Sunday, January 28, 2007

Once again I packed myself up and took a bus ride to Washington DC for a rally. It was another rally calling for an end to the war in Iraq. Maybe you’ve seen the media reports about the “tens of thousands” who protested or maybe that Jane Fonda spoke at it, more on both of these things later.

First off Jim, a friend and local activist, and myself drove up to Toledo, OH to catch the bus to DC and mill about at the rally they were having. The rally itself was a bit uneven. I was intrigued by one speaker’s call for Congress to use the War Powers Act to bring our troops home, also the performance by a Black Muslim youth group was impressive. So we gathered and bordered the busses an hour late and away we went. The ride there was uneventful until we arrived at an understaffed restaurant and had to go the convenience store next to acquire breakfast. What I bought was identified as a breakfast burrito. Given that there was a tortilla involved I will assume it was a burrito but I cannot positively assert that it was food though. The next few hours were spent in constant prayer that my colon wouldn’t explode.

We get to DC and I gained several new fans simply because I understand how the DC Metro works. Apparently my bus was full of rally rookies or they all had short memories, because many people followed me as we made our way to the National Mall. The DC Metro system is a fine one indeed. It’s easy to follow if you do your research and know where you need to be. Which apparently lots of people didn’t but that’s ok, that’s why obsessive people like me are there.

So I arrive at the Mall at about 10:15 AM for the 11 AM rally and started hiking towards the east end of the Mall. When I got to the rally’s location I was a bit dumbstruck as there were only about 3000 people there. The rally got awfully unimpressive very quickly. But as good fortune would have it we just happened to get there early. As the day went along the crowd grew rapidly. It’s always tough to estimate a crowd you’re standing in. But the media’s “tens of thousands” seems a bit low. I would say 250,000 wouldn’t be an unreasonable estimate. But I have not seen any aerial crowd shots so it’s hard to be certain. Though I will say from the stage in front of 3rd Street to 4th Street it was packed. From 4th Street back to 7th Street was heavily populated but not as tightly packed as from 3rd to 4th Street.

The speakers were a generally good bunch at least the ones I heard. I particularly enjoyed Rabbi Lerner and Rep. Dennis Kucinich. Now I will admit that I did not hear all the speakers. About halfway through the rally my friends and I decided to wander about the rally and check out the tables and larger protest exhibits. So I did not hear a word Jane Fonda had to say. Of course Jane Fonda is infamous for her perceived sympathy for Communist regime of North Vietnam. I won’t get into that mess but Fonda did draw attention away from the other speakers and in some ways the entire rally and that’s a shame.

As always the rally crowd was wonderfully diverse and couldn’t have been nicer. It didn’t matter how tightly packed in you happened to be the people were always cordial and understanding. This was truly a peaceful gathering and the people were as inspiring as any speaker there. It’s the people I meet no matter how briefly that draw me to these rallies more than anything else.

So the time came for us to board the bus bound for Toledo. So again we returned to the same restaurant we attempted to get breakfast at expect this time they were adequately staffed and I got to sit down to my first real meal in over a day. Though the food was honestly mediocre I couldn’t have been more pleased to eat an actual meal unless it was served to me on Diora Baird’s naked body.

I would be remiss not to thank my new friends Pam, Jack and Steve for making the bus ride more tolerable thanks to their pleasant and engaging conversation. I would also be remiss to not mention that Moon Beam (the female) and Sun Ray (the male), whose names I have changed, should learn to, as that greatest of modern philosophers The Rock has taught us, know their roles and shut their mouths. When the most memorable line from an overheard conversation is, and I am not making this up, “I’ve always had a good relationship with squirrels”. The conversation isn’t going so well. I should also mention that they consider the study of science to be critical to the understanding of the supernatural and paranormal. Oddly enough I’m an admirer of many a scientist and moderately well versed in science and I have yet to meet a good scientist who gives any regard to the supernatural or the paranormal. Towards the end of the journey they wondered aloud if other people resented them having this conversation because other people, as they put it, didn’t think as deeply as them. No it’s that the other people don’t think as deeply as you it’s that they don’t get as stoned as you. It’s not a matter of education or philosophy. It’s a matter of chemical intake. Now you can believe anything you want but stoner philosophy is best reserved for those quiet personal moments shared with a few friends over your favorite bong not sitting on a bus behind an easily irritated German-Irish skeptic.

Anyway enough of my pissing and bitching, though I’m sure you’re used to it by now. If you have never been to large rally like this I encourage you to go. It’s energizing and helps get you through those days when you feel like the journey is straight uphill.


Post a Comment

<< Home