Peaceful candle holding and sign shaking on Anton and Bristol as drivers scream Dopplered epithets make you feel you're helping world peace but don't really do anything to end the war. But staying home and just giving up is too bleak to imagine. So here are a few things you can do now to make protesting more exciting, fun and effective:
DON'T BE A DUMBASS. Read everything you can about the war so you can engage in a more thoughtful discussion of this war than simply waving a peace sign. You shouldn't be protesting something you don't understand. CALL CNN. As the networks excitedly engage in a ratings circle-jerk—losing their objectivity because they're "embedded" with the soldiers they're supposed to be reporting on—holding the media accountable helps ensure that news coverage isn't just a propaganda tool for war. When you see too much flag waving and not enough information, make a phone call or e-mail to CNN, MSNBC and Fox News. Tell them you expect them to cover the war objectively. BUY FRENCH. As idiotic politicians bow and scrape to reactionary types and rename fast-food side dishes "freedom fries" to punish France for daring to oppose Bush, you can fight back. Buy literature by French writers. Go to French theater—even Les Miz at the Orange County Performing Arts Center counts. Support French films. Go to the local Mimi's and tell them you won't dine there unless they replace the French flag they took down because some dimwit was offended. Best of all: buy a care package of Trader Joe's French wines, cheeses, paté, French-roast coffee and the like. Take them to a rally and hand them out. REMEMBER IN NOVEMBER. Take over local politicians' offices—targeting those who voted for war—and let your voice be heard. Flood their fax lines and e-mail servers. Call and urge them to keep up the pressure. And when the next election rolls around, kick the bums out. NOTHING SAYS "PEACE" LIKE FLOWERS. Applaud those who do something right: send flowers to those Congress members brave enough to say no to war. It's something positive and won't cost much because they were so damn few. PROTEST MORE EFFICIENTLY. Target government offices if you want to make a real difference. If the federal government made the decision, then it doesn't make any sense to protest at South Coast Plaza. The Ronald Reagan Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse is in downtown Santa Ana. Chain yourselves to their front doors. Pour blood and sand on the doorsteps. Have a die-in in the lobby. Coverage and interest in this more visual campaign will far exceed getting a couple of hundred people singing "We Shall Overcome" outside Sears.