Sunday, September 25, 2005

WOW!

On September 24th five members of the Tiffin Area Pax Christi, including myself, packed on a bus in Cleveland and headed east bound for Washington DC. Once there I was in for one of the few unforgettable days of my life.

First things first, the crowd was enormous. The Washington DC police estimate at least 100,000 I say that seems a might bit low. I’ve been in crowds of over 100,000 in both Ohio Stadium and Michigan Stadium. You could have lost 100,000 people in that crowd. My guess was at least 250,000 people attended. The Ellipse was packed with people and the area surrounding the Ellipse filled in until it was bursting at the seams with people. People were surrounding the Washington Monument. People spilled into the National Mall. The route that we marched was absolutely shoulder-to-shoulder for most of the march. Surprisingly, the people there were so polite and friendly it was inspiring. In spite that not everyone agreed on everything we all just got along wonderfully. It was inspiring.

The media has a nasty tendency to make protesters seem abnormal. They tend to focus on the ones with odd haircuts or multiple piercings or an odd fashion sense. Though those people were there, so was Middle America. In fact the crowd was mostly Middle America, you know the kind of people you see every day at the store. But that’s not to say the crowd wasn’t diverse, it was wonderfully diverse. The crowd was filled with people form almost every imaginable walk of life and religion and ethnicity. There were Christians and Buddhists and black and white and Asian and Haitians and Palestinians and Iraqis and Anarchists and Green Party members and Democrats and Republicans and Communists and elderly and teenagers and toddlers. In short, it was America how it ought to be and it was beautiful.

Of course because of Hurricane Rita we just diddley poo media coverage. I don’t care. We took to the streets to make our voices heard and we did.

Personally the rally reenergized me. My commitment to end this war and America’s foreign policy of strong-arming those we disagree with stronger then ever. America can do better and be less of a bully and more of a guardian angel to the world. If at least 250,000 people have their say it will be.

In spite of the bumpy bus ride and the irregular eating and having to hunt down places to use the restroom, I would to it all again in a heartbeat. I will go back to more rallies and start making my voice heard more often.

On a brief aside I read that the pro-war demonstrations in DC on September 25th gathered all of 400 people. Even if you assume that figure is low and triple it, it’s still only about 1,200 people who attended. That’s about 1 pro-war demonstrator for every 200 to 250 anti-war demonstrators. Ah the insults I could hurl, but I digress.

I leave you now with that most important of questions, “What’s so funny about peace, love and understanding?”

Thank you Nick Lowe.

2 Comments:

Blogger Josie said...

Wow! What a marvelous description--especially of the diverse crowd. That diversity was exactly what struck me when I went to my first DC march in 2002. I suppose I was expecting a scene out of the 60's. How about posting a photo of your favorite sign??

6:12 PM  
Blogger Eric said...

Hi Josie,

I'll be posting a few pics before too long. It's not my camera and it's been a bit slower than I thought.

Soon, I promise.

7:40 PM  

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