Sunday, September 19

the times they are a changin'

Protests actually change policy, according to a sociologist's study of the U.S. green movement from 1960 to 1994. Trying to change the minds of politicians and the public directly, however, did not have any discernable effects on environmental policy. (I read this in New Scientist.)

Of course, these are just correlations, but to me it's heartening that there's some evidence that protests do matter. I went to a few anti-war protests before the U.S. attacked Afganistan and Iraq, but I couldn't get that into it. I was glad to be there, but I don't like the mass chanting and the often stupid or distorted slogans and images, like Bush with a swastika on his forehead. It seems like that kind of thing would just make the protesters look crazy to those who lean toward Bush, and so effectively push them into his arms.

Even though the anti-war protests didn't work--in the sense of stopping military action--I'm still glad I went. Maybe without the protests Congress would have continued to kowtow ridiculously to the White House. At least there are no more laws, as far as I know, like the Patriot Act going onto the books.


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