Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Silhouettes on the Shade

There’s an old song in which a guy walks by his girlfriend's house and sees, on the window shade, the silhouette of a man and woman embracing. Assuming it's his girl with another man, he reacts:

Lost control and rang your bell;
I was sore.
"Let me in or else I'll beat
Down your door!"
Then two strangers who had been
Two silhouettes on the shade
Said to my shock,
"You're on the wrong block !"
Have a listen; maybe you've heard it before.

This sentimental old relic came to mind while reading yesterday’s column in the Democrat and Chronicle by one Michael D. Connelly. Representing a group calling itself “Declaration of Peace,” Mr. Connally was among the people who occupied Randy Kuhl’s congressional district office in Fairport two weeks ago.

You can see photos of the incident and its protagonists at Rochester Indymedia. (Thanks to The Fighting 29th for bringing this link to our attention). In the photos you'll see some of the usual suspects who pop up around Rochester now and then to profess hatred for this country, most of its people and most of their values.

Now, understand that here on dear old Mustard Street we advocate pulling American troops out of Iraq. We view this war as, in the first place a mistake, and now a lost cause. Americans don't and won't support long wars. When the public doesn't support a war, this country can't win. And Americans don't support the war.

This puts us in bed, on this issue, with some of the more regrettable elements in the political culture. But our motives are very different from theirs, which are illustrated so starkly in the following photo excerpt from a July 3 D&C article.

Nevertheless, we're talking today about tactics, not motives: about how to get our government to pull out of Iraq.

Which brings us back to the stunt at the Congressman’s office.

When our fellow-travelers on the Iraq issue – International Socialists, Declaration of Peace declarers, Death For America cultists and others of like persuasion – took over Kuhl’s office to end the war, they made the same mistake as the guy in that old song.

We must tell you -- to your shock -- you were on the wrong block !

Republicans lost control of the Congress last November. Apparently while you weren't looking. Kuhl's in the minority now. His party can't do anything in the House.

Saul Alinski no doubt thought it too obvious to include in his book, but what with standards plummeting everywhere, we suppose it must be stated explicitly. So here's a new rule for radicals: When you occupy a Congressional office to force action, go to the officials with the power to act.

Today there are 162,000 American troops in Iraq, the most ever.
You occupied the wrong office. You went to the wrong address.

Here’s the right one:

Kenneth B. Keating Federal Office Building
100 State Street
Rochester, NY 14614

  • Congresswoman Louise M. Slaughter -- Room 3120

  • Senator Charles Schumer -- Room 3040

  • Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton -- Room 3280
So let's pick a date and LET'S GET IT RIGHT THIS TIME, PEOPLE. We'll do the occupation in groups: DFA will sieze Louise's office because they deserve each other. Hillary gets the International Socialists, on birds-of-a-feather grounds. Chuck, who we like most of the time, gets the Declaration of Peace people as punishment for being mean to Justice Alito.

Your crew from Rue de Moutarde will do the cooking. And of course, we'll bring the mustard.

What makes it all the more interesting is that back in March, a group organized by Declaration of Peace actually did occupy, or tried to occupy, these very offices in the Federal Building. So why are they now wasting time at Kuhl's offices in Fairport and Bath?

At the very least, the next time you take over a congressional office, try to show up at the right place.

Randy’s just a silhouette on the shade.


Rottenchester said...

I think the protesters' tactics need some revision also, but they got the right target. The war will end when enough Republicans start voting against it. The Democrats' slim majorities in both houses aren't enough for them to get anything accomplished on Iraq.

Philbrick said...

But are there Democratic votes enough in each house to at least comprise a majority for pullout? That's the real question, because until that happens it's going nowhere. And it should be possible given the strong public sentiment against continued involvement in Iraq.

The reality may well be that congressional Democrats are, themselves, committed (however reluctantly) to a longer involvement in Iraq. They know they can count on support from the groups mentioned in the posting, and from many other, more mainstream, opponents, because those opponents have nowhere to go politically. They're not going to vote Republican.

Which leads to what apparently is the current congressional Democratic strategy: just keep saying how dreadful Bush is and don't really do anything about pulling out from the war.

Rottenchester said...

There's been a genuine attempt by the Democrats to pass legislation to limit the war, and it has been opposed by a solid majority of Republicans.

Example: H R 2596 was a pull out beginning next April. All but 10 Dems voted for it (a majority). All but 4 Republicans voted against it.

Example: H R 3159, which was an attempt to limit re-deployment of troops and reserves. All but 4 Dems supported it. All but 6 Republicans opposed it.

If either of these bills had passed with a good number of Republicans signing on, the Bush administration would have paid close attention.