We are told by the White House staff that, unlike some previous presidents (Johnson, Nixon) who tried to project certainty over their war policies in public while agonizing in private, President Bush has no such qualms. He prays, works out every day for an hour, doesn't drink and goes to bed early, rising each morning to read the daily intelligence reports about who might blow up something somewhere. He lives in fear of another 9-11 "on this watch." He is resolved that, because of 9-11, he can see the way to stamp out evil in the world even if others do not.
So much for healthy living. Churchill tried to stay in bed til noon.
For the rest of us, it's becoming clear that Bush will invade Iraq regardless of public opinion, regardless of world opinion, regardless how many march in the streets; and if his timetable has slipped a little, it's only because "staging" 300,000 troops has taken longer than he expected. But now they're ready, set, and March 17 is "go" (or maybe a little later if Tony Blair needs some breathing room).
So is it worth going to Washington Saturday morning for what could be a massive "convergence," and perhaps hanging around until Monday to call on Congress? Everyone can make their own decisions about what they need to do, but whether you choose to march, call Congress, get arrested, or simply stop and talk with friends, can anyone deny the power of the movement that is taking shape in this country in response to the Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld militarism? Had anyone, a month ago, heard of Tom Andrews, the former Maine congressman who's emerged as the articulate voice of the Win Without War coalition?
Like George W., we are all wrapping our minds around the question of how the world can possibly survive nuclear proliferation, rampant poverty and terrorism in the 21st century. It's a subject we haven't seriously considered since, oh, 1963. (Cuba. Berlin.) The answer has to include the words "United Nations," doesn't it?
We must keep asking the question. And unless the Democratic party can answer it, it risks being supplanted. Like the Whigs, who just couldn't decide about slavery.
Buses to Washington leave Saturday at 6 a.m., and tickets are on sale at Schoolkids Records, Nice Price Books and Readers Corner (Raleigh); The Know and Regulator bookstores (Durham), and Internationalist Books (Chapel Hill). Info: unitedforpeace.org.
Last week we suggested everyone go to the Roller Boogie and escape the woes of the world. Many did, and we thank you. We also featured brackets to pick the winners of the ACC women's basketball tournament. The winners were: 1st, Bob Thompson; 2nd, Jon Woodyatt; and 3rd, a tie between Phil Comfort and Chris Byrd.
This week try your hand at the men's brackets (p. 38). With basketball tournaments upon us, we won't need much else in the way of distractions. At least for a few weeks.