Thursday, March 20, 2008

Finally, Anti War Demonstrations that Do The Job!

When I walked out of my office building this afternoon to get lunch, I landed right in the middle of this anti-war demonstration, coming straight down K Street, NW.

My heart leapt, I nearly cried with the joy of seeing kids taking up banners and placards -- and later on, their bodies -- to protest the obscene war we wage against . . . who knows anymore? McCain sure doesn't know, and he;s supposed to know. And Bush is so simple minded that we only know that it's against the bogeymen. I guess it's against terrorists, people who are so blown away by American blindness (as well as their own stunted sense of how to lead an effective life) that they strap bombs on themselves and detonate them in crowds of mothers and children and babies and fathers and lovers and shoppers. And kill a lot of people.

It was pouring rain, but that didn't dim the energy and dedication of these youngsters, who have got it right.

Later, when I ran into my friend and colleague, Amina Khan, and we plunged into the intersection of Connecticut and K Streets, the heart of Washington DC's most traffic'd zone, where the kids had chained themselves in a big circle and heavily drummed dance music (if you can call it music, it sounds more like the roars of motorcycle platoons to these ancient ears), we talked a bit with the cops lined up facing the demonstrators. One cop was taking it all seriously and screaming about the billions of dollars this whole thing was costing, forgetting, of course, the billion billions we are pumping into Iraq. Other cops said they were the friendly face of DC police, nice neighbors. The plan was to let the cold and the rain disperse the marchers, not attack, not try to break it all up.

One young woman -- who had a Masters in public policy but who thought she could change people more by teaching yoga and meditation at the Ronald Reagan Building with its banks of government offices -- who took refuge under Amina's umbrella, had her first demonstration against the Ku Klux Klan. Amina was demonstrating against aparthied. And I of course showed my age by recounting the demonstrations against the draft busses entering the Oakland Induction Center, against the Viet Nam war. So long ago.

The display of police power was chilling. They may have been jovial fellows, for the most part, but the massing of motorcycles and cop cars, all with lights flashing, enhanced by the rain on the pavement, was scary.

Why do we need to have so much firepower against our own children, who happen to disagree with some of their parents? Too much money into police power and not enough into education, health care, environmental protection. Where are this nation's priorities?