Saturday, January 22, 2005

An experience in Texas, DC

The bus to DC was almost full. Two thirds were women. Some were participating in the TYBB protest, some wanted to participate in the anti-war rally and march. Some were going to both. The gathering place our bus left us off at, Malcolm X park, was jammed with people. That park was the site of a huge anti-war rally. At 10 am, the helicopters were not yet flying overhead. There was music, speeches, the rally was non-violent. I had to get some coffee, and ran to a coffee shop a few blocks away. By the time I exited Starbucks, cop cars with lights flashing, about 40 policemen on motorcycles, and helicopters circling overhead were also at the rally. A police escort is always given at street protests. But this was a lot of police, and a helicopter "escort" well, that was a first.

The march started, and a mass of people flooded the street. Peacefully. With music, signs, and slogans. That march ended at Mc Pherson's square, and met up with yet more demonstrators. Most were anti-war, all were anti-Bush. At that square, we were told that the security checkpoints were hours long, and that you may not able to get onto Pennsylvania Ave. Most people marched down to the Ave., anyway.

I have yet to see coverage of those access point lines in the media. At 14th St. the protestors waited in line with what appeared to be some non Texan Bush supporters. The wait was a long one. Around the corner from the long line, another access line formed. This line was filled exclusively with Bush supporters. Wealthy supporters. Enormously wealthy supporters. The majority of the women in that line wore ankle length fur coats. Stetsons and twang filled the air. And they were miffed, as they also had to wait, although not nearly as long... No where in the media did I see coverage of the two lines. The line for the rich and furred, and the line for the others.

Many of the demonstrators, upon reaching the 14th St. access point, and seeing what might be a long futile wait---it was now about 1:30, the parade was due to start at 2:30--- were reviewing their options. Stand in line here, and probably miss the parade, and the TYBB action, or try to find another access point? Wait outside the fences? Due to the incredibly long access line at 14th, the line itself was not a line. It filled the width of the street. It was a huge square that eventually poured one person out and into the waiting patdown of a soldier. Some people who tried to find another access point were "caught" in one of the "viewing" pens. The march that had remained peaceful for hours, began to show some wear.

I made a pitstop at Borders for more coffee. It was cold. I met a passenger from my bus in there, and we decided to wait in the long line. I came out of Borders, and saw a young, petite woman wearing a sign that read "If you voted for Bush, then you have blood on your hands." She was positioned at the bend in the Texan line, alone, and about fifteen feet from them. She was softly repeating, over and over, "Stop the war, stop the killing."

There were a few young people in the street behind her, carrying signs, walking back and forth in that square outside of Borders. I saw an older, large man step out of that line, mock what she was saying, strut, in his boots over to her, and wave a cam corder a few inches from her face. He then strutted back to his place in line, laughing, and was congratulated by his fur wrapped friends. He had to have been 6'4". She had to have been not a 1/4 inch over 5'. In the street right across from the Texan line, were rows and rows of cops. Standing still. I made another decision.

I took a few sips of my coffee, walked over to the young lady, and started chanting with her, "stop the war, stop the killing." For awhile, a Vietnam vet stayed with us, also repeating "stop the war, stop the killing."After about an hour, I heard a young man's voice behind us. He too, repeated,"stop the war, stop the killing." For over two hours, those words, "stop the war, stop the killing" upset the decorum of the Texas line.
--Large grown men continued to step out of line, and shove cam corders and camera cell phones in both of our faces.
--Young men in very expensive long coats stepped out of line and pushed between us, jeering.
--Two young men danced around us, to the tune of "stop the war, stop the killing." They said that a dance routine was needed for our "tune."
--Numerous twangy voices yelled various insults.
--One man strutted over, bent down and hissed "get a job" in my ear. Another hissed, "get a life."
--An ankle length fur coat laughed and danced a jig, to "stop the war, stop the killing."
--Several other similarly clothed women yelled "stop abortion, stop the killing." That was greeted with much applause by the other line members.
--A very, very, large man strutted over, walked around us, and then picked up one of the orange cones and placed it in front of us. That was also greeted with much applause by his line members.
--The obligatory snowball was thrown at the young, petite woman. I have to say that more abuse was hurled at her, than at me. I don't think it is because she was petite, and so appeared an easy victim, while I am 5'8". I have red hair and blue eyes. She has black hair, brown eyes, and appeared to be of Middle Eastern decent.

That abuse continued for two hours, while police stood in the street next to us. Men in raincoats and ear pieces were positioned all over that little square, and observed us. Finally, all of the people dressed in long fur coats, Stetsons, cowboy boots and swagger, made it into the viewing area. The large gated fence was shut and locked.

During those two hours, not one police, FBI type, nor anyone else in that line, addressed the harassment.
There was so much money standing in that line. So many long fur coats. I guess I saw some of GWB's base, Thursday.
And the words "stop the war, stop the killing" must be fighting words, to them. To those who now occupy Texas, DC.

--oh, and I forget to mention the old twanger space invader who ran over, bent down and gleefully ranted some shit in german to us. must of blocked that one. I kinda hope that I don't remember anything else----


Blogger PaxRomano said...


I just wanted to take a second to thank you for what you did on Wednesday. I am very proud of your passion and your willingness to step up to the plate and put your money where your convictions are and get out there and march with the thousands of others who see through this charade of a government we are suffering now.

Back in 1987 or 88 (can not recall the exact year now) I went on an Anti Apartheid March in Washington with my friend, Mary C (I think you know her – another person who could never stand to see injustice). There must have been a million people on the Mall that day. The march and the rally were heavily attended by the rank and file as well as celebrities (Jackson Browne spoke and sang at the rally; Ed Asner gave a moving speech…). I was so excited and moved by this event. The next day, when I searched the newspaper I found a small blurb buried on page six or seven that said something like “several thousand marchers showed up” I could not believe my eyes, it was more like several hundred thousand!

In 1993 I marched in the Gay and Lesbian rally in DC. Almost a million people were there, that night, on the way home, I heard on the car radio that police estimated that “several hundred thousand showed up” – excuse me?

In June of 1994 I went to the Stonewall 25 Rally in New York City. It was nothing short of amazing in its scope. A sea of humanity lined the streets of New York City, a rainbow flag ONE MILE LONG was unfurled (it ran from 37th St up to 57th Street along 1st Avenue). A rally formed after the actual parade (that must have lasted at least three hours, the parade that is). To be at this event made me so proud to belong to this community. The next day, the only thing I could find in the paper concerning this event was a picture of the mile long flag and the obligatory picture of some drag queens. The press did not even acknowledge the scope of this parade or what it was really all about.

I guess what I am trying to say, is that the so called liberal media rarely, if ever, acknowledges the protests of any sort (unless something violent occurs, you know because “if it bleeds, it leads” and that is why back in the 60’s and 70’s only the Chicago “Riots” and Kent State got so much press…

Be that as it may, I have linked your story at my blog and again I want to say THANK YOU. You are a real American, and I am proud and privileged to know you.

Keep kicking it baby! Red-heads Rule!!!!



5:46 PM  
Blogger Medbh said...

why, thank you Pax. I wish that I had gone to the protests you went to. You Rock!
And you are so right about the media coverage. On the bus home, a Courier Post reporter interviewed me by phone. I thought, great, SJ won't look like such a bush loving enclave after all. Nada. Picked up the courier yesterday, and the cover spewed "bush's declaration: let freedom ring." I let Hilda Swandumper's bird use it for potty paper, and then got drunk. I think there are a lot of dinar stashes in Texas.
.....whhiiy, yawl'd have to be a groundhog's asshole furty feet under the barn not know whet the god's dishonest truth is about that reign man's plan's. yessir, bout furty feet under...
and thank you, I feel better now. I hope that my little friend from dc has a Pax in her life, too. I know the groundhog assholes don't.

7:07 PM  

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