Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Jacking the Sound to Noise Ratio

With Remembrance day coming up the usual slew of once-a-year politicos come out of the woodwork to voice their opinion on wars and the military in general, sometimes in the mast passive-aggressive, tasteless way possible.

An 86 year old veteran who volunteers his time to sell poppies arrived at one of the iconic poppy boxes that are endemic this time of year to discover someone had stuffed a political cartoon underneath it. The cartoon mimicked the old Herman cartoons (thinking of them reminds me of my wonderful great grandmother's basement) and contained the text,

"May I suggest that we declare war, invade and rob another rich country with an army of hired killers, soldiers that is, like we did in the past to Germany and a dozen other countries."

A sentiment so awkwardly written that I am left wondering if we are all being trolled. I mean, it takes a lot of bravery to stuff a bit of paper underneath a box instead of confronting the octogenarians that service it, (not to be ageist) and obviously a lot of commitment to have done it twice; what kind of person could possess these qualities? Only the most die-hard, staunch anti-war protester.

In case there is any doubt left at this point in my writing career, let me remove all doubt: I absolutely support people's right to freedom of speech. In making this statement, however, the protester removes the objection from war and places it on objecting to soldiers. Pretty much everybody agrees war is bad (Mm-kay?) Few positive effects came from it, and by and large, it's a last-ditch effort for achieving goals. But soldiers are a different story. Having soldiers does not imply violence. Being a soldiers does not imply being violent, or even pro-war.

When making your statement obfuscates the more well developed and relevant messages, you can't be surprised when people want to collar you. Not 'the man' but your fellow protesters. You ruin our credibility, and make it difficult for people to find the best message to support their goals. It's like what happened to feminists. Their message became more and more confused until now only the bravest call themselves feminists, since to do so invites ridicule. If the anti-war/anti-violence movement wants to keep it's tread, it must guard against mixing the message with anti-soldier sentiments; to do so would spell it's downfall.

In activism, the medium is the message, and the message from this 'activist' is perfectly clear: "I'm a joke"


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