Demonstrators lose sight of original causes, motives


    The protests in Crawford have been all over the news lately, so in case you’re planning a last-minute trip to join the ranks of the protests, here’s a little guide to help you find a home among the five protest camps.You might belong at a pro-Bush camp (Reality, George or Qualls) if:

    – You and your spouse have a mutual agreement to divorce if either George or Laura Bush becomes available.

    – You are either wearing an article of clothing with an American flag printed on it, or you have actually draped yourself in one.

    – You can come up with catchy one-liners on the fly like, “Hippie go home,” or “Go smoke some pot.”

    – You refer to the president by his first name, or you have a picture of him in your wallet.

    You might belong at a pro-Sheehan camp (Casey 1, Casey 2) if:

    – Your chosen form of protest is ad-libbing an anti-Bush song while playing your guitar or reading poetry to sheriff’s deputies.

    – You have no problem with breast-feeding your four-year-old child in public.

    – You cover your face when passing the secret service checkpoints to avoid being entered into their top-secret database.

    – You would head to the protest right now, but instead you’ll wait to carpool and conserve gas; the money you save in gas will be used to purchase anti-Bush bumper stickers, at least six of them.

    All humor aside, none of these are grounded in any truth and none are really accurate characterizations of either camp. Honestly, my assertion of these stereotypes is unfair to both sides. This is, however, an accurate representation of the vast differences between the two sides of this argument.

    Going from camp to camp is like traveling between two eras in American history. So, if you’re like me and habitually search out the middle ground in every situation, you’d be homeless in Crawford this week.

    Crawford is not the real world – it currently exists in a void where the middle ground does not exist. You’re pretty much for them or against them. If you are unsure of your position, you’re against everyone.

    I don’t doubt their conviction or their dedication toward their causes, but I think the causes many have come to support have shifted.

    There’s no doubt that, at some point, Camp Casey was simply a protest of the war in Iraq. There’s also no doubt that, at some point, Camp Reality was erected in support of our commander in chief. As thousands have flooded into Crawford, however, this whole fiasco has simply outgrown the original causes.

    Standing and observing the two camps, you’re more likely to hear a comment from Camp Casey complaining about U.S. oil consumption, or a gem from Camp Reality like, “Tofu burgers are ready,” or “Get a job hippie.” Many seem to be opposing the people on the other side of the road more so than the ideal they represent.

    That is what disappoints me the most about this whole situation. Crawford has become the site of a squaring-off between two lifestyles, two political ideologies, and two groups of people who couldn’t be more different if they tried. While the two camps are just a few feet away, they’re miles apart in principle.

    Both sides have one thing in common though: They’ve created an ordeal that is eroding the once venerated right of the “people to peaceably assemble,” as stated in the First Amendment. Even worse, they’re doing it under the pretense of an anti-war demonstration.

    This First Amendment sacrifice will continue until good old-fashioned loyalty to the executive branch returns to the forefront of the pro-Bush demonstrations, and the anti-war movement refocuses its attention to Operation Iraqi Freedom.

    Watching the most extreme liberals and the most intense conservatives in the country duke it out on the nightly news in the name of a soldier who gave his life for his country, like Casey Sheehan, is shameful at best.