Move the White House

During three days last week, there was a distinct feeling of change in the air. It wasn’t an early spring, but more of a political shift—a moving from right to left, from evil to good. A possible overcoming of war fever.

It started on Friday with Hans Blix (my early nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize) and his deconstruction of Colin Powell’s dream sequence regarding the current dangers posed by Iraq. It gave one hope that right could overcome might.

The feeling grew as thousands rallied at the state Capitol on Saturday. There were 10,000 protesters surrounding the Capitol and just a few Bush supporters across the street. Was the real majority unsilenced? Then, when millions more around the globe also protested, a window of optimism opened, and peace seemed like a reality.

But the peace movement is not likely to move anyone in the White House. The same peace protesters with the same message have spoken before. The administration in Washington simply noted the protests and moved on planning its march on Baghdad.

What is needed is a broader, growing coalition that can’t be ignored.

For instance, minorities in Sacramento were not well-represented in the crowd. Blacks from the Nation of Islam were at the rally; they’ve been against the war for months, and yet no one asked them to speak. The same goes for the Republicans for peace who were there. I would have loved for one of them to step up to the microphone, but instead we heard from the usual suspects, the professional activists. (If you want a completely different take on the demonstration, see “Peaced off,” page 18.)

Peace organizations take note: It’s time to broaden the platform to allow everyone against the war to get up and speak. Then, Bush will count votes and listen.