What's The Point?

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Each week, CBS News Chief Washington Correspondent Bob Schieffer concludes Face The Nation with his commentary.

We saw it in Seattle. We saw it in Washington. We are seeing it in Quebec. Demonstrators charge security forces and are driven back by tear gas.

It's become as much of the routine at International Security Conferences, as the opening pageant is a part of the Olympics.

I heard one of the demonstrators say on the news last night, "We feel really good about pushing down the security fence at the conference site."


CBS
CBS News Correspondent
Bob Schieffer

An interesting thought. But are you like me? Are you having a hard time understanding what these people are demonstrating against?

A careful reading of the newspapers suggests an answer: They are demonstrating against everything. Globalization. Big Business. Abuse of women, Trade. Environmental abuses. Abuses of the rights of indigenous people including the Zapatista guerillas in Mexico. Gay rights, artists rights and farmers' rights.

And there are the masked anarchists who apparently just enjoy creating, well, anarchy.

Excluding anarchy, there is probably something to be said for all these causes. But forced on us all at once, it is hard to take them seriously.

As for conversion to a cause, thanks, but pushing over a security fence doesn't quite do it for me.

Martin Luther King Jr. succeeded because he led a movement with a specific and legitimate grievance. Ditto, the demonstrators for women's suffrage and the Vietnam war protestors. They were taken seriously because they were willing to go it alone.

A protest about everything is a protest against nothing. And it's a nuisance.


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  • CBSNews.com staff CBSNews.com staff

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