News that Iraqi cleric Moqtada al-Sadr had called off his planned "Million-Man March" against the U.S. occupation (while also pondering withdrawal from the eight-month ceasefire that has reduced violence levels in the country) is a timely reminder that few things in this world are as resonant as particularly inspired acts of American political branding.
In the 11.5 12.5 years since probably less than a million black men descended upon the capital, we've had the semi-coherent follow-up Million Family March, the related Million Father March and Million Woman March, the 10th anniversary Millions More Movement, plus the anti-gun Million Mom March, the pro-gun Million Gun March, the 10,000-strong Million Worker March, Robert Mugabe's Million Man March in Zimbabwe, the Million Step March across North Carolina, the impeach-Bush Million Phone March, the obesity-fightin' Million Calorie March, a Million Mind March organized by somebody named Rebecca, the Million Musicians March in Austin (of course) to free Tibet (of course), the self-explanatory Million Marijuana March, and the recent Million Fag March against the crazy Westboro Baptist Church. I for one am looking forward to the upcoming Million Paul March, the Million DJ March this August, and the Million Robot March of 2056.
I was first awed by the power of American political sloganeering some time in the early 1990s, when a Czech politician was looking for a catchy new tough-on-crime law, but lacked the powerful national metaphor of baseball (on account of Czechs not having any clue how to play it). His solution? "Three Strikes Are Enough!"