Monday, March 17, 2003

Civics in Action

Happy St. Patrick's Day to all. We're having suitably grey Irish weather in Washington this afternoon, I am suitably dressed in green, and I am suitably having leftovers and staying in tonight. Washington's major family-friendly festivities for the holiday were held yesterday, and had Jeffrey and I not expended our weekend energies at the previous day's protest I may have had an interest in attending. As it was, we did not.

I had participated in a walk-out against the war in New York, but I had never been to a protest of the scale of the one on Saturday before. I was pleased to see that there were a lot of different kinds of people there, as opposed to the stereotypical anarchist hoodlums that give such gatherings a bad name. There were old people and kids, families and college students, veterans and people who lost children in the previous Gulf War. There were a few speakers who got on my nerves a bit when they tried to push other issues in conjunction with the anti-war sentiment and a few people who seemed more delighted at the fact that they could put dirty words on big signs than they were about the cause, but a lot of people were protest novices like myself. I was pretty shy about it in the beginning and insisted that I wouldn't hold a sign and was nervous on the Metro. But by the end of it I was quite comfortable and held one of the three signs Jeffrey took to the event. I wasn't even all that fazed when we passed a smallish group of pro-Bush protesters. Everyone behaved very well and the police were very good about the whole thing. I think it would have been an arrest-free event if it weren't for a few anarchist yahoos who broke away from the larger group to trash the World Bank. There's always someone that has to cause trouble.

I may go to another one if it's organized even half as well. Next time, though, I should probably bring sunblock, as I'm none too thrilled with the burns inflicted on my suitably Irish skin tone at the moment.