Embarrassing numbers at home and abroad.

I just read a fascinating article about the anti-War march in San Francisco — fascinating, not for what it says, but for what it doesn’t say. The lede is “Anti-war protests in S.F., other cities draw thousands.” The first paragraphs again exude awe about the sheer numbers:

On the third anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, Bay Area residents gathered by the thousands in a Walnut Creek park, an Oakland theater and on the streets of San Francisco on Saturday to demand the war’s end.

The Bay Area protests, which were peaceful, were among hundreds scheduled around the nation this weekend, as opinion polls show anti-war sentiment growing among the American public. San Francisco’s march appears to have been one of the largest. [Emphasis mine.]

Cruise down the article a few more lines and you learn that a “larger-than-anticipated crowd” turned out. By this time I’m practically slobbering “How large? How large?” Well, funny you should ask. That’s the one thing the article doesn’t mention. I carefully read through the whole article, which described the protests and counter-protests, the 3,000 who turned out in Walnut Creek, the Democratic pols speaking to enthusiastic crowds, and couldn’t find a single number for that San Francisco protest.

At this point, I don’t know how many turned up. But I’m willing to bet that, had it been a significant number, that number would have been emblazoned all over the article. Its absence indicates to me that, regardless of the editorializing (“larger than expected,” “thousands,” and “one of the largest”) the numbers were disappointing for a march held in the heart of Blue. In this regard, it would be consistent with my sensethat other marches world wide were equally disappointing. Yes, London drew 15,000, but other marches seem to have been, well, fizzles. People may not like the war but we’re not seeing the revolutions of the 1960s/1970s.

In our decadent West, the real energy seems to be focused on preserving the easy life, as evidenced by the 500,000 youthful protestors all over France, complaining about the fact that they won’t instantly get tenure. Despite the moribund economy in France (and the even worse one in Germany which has the same horrible employment handcuffs), the youth of France know what matters: it’s not the disaffected — and murderous — Islamic youths among them, it’s not the declining population, it’s not the War, it’s not appalling unemployment (which is what led the government to enacted the challenged edict that slightly limits automatic and instant tenure). No, it’s all about making sure no one can fire you as your society goes down in flames around your head. Truly, France currently seems like a country set to win the Darwin awards.

UPDATE:  If you’re interested in some comments about the whole situation in France, you should read this post at A Rose By Any Other Name, in which Anna riffs beautifully off of a Thomas Sowell article on the same subject.

Talking to Technorati: Anti-war protests, France, Student riots