Protest March | Washington, D.C.

The air is electric, the feeling incomparable. The raw force of 100,000 people marching in unison and common vision is inspiring. I've marched many times in Salt Lake City and was in San Francisco for the ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism) rally in 2005 (for the March 19th anniversary of the invasion). While that march was larger than the recent march in D.C., there is something wholly unique about marching in our nation's capital. We were marching 120 people wide, completely shutting down eight-lane Pennsylvania Avenue, and nearly 10 blocks deep.

There were Iraq veterans clad in Army fatigues leading the march, as well as Vietnam vets, Korea, Afghanistan... There were the ubiquitous hippies and obligatory drum circles, but the hallmark of this march was the sheer number of teenagers, college students, professionals in suits, concerned grandmothers, and middle Americans. ANSWER published an excellent article on this rise of this new movement. The article articulates well how this march shows a turn in the tide and that this march is reminiscent of the protests in the peak of dissent over Vietnam (ie: arrests, demonstrations of civil disobedience, tear gas, riot gear, etc.)

[Chanting: "Tell me what democracy looks like!"
"This is what democracy looks like!"]

I've said I want my country back, I also want my words back. Patriotism, for instance, is one word the political right has hijacked and twisted and destroyed and handed back as a slap in the face. Do they have no sense of history? Dissent protects democracy and protest is the highest form of patriotism. How dare anyone accuse me of not loving this country because I speak against its policies and leaders. Stop spinning the story. It's not about the troops, it's about our immoral leadership.

The irony and hypocrisy are astounding. As I left the crowd to walk back to the Metro I was barraged by counter protesters. I was one single person, five blocks away from the protest at this point, when a man saw my blue sign with a white dove sketched in the middle and ran up to me. He stuck his bullhorn up to the side of my face and shouted in my ear, "Support America! Support our Troops! We are the Christians, you asshole, and you're going to hell!" Awesome.

It is because I love this country so much that I protest so loudly. It is because I love this country and because I have taken the time to gain a realistic and well-informed knowledge of its history that I know that we can be so much better than we are. We can be more compassionate, more fair, more ethical, more respectful, more curious, more critical. The degree of my anger as to the direction this country is heading is equivalent only to the degree of my love for it.

And yet, even with all that has gone awry, how fortunate are we to be able to gather, rally, chant, protest, dialogue, debate, march, voice dissent, and call for the impeachment of our leaders...right on their font lawn? That's the America I know and love. God bless that.

Finally, what would a protest be without The Crazy Guy?
This is for you, Crazy Guy. Keep rockin!

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