I'm from the D.C. area and I found it interesting that in the news segment my radio station reported that the Iraqi protest last weekend had a big protest but many of the people were actually more gawkers than protesters. A large group of people came to meet Sean Penn and Jesse Jackson, apparently. Tim Robbins was also there with wife Susan Sorandon and Hanoi Jane made her big career comeback by protesting the Iraqi war (Monster-in-Law was really a decoy). It was pretty much a sell-out tour.
Seriously, though, I'm not making fun of actors touting liberal causes, everyone has a right to what they believe. I do agree that this can lend itself well to those sort of jokes. In truth, now thatI know that Sean Penn and Tim Robbins were there in person, hell, I would've gone to the protest myself. I would've been like "Hey Sean, how's it going. This war on Iraq totally blows, yeah, say, I have this great idea for a screenplay...." But if you guys are wondering why anyone could be excited with a guy as boring as Sean Penn, let me just say that in a town where the most famous people you catch on the street are Joe Lieberman, Barbara Boxer and Nancy Pelosi (I've met 2 out of 3 of them), Sean Penn is quite exciting by comparison. I mean Sean Penn's portrayal of a politician in All the King's Men would be the life of the party in the House Chamber (provided anyone could make out what he's saying). Seriously, what's so bad about Sean Penn? Why do people think he's uncool. Does anyone remember a little movie called "Fast Time at Ridgemont High" where Sean Penn plays a stoned surfboarder? Whatever he's like in real life, he was responsible for defining cool for a whole generation as Jeff Spicoli. Just like Justin Timberlake brought "Sexyback" (not that I think he neccessarily did), Sean Penn honed all his acting strengths and bought cool back to a generation of American youth that hadn't had a teen icon (Except for Ferris Bueller, John Hughes movies don't have them: there's no one in the brat pack who is the cool one) since James Dean. Of course when the director yelled cut, Penn went on to being serious but he captured coolness in a bottle better than anyone in his day.
I was actually in a protest in Washington D.C. myself once, for about 30 seconds. About 3 years ago, I was walking down 13th street, pretty close to the whitehouse and a horde of protesters marched down Pennsylvania Avenue to tell Bush their dissatisfaction about the war or whatever. The pedestrian traffic was really building up at this point because it was this never ending flow of protestors going down Pennsylvania Avenue, and we had to wait until they were all done. Since I needed to be on the other side of town, I just walked right into the swarm and joined the protest for a block or two before getting to the other side of the street.
That was my contribution to the anti-war effort. In case anyone wanted to know, I am against the war, but I really don't think there's anything cool about it anymore. I was against the war when it started, way back in 2003. I thought the war was a bad idea, because you can't go messing around with other nation's sovereignty without a good reason. It is true that the US is the most powerful nation in the world but that doesn't mean that's a permanent thing, we can easily lose favor with people if we go invading nations whenever we want. Also, Iraq was a country run by a brutal dictator but there are a lot of countries run by brutal dictators and we don't have the resources to kill them all, so therefore why pick and chose. This is the kind of stuff I was thinking and saying to people back then, and some agreed and some didn't, but my view now is what's done is done. I hear people saying "in these times of war...." but this doesn't feel like a war to me. My life hasn't been massively restructured the way World War I or World War II massively affected every American. There's not some major shift in the workforce, I'm not being forced to ration on anything like they had to ration on pantyhose and stuff back in the old days (if you say "but what about gas", that's been an issue for decades and no one is really cutting down their driving anyway) , and no one's planting any victory gardens. Also, I understand people wanting to voice their support against the war now, but seriously, it's most of your fault too. You can hate the Bush administration for their stubbornness and being a little too focused on this whole "War on Terror" thing, but let's not act as if the whole war was there fault. Back then, a lot of you were too distracted by the wave of 9/11 patriotism to think clearly about how dumb a war would be.
In essence what I'm saying is that I sort of agree with Bush's argument to Kerry in the 2004 presidential debates of "but you voted for the war too." I'm more Democrat than Republican but I think pretty much everyone messed up, and it seems like no one really wants to be there now anyway.