“It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing he was never reasoned into”

Jonathan Swift
"The Democrats have moved to the right, and the right has moved into a mental hospital." - Bill Maher
"The city is crowded my friends are away and I'm on my own
It's too hot to handle so I gotta get up and go

It's a cruel ... cruel summer"

Saturday, August 27, 2005

MAF Accomplishes Little in Amarillo

The following first-hand account of the pro-war caravan's (Move America Forward) stop in Amarillo was provided by Mavis Belisle, director of the Peace Farm. I have edited it, but have hopefully retained all the meaning.

The caravan arrived in Amarillo around 6 p.m. local time, about 2 hours later than planned because of a "gps malfunction" (they tried to head west from Albuquerque instead of east). They stopped east of town at the "Flying J" truck stop at I-40 and Airport Blvd. After time for the travelers to have a meal, they set up shop in the parking lot. There were about 40 people present, but several of those were clearly local, so our estimate is that about 25 people were actually traveling in the caravan. Among the local folks recognized at the event was a couple, Dave and Jean Ries, who also last week attended a candlelight vigil in support of Cindy Sheehan. The event began about 7 p.m., with a scratchy recording of "God Bless America." A bagpiper followed, though we have no report as to what he played. This was followed by some short speeches by parents of soldiers killed in Iraq. The only media observed at the event was a local tv station (KVII, ABC affiliate). Because of the time of their arrival, the story only played on the 10 p.m. broadcast. After their Amarillo stop, the MAF caravan proceded to Ft. Worth and Dallas for Friday events, after which they were scheduled to arrive in Crawford on Saturday to attempt to counter the action at Camp Casey.

In contrast, a local group, including some PTSers, called Question War Amarillo, staged a rally Thursday afternoon at about the time that MAF had intended to be here, supporting the question that Cindy Sheehan has asked: "For what noble purpose did my son die?" KVII also covered that event, and put about a one-minute segment on their 6 p.m. broadcast that was almost entirely dedicated to the Question War demonstration and included about 30 seconds of Amarillo resident Rick Todd describing his reasons for demonstrating. In the 10 p.m. broadcast, the presentation was more balanced. In addition to this coverage, MAF did succeed in getting an advance story published Wednesday in the Amarillo-Globe Republican. While prodigal son points out in a previous post that the article was balanced, it was hardly objective, in that it failed to point out who MAF really is.

All in all, I'd say that while local progressive activists could work to have more rapid response to such events, on balance Question War was more effective, at least in Amarillo, than was MAF. Score one for the good guys!