Dace Ebert

I Left My Bleeding Heart in San Francisco

SF protestThis whole anti-war movement seems more and more like a joke to anyone who's paying attention, and I wouldn't doubt if it were being led by pro-war forces. After all, the easiest way to maintain power is to create your own enemies.

So how can we change foreign policy? Obviously, not by making conceptual art. If that's all it takes, we'd see a lot more congressmen and CEOs doing that.

The way that anyone can change foreign policy is to get elected to office, so you've no one to blame for making poor decisions in your name. Short of that, you can lobby congress.

If all the masses who "marched" in the big anti-war party (and that's what it was, a party) took off to Washington to organize a mass lobbying of Congress people, it might actually achieve something productive.

And please, people, do not use U.S. Postal when sending serious mail to your representatives (important documents are shipped FedEx). And please don't fool yourself into thinking that your congressperson is going to read every one of his/her thousands of letters a day. That's what secretaries and advisors are for. The advisors are going to pay a lot more attention to the few letters addressed to them instead of the thousands to their bosses.

This protest nonsense is akin to voting. It's a way of controlling potentially unruly, dissident factors of society. Like voting, it's a way to make people feel like they're doing something without actually having to do anything. No, the power does not default evenly amongst us. Not every voice counts. Remember the Florida?

Speaking of which...how much money do you think was spent on BART tickets to the last big peace rally? How much extra income could protestors have earned by going to work that day, instead of to the rally?

What if all that lost income was invested in a clever anti-war ad campaign that stretched over weeks and included multi-media exposure, prime-time TV commercials and billboards? That certainly would have spread the message more efficiently than this little political fashion show. And never mind preaching to the converted. The Bay Area's more anti-war than Switzerland.

Another way to affect foreign policy -- and this may be flat out inconceivable to some -- is to start, or become fundamentally involved in, a major commercial company. When you get right down to it, any nation is founded on the interests of a common economy. Those who have the most economic value within that organization (the nation) get the most say. It's really that simple.

Is there anyone clever enough to spin the numbers to make the war looks unprofitable to Chevron and Nike? I'm sure there are, but they probably already work for Microsoft.

I suppose it's nice that all these people think they care, but after you decide you care so much, what are you willing to do about it? Are you willing to give of yourself? Are you willing to move to DC? Are you willing to start a company? Go to school and study poli-sci? Or is the extent of your activism to talk loudly, get arrested, and cause a scene? Any drunken idiot can do that.

So honk your horns, play you're little songs, and march along in your political fashion shows, hippies and squirrels. Remember while you're having your BBQ for peace, there are people in high places, who fought hard to get there, who are actually getting things done.

Dace, 21, is a contributing writer for Youth Outlook (YO!), a youth newspaper of Pacific News Service, and its sister publication, Sprawl magazine.

Tell us what YOU think! Email editor@wiretapmag.org with any other ideas you have on how people can work against the war.