Published on Tuesday, March 23, 2010 by The Guardian/UK
President Obama, War is Bad Romance
Students taking part in an anti-war protest in
at the weekend felt jilted by the man they helped get elected Washington DC
It's a Friday afternoon at
At 3pm sharp a mobile sound system is rolled in to the park, and Michael Jackson's Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough kicks off the festivities. Scattered groups of students and young people, some of them twirling hoola hoops, one dressed in a gorilla outfit, take to the impromptu dance floor. When Lady Gaga's chart-topper Just Dance comes on, the crowd goes wild. When the DJ follows this up with Bad Romance, also by Lady Gaga, the students let out a roar, and some hoist up signs that read: "Drop tuition, not bombs", "Stop cheating our future", "Fund Our Future: War is Bad Romance".
"We're the generation coming up now, sending our friends off to war. Our peers are the ones coming back with PTSD," 19-year old Zora Gussow tells me, a student who travelled down to
The anti-war dance party on 19 March, attended by hundreds of students, coincided with the seven-year anniversary of the
To talk to this generation of young people is to find a group of people whose entire adolescence and early adulthood coincide with protracted
"We knocked on doors, we helped put him in office. He told us he'd create more green jobs, not ship more young people off to war," says Brian Menifee, a 20-year-old mechanical engineering student at
Brian remembers election night in Washington when Obama's win was announced and people swept out of houses and bars to dance in the streets, and strangers hugged each other on the sidewalk. Now Brian is dancing on the street with a suit and tie, and a Santa hat, where the Funk the War moveable dance party has made a pit stop in front of the offices of the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative thinktank that helped make the case for the invasion of Iraq. "I think we learned not to put all our eggs in one basket. After these old heads retire this is going to be our country. We have to start making our demands now."
"This isn't much different than we used to do in the early days," Mack Bica, a member of Veterans for Peace  tells me (and seemingly one of the few people over 30 in the crowd). "These wars drag on and on, and it's these kids who are getting screwed the most."
Another woman watches the festive protest  from the sidelines with amusement. "I'm not sure what they're out here for, but they've got a nice little beat going on."
© 2010 Guardian News and Media Limited
Joseph Huff-Hannon is a Brooklyn, NY-based independent writer and producer, a 2008 finalist in the
URL to article: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2010/03/23
Donations can be sent to the
"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs