In light of the current administration’s warmongering, the anti-war movement has sprung up in full force, with weekly protests downtown, and fliers on every corner. Unfortunately, it seems that the people interested in these issues are more interested in forming groups and fostering a feeling of togetherness and community than accomplishing any real change. Sure it’s great that 5,000 people gathered downtown to protest the war, but what did this accomplish other than to block traffic and occupy the city police department for the day?
Not a thing.
The people responsible for the war and their supporters are not here in Santa Barbara or on the streets of Washington, D.C. They are in office buildings either hard at work for the government or interest group promoting their agenda or making enough money so that they can ensure that those who support their agenda make it into office during the next elections. They are not at protests on Saturday mornings; they are at work, putting in the hours and with the dedication that it takes to be someone who makes a difference in society.
The left-wing movement needs to realize that effecting the change you want to see in society is not a weekend activity or flavor of the week social event for when they do not like the actions of the current administration. Rather change is a lifelong task that takes cohesion in every part of one’s life with all working together towards this goal. Unfortunately, the trend of the left wing seems to be the opposite. It weakly mobilizes more for the sake of show when necessary and then quietly fades into the shadows once the threat has passed.
This trend accounts for why 35 years after the beginning of the social revolution, those protesting against Vietnam are professors or social workers, still unhappy with the way the country is being run. They are out protesting on Saturdays while the right-wing members of society have slowly bided their time, slowly working their way up the social ladder and are now in power and ensuring the country is being run the way they would like it to be. This is why the country is still being run by the same set of self-interested people and no real progress has been made.
It is time we learn from the successes of the right wing and begin to use the ways and means they have so carefully set up to help. Those who are against the war, learn from the failure of our parents’ generation to make a change in society and move on from protests that accomplish little or nothing and on to putting our time into substantial efforts that will eventually yield the change we are looking for.
This means realizing that the change we are interested in is not going to come in 20 weeks worth of protests but 20 years worth of hard work and dedication. And if you decide that these issues are not that important and do not really affect your life enough to maintain an interest and you would rather go back to being an art history or language major, do not be surprised.
Do not act like you do not know how the country is at war again in 20 years, when the political science, engineering and especially the business/economics majors are still running the country and you do not agree with their policies.
James Beach is a senior philosophy major.