American Way of Protest

Looks like the bridge team may be allowed to play again:

U.S. Bridge Team in Shanghai

Who knew so many people cared about bridge? A nearly record-breaking number of comments piled beneath on Wednesday’s column about the U.S. women’s bridge team’s anti-Bush protest, most of them supporting the ladies.

“We did not vote for Bush,” read the sign they held up during the team’s victory ceremony at the world bridge championships in Shanghai last month.

Commenters on the article pointed out that they feel compelled to do the same when they travel internationally. I know the feeling, kind of. As a teenager and foreign exchange student I had to field inquiries regarding then-President Jimmy Carter and development of the neutron bomb, as well as to accept condolences upon the death of Elvis.

Some decry the lack of protest over this presidential administration, the Iraq War and its occupation but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. Local events seem often the only ones on the radar. We’re aware of the City Council resolution and the weekly downtown vigil. Some Chicago-area events such as the recent anti-war sit-in of high schoolers in Berwyn may get through, but not much else. Regular media coverage leaves the impression that these are small, isolated incidents but they are many and during anniversaries they tend to coalesce. What did we do before the Internet?

Sometimes we wonder whether the kids are paying attention. They are.
Seattle Students

Here’s former attorney general Alberto Gonzalez trying to give a speech at the University of Florida.
Gonzalez & Protester

Civil Liberties and, a bit later, Habeus Corpus were gently led off the stage by security. (This time, it looks like nobody got Tased. Good for them.) Gonzalez didn’t get a great reception in Corpus Christi last week, either. (Way to make him earn his $40,000 fee on the speakers’ circuit.) Karl Rove and Donald Rumsfeld have faced less-than-adoring crowds, too.

Black Friday coverage included earlybirds with special shirts. Shopping Protesters

Veterans are among the most active of the Out of Iraq, er, activists. Veterans protested in Veterans Day parades this month from Boston to Louisville to Phoenix, and were barred from doing so in Long Beach and Denver.

Some people think that protesting war on Veterans Day disrespects veterans. I beg to differ. Veterans Day started out as Armistice Day, an observance of the end of hostilities in WWI and meant as an exercise in promoting peace. It was the war to end all wars, remember?

President Dwight D. Eisenhower gets the last word. Here is his 1954 Veterans’ Day proclamation:

Whereas it has long been our customs to commemorate November 11, the anniversary of the ending of World War I, by paying tribute to the heroes of that tragic struggle and by rededicating ourselves to the cause of peace; and

Whereas in the intervening years the United States has been involved in two other great military conflicts, which have added millions of veterans living and dead to the honor rolls of this Nation; and

Whereas the Congress passed a concurrent resolution on June 4, 1926 (44 Stat. 1982), calling for the observance of November 11 with appropriate ceremonies, and later provided in an act approved May 13, 1938 (52 Stat. 351), that the eleventh of November should be a legal holiday and should be known as Armistice Day; and

Whereas, in order to expand the significance of that commemoration and in order that a grateful Nation might pay appropriate homage to the veterans of all its wars who have contributed so much to the preservation of this Nation, the Congress, by an act approved June 1, 1954 (68 Stat. 168), changed the name of the holiday to Veterans Day:

Now, Therefore, I, Dwight D. Eisenhower, President of the United States of America, do hereby call upon all of our citizens to observe Thursday, November 11, 1954, as Veterans Day. On that day let us solemnly remember the sacrifices of all those who fought so valiantly, on the seas, in the air, and on foreign shores, to preserve our heritage of freedom, and let us reconsecrate ourselves to the task of promoting an enduring peace so that their efforts shall not have been in vain.