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Inaugural Eve: Reflections from a Peace Vet

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Remember the media fury when President Obama sent more troops into Iraq and Afghanistan, and incinerated US citizens and a wedding party in Pakistan -- or was it Yemen? And the shock when the Obama Pentagon was bombing seven countries in Asia, Africa and the Middle East? And the outrage when he started deploying US troops and hardware to the Russian border his last month in office, remember? Remember how the National Mall, from the Lincoln Memorial to the halls of Congress, was teeming with hundreds of thousands of anti-war protesters?

Neither do I.

But on the cusp of the Trump Abyss to some, Trump Era to others, the Left, my Left - if it still exists - the Right, the disenfranchised, women, labor activists, even disgruntled voters willing to call out Putin for allegedly stealing the 2016 election, are just a few examples of the demographic broadcloth hoping to disrupt Presidential Inauguration events by lining boulevards and blocking streets from coast to coast. Nearly 900,000 expected in DC alone. Undoubtedly, media coverage of this Inaugural frenzy, along with the festivities and arrests, should rival Super Bowl 51.

Washington, DC protest organizer, actress America Ferrera, said, "Since the election, so many fear that their voices will go unheard. As artists, women, and most importantly dedicated Americans, it is critical that we stand together in solidarity for the protection, dignity and rights of our communities."

In addition, a A-list of partisan celebrities, including Scarlett Johansson, Amy Schumer, Robert de Niro, Alec Baldwin and Michael Moore will be joining in anti-Trump protests, possibly emboldened by Meryl Streep's Golden Globe speech earlier this month. Who can forget?

One phrase Streep turned after accepting a Lifetime Achievement Award hit a nerve. "Violence incites violence. When the powerful use their position to bully others, we all lose" We need the principled press to hold power to account, to call them on the carpet for every outrage." My own knee-jerk reaction to this misguided celebrity bubble comment was "Where have you been, Meryl, on Terror Tuesdays?" You know, the weekly Obama counterterrorism "lotto" when the "winner", in let's say Waziristan, with or without family present, was condemned to Death by Drone. Didn't you ever even wince a little when you heard that "your guy" carried a CIA kill list in his back pocket?

And while we're at it, when was there ever outrage during Obama's two terms of military interventionism? His approval ratings are still soaring in spite of even more air attacks and drone strikes this week. Why the tacit approval even now? Tonight the anti-war movement, dismissed by apologists, neoliberals and fauxgressives for the last eight years while their Laureate was in the Oval Office, is clamoring to join a burgeoning, long-overdue resistance, in force. What makes me think, at least hope, the streets will be teeming again in greater numbers when the Trump bombs fall?

See you there.

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The author of this piece is Vietnam Veteran and former Naval Aviator Gene Marx. He has served as a member of the Veterans For Peace Membership Committee and was the past Secretary of the VFP National Board of Directors. He lives in Bellingham, (more...)

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