The peace movement has proven completely ineffectual in the eight years of war in Afghanistan and seven years of war in Iraq. Public demonstrations and vigils attract no interest and change no minds.
How annoying then that Tea Party demonstrations draw vast crowds and are now considered a serious influence over the decisions of elected officials. Yes, I know, unlike the peace movement the Tea Party movement gets enormous news coverage and overt encouragement from popular news media, but so what.
Tea Party demonstrations might indeed be a stealth marketing campaign for the Republican Party masquerading as a grass roots movement, but lots of ordinary citizens respond to their appeals and show up to their demonstrations. Those people care legitimately about taxes and our national debt.
What’s the peace movement to do? Rather than sit home and sulk, or hold another unnoticed vigil, the peace movement should use the Tea Party to rally Americans to demand an end to the wars.
So let’s all show up at Tea Party demonstrations with signs that show how ending the wars is completely harmonious with Tea Party goals. Tea Party people hate taxes and big government spending and borrowing. Wars can be catastrophically expensive. As I write this, the cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, paid for largely with borrowed money, is about $981 billion. By the time you read this, that number will seem quaint. You can see what the war has cost at www.costofwar.com (a mouse-over shows an outdated page, but the site itself continually updates).
When people from the peace movement show up at Tea Party events, I hope they drop all of the other reasons for opposing the wars. Tea Party demonstrators do not want to hear about morality or international law or neglected domestic programs. Buttons for other causes should be left at home.
Our signs should be about the dollar cost of war. The dollar is not only the currency of this land, it is the currency of Tea Party discourse.
On April 15, anti-tax Tea Party demonstrations will be held all over America. I hope you show up with a sign about the cost of the wars. Maybe you’ll be shown on Fox TV, which wouldn’t happen at a candlelight vigil for peace.
You say your town’s angry anti-tax citizens and deficit hawks have no Tea Party demonstrations scheduled? Organize and publicize your own. Maybe they’ll join your demonstration, if it doesn’t sound like a peace demonstration. They haven’t joined peace demonstrations yet, despite the many years of war, and our staggering national debt, but they might start now. I think my sign will simply say “2 wars cost us $980 billion.” Or maybe “2 wars cost NYC $32 billion.” But I’ll have to update the cost immediately before the event begins.
I hope to see you there April 15. In New York City, the party is at City Hall Park, 7-9 p.m. You can Google the event in your location. Bring your friends.