Wednesday, August 25, 2004

A Faith-Based Protest

John Kerry is still trying to live down his condemnation of our war in Vietnam. At Cooper Union last night, where Abe Lincoln once condemned our aggression against Mexico, Kerry said “I defended this country as a young man, and I will defend it as president.” But he did not defend this country in Vietnam. After all, we lost that war. The Communists won, and they haven’t given us a bit of trouble since. So what was he defending?

That’s a point being made by pacifists, who are coming to town in large numbers. They oppose violence even in self-defense. Their movement began as a faith-based doctrine - “turn the other cheek.” Now our home security forces have been mobilized in record numbers to keep this germ from infecting the celebration of war at the Garden.

The Times, in its inimitable way, gently scolds both sides - the mayor, for not letting peace-lovers march past the Garden or assemble on the Great Lawn , and the peace lovers for refusing to let him pin them up over by the Hudson. It said they should “accept whatever disappointments come their way with dignity.”

Well no, I think they will respond with indignation, determination and imagination. Think about Ghandi, and Martin Luther King, and the Selma bus boycott, and the sitdowns at lunch counters. A word of warning, though. Any large crowd will draw some trouble-makers. This one is likely to be penetrated by provocateurs. We know from long experience that the dirty tricksters will stop at nothing. Peace demonstrators must do all they can to isolate them, get in their way if need be, and try to persuade the media ihat we are not there to break windows or hurt anybody. On the contrary, peace is what we’re about..