Maybe this isn’t a great debate but it doesn’t seem like there would be a factual answer.
Every time I walk through Union Square during one of these peace demonstrations, I am always struck by the disproportionate number of:
-drum beating hippies
-NYU liberal arts students
-ranting lunatics (I mean real freakin psychos)
-other assorted fringe elements of society
-and of course a large number of generic people I can’t identify as part of any specific subculture
I don’t see any Wall Street or corporate types (contrary to the popular belief of ignorant liberals, corporations are peopled with regular folks with a wide variety of political beliefs). There are very few, if any, “jocks” or guys wearing varsity jackets and baseball caps. I don’t see people who look like they took Metro North in from their home and 2.5 kids in CT.
So what is it about peace protests that also attract the type of people who are at the very least, fringe elements of society and at worst actual crazies ranting at the top of their lungs at anyone who cares to listen?
I think a lot of these people get a lot of their sense of self by defining themselves as being DIFERENT. It’s not the same that they just be different, they have to make a big case of it so that everyone else knows how DIFFERENT they are. And because they’re DIFFERENT, they’ve just got to be smarter, right?
A lot of it boils down to plain old fashioned insecurity.
People protesting seldom come to protests wearing three piece suits or accompanied by their limo drivers. People wear casual clothing and often dress up garishly in an effort to draw more attention. The whole point is to get attention so that thier voices will be heard.
I personally think it’s because those folks tend to be more “Peace love and understanding” types. This could have some bearing on the fact that they don’t support a war.
And, FTR, the last few times there has been footage of a counter-rally, the people shown have all been Jane and Joe middle America types, with kids in the strollers and SUV’s in the background…
Not much point in staging any rallies at this point, of either kind. Now is the time for “low casualty, mass Iraqi surrender, regional stability” rallies. Boring, but realistic. It’s all over but the cryin’. If I have my Western aphorism correct.
But, I have read that some protesters are thinking about trying to infiltrate Vandenberg AFB, to which I say: Duck, and cover.
Even loonies are allowed to hold political opinions. Actually, msmith357, I know what you mean. In the past, I’ve hesitated to join protests because I think that the colorful fringe drowns out the more moderate element.
One possible theory: The ordinary folks are there; they just don’t get noticed amidst the patchouli and piercings. After all, jeans and a T-shirt are pretty much standard casual wear, whether you’re an investment banker or a (gasp!) liberal arts student.
In my experience, the reason that protests in general (left or right) tend to get lunatics is because they’re the ones that care the most. Often, these are people with plenty of time on their hands, with particular obsessions in certain subjects. In fact, with a lot of protests on a certain subject, it’s the same group of lunatics over and over.
It seems pretty simple to me: normal people are too concerned with the pressing issues in their individual lives to protest things that only peripherally affect them. I’m a pretty normal guy, against the war in Iraq for my own reasons - but would you see me at an anti-war rally, counteracting the weirdness of all the hippies and bongo-beaters?
Plus, normal people have to work for a living. Dreadlocked, nose-pierced, bongo slapping, hackey sack playin hippies can just head out of mom’s basement and spend a few days protesting without missing a paycheck like the rest of us.