Keeping Up Appearances

I’ve said before that I don’t like getting into left-meta discussions about who wore what to the rally, because I don’t care that much. I think one of the comments toTbogg’s post here is largely correct, that the two people with the “Say No To Veal” signs wouldn’t get noticed so much if there were 600,000 people with “Say No To War” signs, so if you want a protest to conform to your expectations, ain’t nobody stopping you from having one.

Would perfect message discipline be nice? Absolutely. But you know, the veal people get press because everybody but the veal people stays home. Plus, the veal people aren’t hurting anybody, unlike Dick Cheney.

All of which is my way of saying I was in Washington last Saturday to speak at Camp Democracy, and I loved the Bush Puppets, and so did the six zillion Japanese people who stopped by to take pictures of them. It was wet, it was muddy, there were protest songs and signs about lots of different things, and it was still profoundly moving to see this kind of dissent in the heart of the city’s patriotic tourist pageant. I sit here in Chicago, in the bluest city in one of the bluest states, and talk about how Bush sucks. Other people do it on his front lawn.

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The other thing that was moving, and I wrote about it in my column for next week, was that all this was taking place just over the Washington Monument hill from the World War II memorial, where I stopped for a while:

In the face of that, and the contrast between the two displays of patriotism could not be more stark, I’m not gonna say anybody who wants to speak up should stay quiet. No matter what your sign’s about.


ps. Except the kid with the ponytail dry-humping the giant blow-up Bush as Pinocchio display. Dear kid: I support your right to molest representations of our national leaders as a powerful expression of your distaste for them (or an equally powerful if more disturbing expression of your admiration), and I hope you’ll support my right tobe as squicked out as I’ve ever been in my whole life, okay?

2 thoughts on “Keeping Up Appearances

  1. Athenae —
    I was going to come down and introduce myself when you were there, but was felled by a bastard cold/flu bug (undoubtedly of Republican origin).
    I work in DC, surrounded by these beautiful monuments. I don’t get to them much, though, for reasons that are probably lame. My in-laws came to town from Ohio about a month ago, though, and wanted to go sightseeing, so off we went. We visited the Jefferson Memorial, (couldn’t get tickets for MIL for the Washington Monument since you apparently need to be in line by about 6:30 a.m — I love her, but come on), the Lincoln Memorial, the Korean War Veterans Memorial, the World War II Memorial, and Arlington Cemetery (plus some other cool places like Union Station). It’s difficult to express the awe I felt, standing in front of Thomas Jefferson’s statue, and reading his words on the walls of his monument. Or looking at Lincoln’s worn, sad face, and wondering what he was really like as a man. Or looking at the rows upon rows of white markers at Arlington, knowing that each and every one represents the end of hopes and dreams for that person and those who loved him/her, a sacrifice that was made willingly, for the good of those of us who would come after.
    And then I think of the venal and cowardly so-called representatives who are running my beautiful country now, and my heart breaks.

  2. My husband and I are making plans to come out to D.C. next year, probably during Spring Break. I’ve only been there once, for a grand total of 8 hours (I doubt if anybody has ever done the Air & Space Museum as fast as I did).
    The thing that amazes me, though, is that anybody can live and work in that city and not be affected by their surroundings. They’re constantly faced with examples of the best there is in American history, and yet they seem to manage not to live up to those examples, not even a little, tiny bit. I was only there for a few hours, but I felt so inadequate when I looked at all those memorials. How can Dubya be so awful when he lives inside of one of those memorials?
    It’s frightening, but even more than that, it’s sad. He’s a very small man.

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