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March 2, 2003
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IRREGULAR TIMESHow does a pro-war media pundit respond to the current surge of opposition to war against Iraq? The latest line, from talking heads like Carl Limbacher and Joseph Sabia, is that the anti-war movement does not reflect the opinion of "real Americans". When asked to clarify which Americans are "real" and which Americans are not "real", naysayers talk about "latte sippers" and "hot tubbers" who live in places like California, New York, Massachussets and other states on the East and West coast.

There's a sticky problem that a majority of Americans live in these places and are therefore, apparently, "unreal". What do you do when the majority of a nation's citizens aren't "real"? But let's be generous and avoid the temptation to be literal about this. What hawkish commentators are tring to claim is that the heart of America lies elsewhere -- in the Midwest and the South -- and that the heart of America is not taking part in the anti-war movement.

Well, as a resident of so-called "real America," I can tell you the under-reported facts show otherwise. Yesterday, 85 residents of Durham, North Carolina (my hometown) passed out leaflets to motorists during the noon hour to the sound of enthusiastically honking traffic. This is a weekly event that is growing, not shrinking, in size.

Today, the police estimated that more than 750 citizens turned out for a rally and march in Chapel Hill. Nobody was sipping latte. No one sitting in a hot tub. No one was bad-mouthing American soldiers. Not one American flag was burned. On the contrary, many American flags flew resplendent in the sunlight. Each and every one of these hundreds stood against a war with Iraq.

Next Wednesday will be yet another day with yet another mobilization. This time, action will be centered in Raleigh, where two weeks ago over 5,000 marched. The same day, students will walk out of classes at high schools, colleges and universities across the state.

Citizen actions have taken place this past month in...

Wilmington.

Ashville.

Greensboro.

Winston-Salem.

Charlotte.

Roanoke Rapids.

Carrboro.

You want "real America?" These towns in North Carolina fit the bill. These communities, along with communities across the South, Midwest, Mountain States, East Coast, West Coast, North East and Pacific, are rising against a war. The movement is growing by the week in every nook of the nation, "real" and "unreal". It is not just in Washington and San Francisco. It is here, too, and regardless of how one defines a person as "real" or "unreal", the movement does not appear to be going away.

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