Monday, October 01, 2007


Seeking the Tools of Protest

After my botched attempt to attend a too-early (for New England) war protest in DC earlier the year, I was happy to be attending one that would not be snowed out.This protest was an add-on to a trip to DC that my spouse and I had already planned. Then Sydney told me that there was going to be a Big March, and voila! I could raise my voice at last!

Our toes fairly twinkled in the steps we took to get there; us up early, the drive easy, the flight on time, the transition from the plane to the train rolling off without a hitch, our hoofing it down the path from Louisiana Avenue to the Capitol and Reflecting Pool, accomplished at warp speed. Too good!

Mother Nature cooperated, even blessed us. A good day to
gather! It was a lovely, sunny day with lots of breeze to ripple the surface of the water and the rainbow flags for peace. Exclaim/Declaim! We walked on the tiers around the pool while speakers blared (speakers speaking on speakers always blare, given the properties of outdoor sound systems), trying to rev up the crowd into sounding as if there were sufficient thousands of them capable of giving rise to the People’s Thunder.

There weren’t. There were maybe a thousand people, quite a few of them selling t-shirts. Down the Mall Laura Bush was hosting a book fair, complete with famous arthurs and a chance for children to meet their favorite book --or TV!-- character. No child left behind!

As a former English teacher, I am painfully aware that the nation isn't so filled with devoted readers as to have to make a painful choice between the two. The turnout sucked.

If there weren’t big numbers for marching –on the White House this time, rather than the Pentagon last spring—there were some interesting individuals along the way. A few folks were in the tradition of political theater: Mister Death took two incarnations. Three achingly sincere young women paid tribute to the real victims of the war—Iraqis, soldiers, and the families they left behind, silent, haunting..

Then there were some cute baby dykes with naughty banners connecting sex and war to Bush’s icky libido. A woman rapped next to a flag-draped coffin.

Like so many coalition efforts, this was a multi-purpose demonstration, all our resentments, frustrations, and petitions rolled into one event. All our second chances. A free Palestine. Health care, not warfare. Justice for Katrina victims. Free the Jena Six. The Socialists were passing out free newspapers. It felt more like an opportunity than an action. In a couple of more weeks, they informed us, we will gather together to shut down the Capitol.

I’m not betting on that. Not with butchers in the White House. We're so many sides of beef to them.

I have to say it all felt weary and thin, just a crowd that couldn’t find its voice because it needed more voices. “It may be that everything’s shifted,” said my spouse as we finally walked away. “Maybe it’s about electronic petitions that flash around the country.” We sure hadn’t heard any oration. One guy scolded us, a few exhorted us with clichés. That’s not oration.

Still, it’s important to show up. Showing up is half to two-thirds of living, depending on who you’re quoting. I’m just not sure what form showing up needs to take in my golden years.

Except paying attention. If you’re not paying attention it makes no difference where you are. You aren’t there. And there's lots to pay attention to.

And of course, I didn't hear a word about it on tv. They're too bush beating the drums for an attack on Iran.
United for Peace and Justice is having 11 regional mobilizations on Oct. 27th. Its important to show up and Lulu Maude its great that you and your spouse did just that.

No our government does not give a tinkers damn what we the people, nor the world community thinks. We are in the clutches of an oligarchical fascist regime. It lusts for OIL like a vampire. We still have to show up, pay attention ...and do whatever we possibly can to speak out against this insanity.

And sorry to say but the future is not bright. We can all expect,dispite the maniacal insanity of it all - to wake up any day now and find. Captain Bunny pants has pressed the button and attacked Iran. The depth of my sadness and anger defies words. Whenever i hear the words "usa interests" I hear OIL.

Until our constitution is restored and we have impeachment hearings and the Patriot Act repealed. I now call our country the United Corporations of America. Thats what we are ...UCOA.

SAD GREEDY and TRUE. Since there is so much to pay attention to , it does not bother me one bit , that those who show up have many diverse concerns..all the dots do connect to lead us towards a more humane world. The MSM has no interest in of course they do not cover these numerous , daily in city and towns demonstrations.
I'll be at the UPJ mobilization in Chicago on the 27.

Let me tell you what happened in DC on the 29. It was a dumb day to schedule a rally. There was already a massive march in DC on the 15th of September. If the groups had any sense they would have combined the two. Many people who showed up on the 15th - like myself - could not afford to return on the 29th.
Nice reportage, Lulu.
wow...this is wonderful- thank you for sharing it.
I wish they would have stuffed Rush Limbaugh full of Tootsie Rolls and DumDums, hoisted him up and used him as a pinata.
That may have gotten some coverage, eh?
Ah, Zippie--your imagination is the richest!!
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