Monday, February 12, 2007

When it changed

Thinking about the war this morning, hearing news of the House debate on a resolution to oppose the troop surge, the NPR story on Hillary Clinton's campaign and the shadow of war (can she justify her vote, or can't she?), Twain's War Prayer suddenly sprang to mind.

But in contrast, not comparison. Twain focussed on whipping the people into a froth to support a war; but no such froth was ever really whipped up over the invasion of Iraq. Millions turned out world-wide, indeed, to protest that war; they were ignored. Today, almost 70% oppose the war in this country alone; and still, it seems they are ignored. A curious factor: for all its bloodiness and bloodthirstiness, which Twain documented as well as anyone, the 19th century, by contrast with the 21st, seems to have been a model of democracy in action. As Twain told it in his War Prayer, unless the people were enthusiastic about war, war would not commence.

Today, it seems, even when the people are opposed to war, war cannot be brought to an end. Today, as The Daily Show often labels it, we are seeing democracy inaction.

I don't know precisely where it changed; but change it certainly did.

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