I don't know what's more frustrating: arguing the war with people that agree with it, or arguing how best to protest the war with people against it!
I've successfully avoided the subject at work where I'm literally surrounded by people blindly in favor of the war who say things like, "We have to get them before they do something else to us," or, "Saddam gave Bin Laden the funding for 9/11," or, my favorite, "They're savages!" They regurgitate whatever they hear on the news unquestioningly as fact and never stop to think twice about the ironies of the situation. I'm waiting for someone to ask me about the Pledge of Resistance I have hanging on my wall or, even better, someone Googling me only to find my name on the Fraternal Order Of Police Pennsylvania State Lodge List Of Mumia Abu-Jamal Supporters aka, "shoot these commies if you pull them over!"
My favorite is that "they're cheating" by not adhering to accepted rules of war. Without even pondering the sad state of a world that accepts war as so necessary it has rules established for it, how do you "cheat" when you're fighting for your life and your land? Even one of the injured soldiers in the press conference this morning, Staff Sgt. Jamie Villafane, said he understood why the Iraqis might feel the need to fight dirty. I thought of grade school, when you're fighting the bully, how you did whatever you could because there was no way in the world you could take him toe-to-toe. Bite him, kick him in the balls, go for the ears, whatever it took to survive.
Finally the Bushies are coming clean that this won't be a quick and easy war. Curious at what point the body count and his approval ratings break even and start to head in opposite directions. For all of our sakes, hopefully sooner rather than later.
As for the anti-war people, there's currently a discussion raging within PSI over whether the organization should put forth a statement condemning the war. It's amazing how some supposedly enlightened artists cower when it comes to taking a stand on something.
This is what I wrote in response to a frequent adversary agreeing with me:
<< Now I have to say everything Guy is saying is right. He is not just rabble rousing and giving the EC and PSI a hard time. He is standing up for what he believes in. I agree with him and support his opinion on this matter as well as all the other poets who feel that this war is wrong and that everyones personal freedoms are endangered by it's prosecution. >>
Well, this is an interesting situation.
I had to reread my posts to make sure because I thought I hadn't actually said whether I felt PSI should take a stance on this issue. I was purposely keeping my opinion out of it as it has often proved unnecessarily polarizing. What I WAS attempting to do was support those who wanted the issue discussed and keep them from thinking they had no say over it happening.
That said, my own opinion has been one of mixed feelings led by apathy, more from old sentiments about PSI's viability and overall importance than anything else. As a result, I had even voted No on the poll here.
Thanks to *****'s passionate and reasonable post, I've finally made up my mind and am changing my vote.
I DO think PSI should take a stand, if for no other reason than to let their membership know what kind of organization represents them.
Is it only the commercial aspects of putting on shows and getting our organizational due for the current status of spoken word, or is there a deeper, more grassroots philisophy that subscribes to the belief that what we do is important and can and has changed people's lives?
Would this be as big a controversy if it were Canada or England we were attacking, places where we actually have dues-paying members?
As for examples of similar organizations taking a stance, why do we have to wait for someone else to lead the way?
Why can't WE be the organization other's look to as the example?
Fire in the hole.
Why am I back on that damn list at all, you ask? I don't know! These people aggravated the hell out of me in 2001 to the point it made it preferable to walk away from the whole scene. You should check it out if you've got the stomach: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/poetry_slam/ It's an open list that anyone can sign on to. If you're on the scene, get your two cents in or, just lurk and take in both some of the most self-righteous masturbation you'll ever see alongside the occasional moment of clarity from an assortment of freaks that call themselves slam poets.