Spent a very cold day in the nation's capital protesting today's embarrassingly lavish Republican coronation. Don't that idiot Bush and his de la Renta-clad missus realize that there's a "war" on? Or that people are suffering in Asia, Africa, and Newark? Bad, bad show.
And how about this: On the day the country is supposed to celebrate its values and founding principles, we had law-enforcement types doing their level best to prevent people from exercising their inalienable rights. The amount of security was amazing — the Man was inescapable. Security checkpoints prevented a lot of dissenters from being able to reach Pennsylvania Avenue, snipers were on rooftops, and thuggish-looking cops were everywhere. What is their goal?, I wondered. Are they trying to protect us all from terrorists, or are they trying to protect Shrubbie from his subjects?
I turned out to be among the lucky peaceniks — I got to spend some time at the International Answer rally, where I ment a fab young lady named Anna who helped me land a choice spot at 4th and Pennsylvania. Others were not so fortunate — thousands of protestors were held up at Secret Service checkpoints and not allowed to get any closer to the parade route. Friggin' typical: Shrubbie's coronation address contained a pledge to stop tyranny, yet his goons spent the day being tyrannical. God bless the USA.
As you can imagine, I was not in a good mood. The mistreatment of my partners in peace was hard to take: A small number of people ended up in police custody, including some Code Pink for Peace representatives arrested for shouting during Bushie's mouthing of empty rhetoric (since when is obedient silence mandated by law?). Other dissenters were actually pepper-sprayed by cops. And they call this America? There is no excuse. Granted, a tiny minority of the protesters behaved badly: I heard that a small group of anti-Bushies allegedly threw snowballs and pieces of fruit at Bush's and Cheney's limousines and that another small group pushed down a fence near the Willard Hotel. (I understand and share their frustration, but violence is never the answer.) But on the whole, the demonstrators were peaceful. The police violence was unnecessary. Worse, it was a cruel contradiction: A presidential inauguration is supposed to be an event for the people. Well, anti-Bush people have the right to take part too, even if they want to shout, even if they want to burn a stupid piece of cloth, even if you don't like their opinion. It is shameful and disgusting that many of them were not permitted to speak their piece about the human who is supposedly their president and employee too.