My third day in DC began upon awakening at my new friend’s apartment in Arlington…then a mighty breakfast at a local establishment that helped me to remember fondly the days of truck stop food…you know, the typical greasy spoon stuff. It was awesome.
I wore my new “Arrest Bush” t-shirt for the day of the big march, and I got appreciative looks from nearly everyone I passed. It’s got the Articles of Impeachment on the back.
Pretty nifty…I’ll link you to Laurie’s group on that…if you want to get one. Suggested donations are like ten apiece (but more if you can, less if you can’t)…a pittance for such a fine article of clothing. Here I am pimping mine in DC…showing the DC cops where the real criminal lives…this was from the day of the protest, incidentally.
I think I had my eyes closed but I just pointed to the stench that was emanating from the address at 1600 Pennsylvania…oh yea, there was a HUGE pile of horse shit on the front lawn that day. Not sure why. Anyhow…
When we were trying to find a parking place we drove by the counter-protest assembling under a spotty stream (not sea) of American flags and occasional Vietnam vet bikers…gathering to pump themselves up for what was one of the most lopsided responses to a peace march I think that’s ever been shamefully presented as a “counter” to our massive effort there on 9/15. It seemed pretty corny from a distance, and it got even sillier face to face with those people, believe me.
Lafayette Square was already crowded an hour before the march was scheduled to start…people from all walks of life, all economic backgrounds, all cultural and racial heritages…so many people. Thousands…and all there to promote the cause of peace. I was impressed, to say the least. The largest gathering I’d been to recently that could hold a candle to it was the Rainbow Gathering in Fallsville, Arkansas, right down from my house.
This crowd was a bit more diverse, to be honest…there weren’t just typical “peaceniks and hippies.” There were students, teachers, artists, lawyers, soldiers, veterans, and political figures. Nader was there…so was Sheehan…others whose names I have unfortunately forgotten but who gave very passionate addresses. I continued strolling along with the sea of people along the natural paths, the sidewalks, checking out the different groups represented, the different causes being promoted…everything from vegan living to impeachment (this one was a nearly universal theme) to freeing the Jena Six (that march would happen a week or two after this one) and anything else in between.
There was a young man pogo sticking for peace (said so on his T-shirt, even) an old man dressed as Santa, on stilts, with a sign reading “Troops Home By Xmas”…a group of anarchist cheerleaders…a LARGE contingent from the Georgetown Law School…several hundred, I believe…and many others.
I spent a lot of my time hanging out with “Start Loving” and Patricia (my photographer lady friend I had pizza with the night before, and she had of course remembered to charge my batteries at her hotel room overnight, a BIG HELP) and we talked about how wonderful it was that all of us were able to be witness and participate in such an historic event. We all feel that this is the real beginning of a stronger popular movement towards peace and justice. Time will be the judge on that, of course.
One event that moved me directly to tears was the display of a rolling flag-draped coffin…with a sad looking man leaning on it and a street poet piping up a terrible tale of sorrow and anguish…and rage. The words he spoke chilled me to my soul and I wept throughout the experience. It was very moving for me.
It was during my time with Patricia and Start that i remembered I was to meet Thomas, the man who had begun a 24/7 vigil for peace and nuclear disarmament all the way back in 1981…and I found the courage to make my way over to his vigil site and introduce myself and my point of view. He was pretty receptive, and then instructive, and I found our stories had many similarities, especially as it regarded a walk of faith and the power of belief and the ability to see God’s will at work all around us regardless of where we were physically…and that’s a great place to be sometimes.
I found out he would not be able to join us during our march on the Capitol Building…he can’t leave his protest camp for even five minutes, or the DC park police will tear down his displays, signs, tent and everything else and he’ll never be able to return to his state of grace he operates under now due to being grandfathered in, so to speak, regarding laws on static protests. He and his wife Concepcion have pretty much run the thing for 26 years now, with the help of different volunteers…but it’s mostly their protest, anyone else involved was quick to tell me. They are the heart and soul of it. I will talk about Thomas again in Part 5.
I was also pleased to see a large contingent of 9/11 Truth activists present and waving their signs and being outspoken on bullhorns…I was also happy to see that the majority of folks there in the square didn’t think they were “crazy” or “disruptive” either…I think the VAST MAJORITY of America knows the facts are far from known concerning that terrible day. I’m still amazed at the general apathy and level of brainwashing that has obviously taken place within our collective psyche to keep us from being so outraged (as a society) that we have been lied to about the deaths of 3,000 of our fellow citizens and we haven’t DONE ANYTHING ABOUT IT…anyhow. I digress.
The time for the march was at hand…the student group from Georgetown and the ANSWER coalition got the crowd moving that direction…and then there was some general confusion with the marshals and the participants about the order…mostly just that we needed to let the Iraq Vets Against The War go up front…
and I think that was appropriate….but anyhow off we went down the street towards the Capitol Building…I don’t know how many of us, but there were a bunch. I tried to find places that I could get up to to get a nice bird’s eye view shot of the action, but found my progress impeded by DC cops posted at the stairwells of (normally) public buildings, not allowing access for any purpose, including taking photos. I had to mention this seemed highly irregular to the lady officer who told me I couldn’t go up a public stairwell…she didn’t seem concerned. I asked her if it was routine policy for the DC cops to make up the rules as they went…and I pointed out the police photographer rapidly snapping shots from this same vantage point I wanted access to. Well, by this time a reporter was there and filming so I went the whole nine and asked her how it felt to work for a fascist dictator (all DC capitol police are uniformed Secret Service…) and she REALLY didn’t seem to like that. I felt bad, for about five seconds. I walked on. I finally settled for a giant concrete planter…you know, the kind with flowers and stuff in them along the sidewalk in some of the DC parks. Here’s what I got.
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