Turd In The Punchbowl

My husband, Mark, who has opposed any and all wars since evading the draft during the Vietnam War.

For the past five and half years, liberals in the U.S. have salivated on command in response to the messaging “Trump bad” ==> “Trump supported by Putin” ===> “Putin bad” even unto the absurdity of “Putin = Hitler.” The president of the Russian Federation’s speech about trying to achieve the “denazification” of yes, actual Nazis in Ukraine, fell on deaf ears. Because false dichotomy is about as deep as liberals’ analysis is able or willing to go these days. 

The void previously filled by daily outrage at 45 has been ably filled by fresh hate for an associated villain.

When I showed up yesterday at an antiwar vigil in Oakland, California with this sign, about 100 participants saw it but many didn’t get it. Some got it and scowled; I was the turd in the punchbowl. The messaging of this crowd was all over the place, but I was the only one with an obvious anti-imperialist message.

This man in a U.S. Air Force jacket saw it and was inspired to add NATO YES to his sign which had previously said only #closethesky. (He added #noflyzone also, possibly for clarity.)

Two older ladies approached me individually to say, “I don’t understand your sign.” 

They were polite and that helped me resist the temptation to be snarky about what’s not to understand. For all I know they really don’t know what NATO stands for. 

Source: Media watchdog FAIR’s article, “Calling Russia’s Attack ‘Unprovoked’ Lets U.S. Off The Hook

One of them had clearly been to the ribbon store and was bedecked head to toe in Ukrainian yellow and blue (kudos to whoever conceived of the color revolutions strategy). USAians have been in training for color-themed “revolutions” all their lives as their televisions told them to wear the colors of one sports team in opposition to another sports team. They have derived their identities from which teams they cheer on and which hats they wear while cheering.


The banner you can’t quite read here says WELLSTONE Democracy Renewal Club. I believe it makes reference to Paul Wellstone, U.S. Senator from Minnesota who died in a mysterious plane crash while campaigning for re-election as a progressive Democrat.

The lady who was yellow and blue all over asked me why I had brought a “no NATO” message to the event. I explained that I was not supporting Russia’s attacks but that I hold NATO’s instigating responsible for the suffering of the Ukranian people. She didn’t appear to agree but she did nod thoughtfully and thanked me for explaining.

The other lady was not color-themed but looked like a garden variety old hippie. A lot of retirees live in this neighborhood and I’d say the average age of the crowd hovered around 60. Why the organizers had decided to hold the vigil right next to the all day Sunday drum circle held each week by Black drummers and dancers is a mystery to me.

The older woman listened to me explain my sign and asked a few questions. She appeared to actually be interested and at the end she commented, “You sound like you really know what you’re talking about.” I detected no sarcasm.

How is it that such a mature and affluent crowd doesn’t know what I’m talking about? Even if they disagree with my analysis, how can it be that they’ve never even heard of it?

Because if all your news for the last 50 years came from NPR and the New York Times, you end up quite ignorant. 

Educational level notwithstanding, you have swallowed false dichotomy hook, line, and sinker.

I’m not sure if either woman noticed the reverse of my sign. I see “no NATO” and the symbol for peace derived from symbols for nuclear disarmament as two sides of the same coin, not opposites.

This was one of the more nuanced messages at the vigil (side 1 and side 2):

Before my husband and I had even walked the few blocks back home this tweet I sent from the vigil

had drawn the fire of about twenty Twitter warriors for the status quo. I didn’t know any of them and we had not been in contact before yesterday. Most of them insulted me and/or my analysis, usually with name calling. It took a few minutes to block them but was probably time well spent. There are enough liberal Democrats harrassing me online who I actually know, mostly from the Native mascot retirement campaign in Maine.

A few of the comments were ambiguous so I left those. (“Oy” was one and #derusification was another.) 

I welcome disagreement and actual argumentation, but I have no reason to tolerate abusive, denigrating language. Nor do I need to provide a platform for people putting words in my mouth. I challenge them to find a single example of my supporting Putin or the Russian attacks on people in Ukraine. 

Information control is powerful and pervavasive. As of this weekend I can no longer access RT on my chromebook (still can on my phone) which consequently restricts access to lefty commentators like Lee Camp and Chris Hedges. Here’s the error message below:

Once the views of folks like those two  humanitarians are “forbidden,” we’re all in deep shit.

2 thoughts on “Turd In The Punchbowl

  1. Thoughtful, informative post. I’m with you re: NATO as a destructive force. I was surprised that you were in such a minority in Oakland. Pretty scary the way many in the former anti-war groups are suddenly pro-war with Russia over the Ukraine.

  2. Pingback: Is Indivisible The Invisible Hand Of The Ukraine War Thought Police? | went2thebridge

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