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I’m all for Pink – Thoughtful Pink

January 17, 2008

The cover of last week’s Washington City Paper was awash with pink. When I saw it, sitting beside the door at my neighborhood corner store, I instantly knew what the story must be about. Since I went to work at FCNL the color pink has become synonymous for me with a loud-mouthed anti-war group: Code Pink. These women forcibly cut a noisy, disruptive, and bright swath across the Senate and House office buildings.

I agreed with a lot of what was in this article. The author points to preliminary success of this group in gaining members and grabbing attention on the hill. I support most of their positions. I also think that we need to end the war and get out of Iraq. I too believe that we need to help Iraqis affected by the war and avoid a confrontation with Iran. At FCNL I spend my days working to this end (they also have a beautiful website — the web is most of my work to prevent war). I also agree that Code Pink has perhaps gone too far in their extreme tactics and protest methods. I’m all for protest. Loud, crazy protest can be effective and great fun. But I believe that there is a time and a place for that and a time and a place for measured negotiation. Code Pink has lost sight of when being disruptive is appropriate and when it is not.

Examples:

** It IS appropriate to attend a march (like the one on September 15th) and bring papier-mache heads of Bush and Rice. Shout, sing, have a die-in if you want. Scream at counter-protesters. Fine.

** It IS approriate to schedule lobby visits with your members of Congress and their staff members and talk about what upsets you about the war.

** It IS appropriate to attend congressional hearings on the war (or anything else) to gather information that you can use to build your case against the war.

** It is NOT appropriate to disrupt these hearings. Especially when they have nothing to do with the war. A friend told me that he was in a hearing on labor in Latin America that Code Pink crashed. Why disrupt work that had nothing to do with your campaign? Just to get attention? This same friend hadn’t heard of Code Pink before the hearing. Now he knows about them, but doesn’t think of the group favorably.

I suppose what I’m calling for is a return to respect — for our elected officials, for the governing bodies of our country. A return to civility. The members of Code Pink may say that our officials and these bodies haven’t shown respect for us by getting into this war and continuing to fund it. Fine. But be the bigger person. Return civility and respect to the houses of government. Don’t turn it in to a free for all. Not only is this not dignified, it just won’t get anything done. What legislative successes can Code Pink claim?

Code Pink has burned a lot of bridges in the past couple of years. How will they continue to do good work against war if they have no allies left in Congress?

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