I attended a candlelight vigil outside the White House this evening. It was organized by MoveOn, one of hundreds of ‘New Priorities’ events held throughout the country today. My guess would put about 150 people there, which was pretty good turnout considering the full day of events and the rain that just let up in time for the gathering.
It’s very strange to attend an event like this for me: I feel very late to the game. One of my friends today said, “I did my protesting before the war,” and that’s completely understandable, and enviable. He’s got nothing to prove. Where was I back then? On my ass.
And, though I was basically prevented from participating during the past few years because of my profession, I do feel as though I haven’t done enough to end the war. I’m pretty sure I’m in a pretty large sample of the population in that regard.
Five years. Billions of dollars. Countless lives lost or affected, but what does the number of casualties even mean anymore? Thousands of American soldiers dead, and tens of thousands injured; perhaps hundreds of thousands Iraqis dead. When do the numbers start mattering? When does the will of the American people start to matter?
I don’t know. I hope it’s soon.
You can find a number of fitting rememberences around he Web today, and other resources. There’s Spencer Ackerman’s piece on the Iraq War as a recruitment tool for insurgents. Here’s Think Progress’s incredibly detailed timeline of the war , and the Center for American Progress reviewing the situation in Iraq.
So, back to the protest: I couldn’t help but be reminded of the brave souls in Silver City who stood on the corner at Gough Park every Tuesday, year after year. Simply amazing: their dedication to the cause, their foresight when so many thought war was a good option. I remember them setting up shop, the days in 2004 and 2005 when just two or three people were there. I remember the College Republicans mounting their counter protest, and then fading away as public opinion shifted.
They’re unsung heroes in our nation’s history, the people on the street corners in small towns and the nation’s capitol alike, who stood up and said “This is not the answer,” when the rest of the world was hypnotized by “Shock and Awe.”
It felt nice to stand next to some of these people tonight, and to record the moment with my camera.