, many special interest groups saw the marches as an opportunity not to articulate opposition to war in Iraq, but to promote their own agenda. And true, some of these expressed their sentiment with rocks, spray-paint, and fire -- which is patently disgusting and unacceptable behavior, but which should come as no surprise given the size and nature of the crowd.

But let's be honest: these violent incidents do not represent an indictment of the entire Left as non-rational hooligans … any more than last Fall's post-game riots in Columbus, Ohio indict all sports fans as violent thugs. Nor do they evidence a massive philosophical double-standard among the anti-war movement.

What these incidents demonstrate is that every crowd has its share of idiots ... idiots who came for the fervor of the demonstration and for the opportunity to act out their adolescent aggression. This shouldn’t surprise us any more than it surprised the police in the U.S., who on the whole exercised an admirable mix of justice and restraint.

Indeed, I feel compelled to recognize to the millions of demonstrators who saw the marches for what they should be … an opportunity to peaceably assemble, exercise their right to free speech, and articulate their personal view of the situation in Iraq. And to them I say two things: first, I disagree with your argument (and for some of you, I believe you have no argument). But second, thank you for engaging in the political discourse and for exemplifying civil behavior. Doing so is what the First Amendment is all about.

And to the violent among them, this message: You’re everything that’s wrong with America, and you have no idea what political discourse is about. And while I respect your right to assemble -- peaceably -- I have no respect for your lack of civility. May your jail cell be cold, and crowded with thugs far more frightening than you.

UPDATE: And Pejman weighs in with this ...

Posted by Avocare at February 17, 2003 09:51 AM
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