Her Ladyship

Notes from the gutter.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Raging against the machine

Saturday I fought against inertia and made myself get up off my couch and head down to the Mall for the big protest/concert. I almost didn't get there as I tried to be cute and avoid the crowds by getting off the metro a few stops early with the intention of walking down, only to be faced with streets blocked off around the White House and the World Bank (they were having their quarterly meeting this weekend)(and someone had thoughtfully spray-painted the anarchy symbol on the DC government utility trucks parked outside the Bank as part of crowd control. Just a gentle reminder of who you don't like and why). A walk that should have taken maybe fifteen minutes, tops, turned into an hour-long death march. Was I grouchy by the time I finally got down to the Mall.

I had good timing, though, as I arrived during the middle of Cindy Sheehan's speech. I made my way through the assorted boths, who were equal-opportunity protestors and pretty much ran the gamut of left-wing causes, and found a spot in the grass where other slackers were taking a load off.

I also got to hear Steve Earle sing, a surprisingly articulate Washington Wizard talk, and - finally! - The Coup perform. They were as good as I'd hoped - I'll have to check out their CD when it comes out in February. After that, I wandered around to check out all the signs/t-shirts (my current favorite: Make Levees, Not Wars). Then I started to get a little chilly and, like the good liberal that I am, decided to pack it in and head back home.

I'm not sure of how many people were there. The organizers claimed 300,000; maybe. The Mall is a really big space and the protest/concert took up a sizable chunk of it. Everyone was very unified in their signs: they all had to do with the war in Iraq, which I appreciated. My pet peeve about these events is that usually they bring out everyone who has the slightest grievance against the government and the multitude of messages ends up diluting the overall protest. I'm not sure if Saturday changed anyone's mind but it certainly seemed to consolidate the anti-war sentiment into a coalition that may be able to make a difference. Or at least one hopes it will.


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