This 2007 Or 1965? . . .Cont.
Jackson is up on stage now saying the same thing hes been saying for years,
Keep Hope Alive. There are so many people here I dont even see
him except just for a glance. The first time I ever saw him was when I was photographing
Cesar Chavez funeral years ago. I wasnt much older than those college freshmen
I rode with here on a bus from Indiana. Now, he seems really old, and I listen
as anti-war protester after anti-war protester speaks until their words grow into
a sad sea of sounds, like the distant waves crashing at low tide off in the distance.
I think I am sad.
And I go looking for those student s I rode in with on the bus. I look around
and everyone else is sad too. Something has died. I dont feel the sense
of energy or hope I felt from people at those early anti-war protests before this
mess even started or out in the streets of New York during the 2004 Republican
National Convention. I dont feel the sense of community the movement had
when people gathered in solidarity outside George W. Bushs ranch in Crawford,
mention this to the students but they look at me kind of strange. One kid says
this is the biggest thing like this he has been to. I guess I have compassion
fatigue or burnout. Its the same thing lots of other people have too
except most of them just didnt bother to show up this time. There is a lot
to be angry about and having all that anger takes away from other things, like
loving others, smelling flowers, enjoying the clear blue sky on a sunny winter
day, savoring each moment knowing the next one isnt guaranteed. Being angry
makes it hard to enjoy those things
but anger unexpressed is rage and it
manifests itself in lots of ways.
speakers are still speaking but the march has just begun. There is a sense of
a quiet rage that burns like phosphorus under water in the deep sea
on a moonless night just before a 100-year storm begins. You can see it in peoples
faces. These people are pissed off. They sit defiantly outside the offices of
the government, which they were always told was their government when the constitution
still protected things like free speech. The police tell them not to sit on the
ledges of buildings but they dont listen.
was a conspicuous absence of counter protester today as well. Normally, somewhere
on the route would be people holding, Support Our Troops signs. But,
I havent seen them. Last time there was even a support our troops rally.
Where are the Gold Star Families?
I reach the Capitol after the march there are police everywhere. I guess those
30 or 40 anarchists did make a feeble attempt to smash the state. I heard the
police held them off mostly, but the anarchists did manage to leave some messages
get into a discussion about the graffiti with a couple young anti-war activists.
A young woman says it wasnt going to help the anti-war movements cause.
Then a young man interrupts her, Congress
they dont care what
we think anyway. So what difference does it make?
away from the capitol steps I tell a couple older women about the graffiti and
they nearly fell down laughing. One woman says it isnt funny that the capitol
was defaced but she cant help but laugh anyway.
I speak to a woman who had protested at the Pentagon in the late 1960s. She says
she isnt impressed with the anarchists at all. She calls them cowards
who are afraid to show their faces for what they believe in. I saw them
up there, she said. Look theres one right there and she points
to a teenage boy still wearing a red scarf over his face.
she says loud enough so he can hear her. Look at his eyes, hes just
looking for trouble, its the adrenaline rush.
a woman tells me she thinks some of the anarchists were hired. Theyre just
here to create bad publicity for and cause discord among the anti-war movement.
Hill, which is the newspaper covering only the capitol has a story about
the vandalism on the front of its website the next day.
headline reads read, Anti-war protesters spray paint Capitol building.
it doesnt say anarchists, who numbered about 30, but anti-war protesters.
Hmmm? Thats a lot of spray paint.
media said there were tens of thousands of anti-war here protesters who marched
and rallied. The organizers said there were half a million. Id say there
were between 100,000 and 250,000 but its very hard to know for sure. Usually,
double whatever the media says, and whatever the organizers say is double the
number actually there since protest organizers have their reasons for wanting
a high turnout and the media, is always on the conservative side.
around 8 p.m., its night, its dark and its getting cold, I find
myself in the national mall all by myself (well, surely Im being watched
by security somewhere around here), but on this park bench its just me surrounded
by hundreds of anti-war signs either outright abandoned on the ground or piled
into and around trash cans.
suppose Ill be here again, a protester told me earlier after the march.
And the next time people will still be protesting the war in Iraq and perhaps
a war with Iran.
this 2007 or 1965?
Hogan January 31, 2007
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