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Friday · April 09 2004

I haven't asked for permission to quote directly, but I responded to an email from a friend this morning that predicted anti-Bush crowds at the Republican convention in September would shut down traffic. Comparing to the 1968 Democratic convention, “The anti-war movement back then was small and loosely organized compared to the massive, internet-supported movement building against Bush-ism-in-general this year.”

I post the following for a broader discussion with an open mind and fully aware I'm a novice at thinking critically about politics.

My answer in email:

I completely disagree with characterizing the
internet-supported movement building against Bush as
massive. Haven't we learned anything from Howard
Dean? The internet is an echo chamber of a relative
few with the ability to bang pots and pans and appear
to have a ton of support.

I wasn't alive in 1968 and I don't know how big the
anti-war movement was, but real rallies and protests
are real activism. Posting Bush jokes, comics, and
tirades on blogs and message boards is not. It's
venting and pretty useless because you're not raising
awareness to anyone that doesn't already agree with
you. Listen to Air America Radio for the same effect.

We're liberal minded urbanites with computers and high
internet literacy. Not exactly the cross section of
the country. If I went into work everyday and read
nothing political online ever, my sense of the next
election would be hopeless. An election on my floor
would be something like 10% Kerry, 70% Bush, 20% I
have to pick up my kid at 3 o clock, who cares.

I hope I'm wrong, but I don't see the Republican
convention becoming a shitstorm of protest.

Archived: Political » April 2004
What you had to say:
April 12 2004

Keep in mind the major anti-war rally in Chicago shut down lake shore drive for hours. You saw the footage even though it was grossly under-reported. This was predominantly an internet-supported phenomenon.

Also, I think you have really underestimated how some organizations like MoveOn have really thrived. It now has more members than the Christian Coalition had at its peak.

"Massive" is a relative word. 10,000 can do a lot. There were more at the anti-war rally last year and there are a lot more people pissed off at Bush now - especially in New York. I wouldn't be surprised if at least 1/2 million people show up to protest. 1/2 million people can make things pretty uncomfortable.

I think it could get ugly for Bush, but I'm not sure the media will show it. Even though a lot more people protested in Chicago, we saw a lot more national coverage of 100 people tearing down a Saddam statue in Bagdhad. Now we see how silly that moment was.

© 2004 Jason Keglovitz