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Protestors must be clear that anti-GW Bush does not mean anti-American

By Peter Lewis - posted Wednesday, 22 October 2003


Those of us preparing to protest US President George W Bush's visit to Australia must tread a fine line - between condemning the policies of an illegitimate president with a dangerous agenda and damning an entire nation.

Those mobilising the Weapons of Mass Derision rally have the right idea - turning the President who never won an election, with a cartoon view of the world and childish notions of good versus evil, into a joke is the only constructive response.

And in making a joke of our own Prime Minister's genuflection, we are calling for an Australian leadership with the strength to represent our national interests rather than blindly following its dominant ally.


That said, we would be foolish if we turned our protests into a round of yank bashing, because in doing so we would be attacking many of the principles of freedom, democracy and individual liberty that we also take for granted.

Anti-American protests only detract from the anti-Bush message - and that is, his policies are the very antithesis of this American ideal.

In taking to the streets against the US President, we are protesting Bush's policies of pre-emption and unilateralism; as they manifest in military action, trade negotiations, environmental and in terms of cultural imperialism.

And in doing so we join an increasing number of Americans who are rejecting Bush and the values he represents.

Americans like Michael Moore who famously wrote to Bush:

Instead of having to earn it, you have been handed the presidency the same way you've come by everything else in your life. Money and name alone have opened every door for you. Without effort or hard work or intelligence or ingenuity, you have been bequeathed a life of privilege.


Americans like the Dixie Chicks who were pilloried by the Right for stating they were embarrassed to share a home state with the President, yet rewarded by fans with huge increases in sales.

And Americans like General Wesley Clark, the former NATO commander who knows more about war than Bush ever will and knows that pre-emption is dangerous and short-sighted and only this week stated:

We are in a crisis in our relations with the rest of the world. Today, at a time when we need friends and allies more than ever, resentment of America has never been higher, and that makes every American less safe at home and abroad.

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This article was first published as the editorial in Workers Online, published by Labornet, which is a member of The National Forum.

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About the Author

Peter Lewis is the director of Essential Media Communications, a company that runs strategic campaigns for unions, environmental groups and other “progressive” organisations.

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