Thursday, May 18, 2006

The Mechanisms Are in Place

On Marc Cooper's blog the other day, folks were kicking around that over-generalized chestnut, "The Anti-War Left." To the right-wingers, it's anyone to the left of themselves. To moderates and liberals, that's the folks who've been organizing the anti-war rallies for the past three years.

I'm one of those people who had no complaints about the Iraq invasion at the beginning: I figured, so we'll get Saddam the way Daddy Bush nabbed Noreiga and be out in a month. But even as things began to evolve in quite a different direction, I still had reservations about marching in the demonstrations here in NYC. Rather than go into detail about why, read this cartoon of Peter Bagge's.

So why is it that seeming nutjobs are in charge of something very serious? It's because during the '90s, while we moderates/liberals/libertarians were grooving along to relative peacetime in the Clinton economy, the people at the fringes of the left and right kept manning whatever barricades they could get their hands on, getting the permits and organizing the troops. They had the mechanisms firmly in place, so in a time of crisis, when more mainstream people were looking for an outlet, they had one to provide.

The whole thing reminds me of another area and another experience. When my husband's cancer was first diagnosed a couple of years ago, the holy-roller cousin of a good friend announced that she would pray for him. This sentiment was also expressed by less sanctimonious friends, and welcomed by us. But while the holy-roller was somebody we would have ordinarily avoided during normal times, during that particular crisis I somehow had this idea that her prayers would carry more weight with the Almighty than the improvised amalgam of my Judeo-Catholic upbringing and some mumbo-jumbo I picked up when I was learning to read tarot cards in high school. I figured she had the mechanisms in place.

Jim went for the set-up for his radiation treatments yesterday. They spend a couple of hours positioning you and marking you so that they know where to shoot the rays that will kill the invader without killing you. So the mechanisms are in place for that, too.

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