Portland, you've changed history.
To the liberals, peace be with you. Tonight's protests were almost entirely peaceful. If we could get the attention of the media and majority through legal protests, then that's what we should do. If we could change the government through the legal means that are supposed to be available to us, then that's what we should do.
But, we need to face the facts. We are enemies of the very system that we hope we will change. Our government is not a true democracy as few people participate in or acknowledge the responsibilities of self-governance. Our legal system is classist (lawyers cost money; bail costs money; whites are typically handed less severe sentences for the same crimes as non-whites; money promotes legislators into election). The people who flair 'freedom' and 'liberty' as American rationales for war and consensus are, very unfortunately, products of the mind-numbing, consent manufacturing machine of the corporate system.
For example, immediately after Bush's televised ultimatum on Monday, a poll of about 700 people was conducted. This poll found that 77% of people who had viewed the speech were in favor of the US position as opposed to 60% of those who did not view the speech. A large number of the people polled (note that a post 5:00 PM telephone poll limited to people over 18 has specific demographics that are probably more in favor of the war than others to begin with) had seen the speech.
The result? A slight (and likely temporary) statistical increase in support of the president's position. This increase, which can be tied directly to the time of polling and the speech (how interesting the president's instruction to Iraqis to not destroy oil wells (in fact, it is considered a 'war crime')) has been bandied about all week long as though it was a meaningful increase in support for war.
Through the protests Tonight, far stronger than any since the 60's, a true spirit of freedom, democracy, and independence has been shown. The American people are not all drones. Despite the persistent efforts of the administration and it's corporate backers through media, legislation, and agression, has not destroyed the American love of liberty. Instead, more and more are coming around. More and more and seeing, perhaps for the first time, perhaps as reaffirmation, or perhaps as they have seen continuously: A Democracy must be governed by the people.
Today the people of Portland assumed there own governorship and demonstrated very effectively through efforts thought of these days as radical, that the basic human right to peace is worth defying centralized authority. That makes me very proud to be your countryman. Thank you, peace activists, for shutting down the city and starting up the evolution of the American consciousness.
p.s. Fuck off rightwing trolls!