Pacifists. Not Crazies
Remember April 28, 2007? Probably not. That's when some activists, many of them anti-Iraq war crusaders, got together across the country to use their bodies to spell out IMPEACH. The paltry showing on Coney Island could barely muster a sad E. But more and more anti-war activists are becoming more vocal in quirky, gimmicky ways. Take Michael Tisdale. Last Friday, he ran through downtown Miami in a red-white-and-blue thong to protest the war and President Bush.
Whether it's the fault of the media or the activists themselves, peace activists often come across as, well, a little goofy with a rather cacophonous message. Making it easier for their opponents to brush them off (Tisdale's story in the Miami Herald caused one poster to write: "Just another Liberal Lunatic at work!")
So it's refreshing to hear from The Peace Alliance, a group trying to get a bill passed to create a U.S. Peace Department to teach violence prevention in classrooms, among other far-from crazy aims. They want to add conflict resolution to the mix when it comes to deciding whether to go to war. Ana Campos, a 37-year-old who works in medical billing in Fort Lauderdale, is the coordinator for the South Florida chapter. Campos boasts a volunteer list of about 300 people, up from the five people they started with in January.
"We're not anti-Iraq and we're not anti-George Bush and we're not calling to impeach anybody," she says, proudly noting the group doesn't even put peace signs on their site. "I've seen a lot of people migrating away from the anti-Iraq war movement and realizing it's best to create something they want to see rather than stand up for something that they don't want to see."
The group is organizing a Walk for Peace in Liberty City on October 20. --Janine Zeitlin