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Jewish World Review Sept. 2, 2004 / 16 Elul, 5764

James Lileks

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Save America from those who would save it | What exactly did the protesters at the Republican National Convention want? Not much.

They want George W. Bush defeated, of course; dragging him in chains through every city in America would be nice, but they'll settle for Washington and San Francisco.

They want immediate withdrawal of troops from Iraq, leaving that peaceful country to Muqtada al-Sadr and the Iranians; abolition of the U.S. military; health care and housing for everyone, paid for by dissecting Bill Gates to see how he lays the golden eggs. Oh, and no more capitalism, because it's mean.

Let's look at the placards from the big Peace and Justice and Hugs and Love rally that spilled through the streets of New York. These might not reflect the mainstream opposition to Bush, but you have to ask yourself: How many Kluxers and FREE TERRY NICHOLS signs did you see protesting the Dems in Boston?

If you were to march to oppose John Kerry's promise to give the Iranians nuclear fuel, and all the signs accused him of being in league with U.N.-funded Gay Abortion Doctors, wouldn't you wonder if your side had gone a bit daffy?

The cable stations covered the marches. The bloggers posted the screen shots. Oh, such bounty:

"BUSH" with a swastika for the S; Bush as "The Real Terrorist" with his face imposed on Osama bin Laden's head. John Ashcroft in a KKK outfit. Bush with Satan horns. One gigantic banner saying, "SAVE AMERICA — DEFEAT BUSH." It's that dire!

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Naturally, all were mowed down by Federal Machine-Gun Gangs, with the stragglers beaten into black vans and hauled off to the Staten Island landfill. No? Well, they'll have to work on the whole police-state thing; details need tuning.

More: "Empty warhead found in White House," with a picture of Bush. Hah! That's more frightening than a warhead found in Iraq brimming with sarin, of course. A placard with a threat: "You're next after Milosevic" — meaning an interminable war-crimes trial, apparently. Milosevic has been charged with mass murder and forced relocation, crimes reminiscent of fellows such as Saddam.

Saddam who? The protesters might ask. Oh, right. That poor man they found in a hole. Terrible how he suffered.

We continue: Bush and Hitler as mirror images over the words "WANTED FOR MASS MURDER." It goes without saying that these people would probably have marched against invading Germany, too. NO WAR FOR SAUERKRAUT!

On and on. Were there puppets? Of course. Nothing impresses the mind of the unconvinced better than papier-mache. If those people can mold plaster of Paris on chicken wire into a vaguely recognizable shape, they must have insight on international affairs! One puppet had Bush's head — or Kerry's head; the medium is not known for verisimilitude — and its tongue read "FEAR HATE LIES." How true. Because no one had fear or trepidation about terrorism until Bush used his silver tongue to cloud our minds.

Bush is insane: "Elect a Madman You Get Madness." Bush is racist: "BUSH (hearts) JIM CROW." Bush invades countries because every molecule of his body cries out for whiskey: "George Bush is a Dry Drunk on a RAGE!"

Religion entered into the march, of course; "Satan is a Republican," one sign stated. Apparently they found his registration card. "God is voting for the Democrats," said another. He was on the fence until He heard Al Sharpton speak in Boston.

One man, one placard: "Why did Bush knock down da towers?" Oh, I don't know. Death lust. Blood fever. Kicks 'n' grins. He wanted to jump-start the collectible plate industry by giving them a new date to kitsch up. You tell us.

Elsewhere, a sweet message for the Bush twins: "Help fight population growth, Mr. Bush — send your daughters to Iraq." How nice. Death to Jenna and Barbara, so they don't reproduce. Try this: "Capital Punishment for Corporate Crime." But Free Mumia!

For some reason the parade did not go all the way down to ground zero. But why should it? You can imagine the protesters standing there, wondering why — it's just a construction site, so what does this have to do with Bush?

What does it have to do with anything?

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JWR contributor James Lileks is a columnist for the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Comment by clicking here.


08/26/04: The character (or lack) behind the Kerry candidacy
08/19/04: Time for Old Media to make like McGreevey
08/12/04: Another Swing Vote: the Sufferers of Sudden Bush Hatred Fatigue Syndrome
08/05/04: Is Kerry's Problem nuance? Or is it obfuscation?
07/30/04: Intimate liability
07/26/04: Sandy Berger's classified wardrobe
07/15/04: Pretty faces, ugly words
07/08/04: Genocide can't happen if we banish the word
07/01/04: Dropping political discourse level
06/24/04: Kerry's Science Buddies and the Silly Sanctity of Life
06/17/04: Behold the Summer of Bill Clinton!
06/10/04: Whatever happened to respect for the presidency?
06/03/04: Tales at the intersection of war and popular culture
05/20/04: Athletes on Notice: Strive Unflaggingly
05/13/04: America likes Rumsfeld, and the Dems can't take it
05/07/04: Kerry Supporters Have a New Take on Vietnam War
05/05/04: New cell phone does everything, but there's a problem...
04/29/04: John Kerry, prisoner of symbolic politics
04/22/04: Shall we grovel? Kerry Plan to Restore America's Place in the World
04/08/04: Sept. 11 Might Have Been Different If ...
04/02/04: Slinging slime or citing facts?
03/26/04: One War, One Enemy
03/22/04: Bloodied Spain Rejoins Old Europe
03/12/04: Why All Those Foreign Leaders Want Kerry to Whup Bush
03/08/04: Introducing the Kerry Doctrine
02/27/04: Introducing the AWOLs: Angry White Outraged Libs
02/20/04: Sifting the headlines of election year 1992
02/18/04: Guess Which Candidate Our Enemies Want to Lose in 2004?
01/29/04: Every Laptop a Truth Squad
01/27/04: When the battle over artistic freedom goes over the edge
12/31/03: For the Left and Right, Some New Year's Resolutions
12/22/03: Dean's black helicopters
12/15/03: Dems Are Mainstreaming the Extreme
12/08/03: Does Dean Really Want to Be President? One Wonders, When He Opens His Mouth
11/24/03: The real story: Most Brits see U.S. as force for good
11/19/03: The Trouble With Al Gore's Screed on Civil Liberties
11/11/03: Can a fellow win with the Confederate Metrosexual vote?
10/22/03: Let's make Greenpeace pay
09/29/03: Ah-nold & Clark may be on different sides of the aisles, but their supporters are cut from the same cloth
09/19/03: All Hail the Ninth Circuit Court of Surreal
08/26/03: This time, the record industry doesn't stand a chance!
08/18/03: Assessing the Schwarzenegger Factor in Republicanism
08/08/03: No wonder Howard ‘Two Covers’ Dean gets all the buzz
08/04/03: Expect bad news for the foreseeable future
07/28/03: Despot's Deserts
07/21/03: No winners in this game of gotcha
07/14/03: Doing the right thing in Liberia may not be the right thing to do
06/27/03: On feet in Democratic mouths
06/16/03: The real story behind Hillary's book
06/09/03:America's new mission was and remains: Extirpating the flaming nutballs and the societies that nurture them
06/03/03: The Constitution as gag order
05/23/03: Sometimes the theme of world events is chaos itself
05/16/03: Newspapers are only human, after all
05/13/03: What McCarthy messed up
05/06/03: Still think the International Criminal Court was a good idea?
04/03/03: The world is ending, the world is ending! Doesn't anybody care!? Why won't anybody listen!?
03/14/03: Kerry and the Dems are banking on American electorate's tendancy to forget history
02/28/03: Roadmap to peace?
02/13/03: We live in an age where the poet has been cast out from the halls of power --- sob, sob
02/10/03: Found: League for International Justice and Peace talking points
01/30/03: The US can go to war whenever it likes for its own reasons, and all the UN can do is pass more worthless paper
01/23/03: People who'd volunteer for the Iraqi army if they saw Saddam wearing a "Free Mumia" button
01/16/03: One of those head vs. heart things
12/27/02: Whistleblowers?
01/06/02: The second year of this jangled millennium
11/16/01: Attack of the 'Patriotism police' and other Hollywood fare
11/12/01: From the bleats of dismay
10/30/01: Osama and the Genie
10/08/01: "We can stop the Bush Death Juggernaut"
11/04/01: America, loathe or it leave it
09/25/01: Do the Europeans actually think that the war on murderous zealotry will be furthered by undercutting America?
08/27/01: If the economy is in a funk, why aren't we dancing?
08/14/01: Dubyah's embarrassing presidential vacation
08/10/01: Hail to our co-chiefs?
08/03/01: Constitution: George the Uniter picked a doozy to unify detractors
07/25/01: The real reason why we need missile defense (What those uppity policy wonks won't tell you!)
06/18/01: Paining the egalitarian soul
06/01/01: One of the stranger indexes you'll ever hear about
05/21/01: One man's toke is another man's snort
05/08/01: Republicans want poisoned water
04/23/01: We bleat as we're sheared
04/10/01: Boys will be boys. And that's the problem
04/06/01: Pity the anti-American Left, they're gonna have a hard time on this one
03/26/01: You've been warned
03/16/01: The GOP's inexplicable desire to fold
02/23/01: Will the Jeb Bush administration attack Saddam in 2011?
02/09/01: In search of the the first ashtray thrown by a member of the First Family
02/06/01: Can you say 'Ayatollah Bush'?
01/24/01: The new Executive Orders
01/22/01: Hey, Dubya: Wanna save Ashcroft? Teach him to rap!
01/09/01: Bubba gets his last licks
01/05/01: The low-down on the coming recession (What those snooty economists won't tell you)
12/23/00: Memo to Dubya: Wanna show who is boss? Nuke 'em!
12/06/00: The Count of Carthage
At the Sore/Loserman Transition HQ
12/01/00: The Count of Carthage
11/28/00: Clinton knows history isn't written by the victors anymore
11/17/00: Chad's the word
11/08/00: The strangest political night
11/07/00: Get ready to return to the Dark Ages

© 2003, James Lileks