The March on Washington D.C.
This weekend I went to Washington D.C. and marched. Many of you have heard of Cindy Sheehan and Camp Casey, if you don't you can learn about it here. Sheehan recently went on a massive bus tour across the U.S., stopping in several cities and giving talks about her position regarding the Iraq War. On Saturday, September 24th, the 3 tour buses converged on the Ellipse in Washington, joining the nearly 150,000 people already there. That's A LOT of people.
With Cindy Sheehan and her supporters was Jesse Jackson and his supporters.
I went as a Quaker. Before y'all jump to any conclusions, let me first explain. Until my ascension into atheism, I was a very devout Quaker. Historically, Quakers were the ultimate protesters. And we still are, but there are a lot less of us now. I say us because, though I am atheist, I still consider myself a Quaker in every other way. There are a lot of us atheist-Quakers at my meeting, we even have a name: "non-theist." Heh. Anywho, what I'm saying is that wearing a T-shirt proclaiming that you are a Quaker (as I did) basically gives you instant respect in a crowd, and an almost as instant press pass. In the protester scene, we are an endangered species, and everything someone sees us, they give us a thumbs up and yell something like "Go Quakers." It's a nice feeling, but back to the post.
To get to Washington, I took a train. Since I was going with about 30 other Quakers, we managed to get a package deal or something. I got about 4 hours of sleep on the train, I couldn't sleep, to excited. Actually, though I didn't know it then, I was coming down with a bad cold which I think everyone else on the train now has. Oh well.
When I stumbled off the train at 8 o'clock in the morning I was met with a dreary assembly of about 200 other people stumbling off the train. The station reflected the general mood, i.e. "I want to go back to sleep." But soon we recovered, and with an obvious lack of spring in our step we made our to the Ellipse. About halfway there we met the crowd.
I had never seen so many people in my life. I nearly fell over with shock. You moved two inches to the left and you bumped into someone, and when you tried to move the 2 inches back you bumped into someone else who had just taken your spot. I'm fairly tall, so I could see over much of the crowd, my mother, on the other hand, was about a foot below me and sick with claustrophobia. Eventually we got there, and the 600 people we had been walking with joined up with everyone else, and I fell over with shock.
The match hadn't started yet, so we waited. After about two hours of waiting, Mom and I decided to check out the Washington Memorial. That's one helluva tall building. If you look up at it at just the right angle it looks like a path straight into the sky.
Then we got a call from our meeting, the March had begun. Soon the crowds once again engulfed us. Like an ocean, the people washed back and forth across the horizon. It made me sea sick. And so we walked.
Every so often we passed a white man with a microphone telling us we were all going to burn in hell for challenging God's chosen leader of the U.S., George Bush. Once we passed a white man and his white wife and white son, all of them screaming at us. I took a picture.
Soon the White House appeared. I took my sweatshirt off and made my Quaker shirt apparent, making a path to the fence. About 100 armed guards protected every angle of the White House, and a few even had their weapons drawn. And I saw Snipers on the roof. I quickly realized the reason we had stopped, Sheehan and Jackson were answering question about 10 feet away. They seemed to have materialized out of no where. Determined to get some good pictures for THE DAYTIME, I headed forwards and entered the core of the crowd.
The only analogy I can think of is the Earth. At the Crust were the observers of the march, some supporters, some not. Then there are the Tectonic Plates, people moving away from the core or towards it. After that is the Liquid Magma, those trapped within the crowd, unable to move farther in or farther out, stuck forever. And finally, there is the Core. In the Core there is less than no room. I mean that literally. When you enter it half of you is instantly crushed to the size of a flea by 400 other people, all squished into 40 sq. feet of space. At the very center there were Sheehan and Jackson, answering questions to the press. After much waiting and pushing and losing of various appendages, I was at the center. I was within half a foot of Jesse Jackson and Cindy Sheehan, and there were still 3 people in front of me. But I did get a few good pictures.
Halfway through the March my shoes, which I had had for about 2 or 3 years, finally gulped their last gasp of air, and died. So about a third way through I finally had to break out and head to a shoe store, where I bought, along with a pair of shoes, a Berea. Hey, when in D.C.
I also saw the Lincoln memorial, the Reflecting Pool, and the Vietnam War Memorial. They were all very awe inspiring, but I was tired, so we took a few pictures and headed back to the train. . .
We are governed by a man who consults an invisible man in the sky for advice before he orders the destruction of whole societies. This invisible man must be an idiot, 'cause Bush has made some of the worst decisions the U.S. has ever seen. The Iraq War is stupid, pointless, and must be stopped.