Sunday, February 16, 2003

Yesterday we went out in the cold to protest the war, me coughing hysterically and Sascha walking like Frankenstein because he pulled a muscle in his back. Jamie and Bee were very kind to us; they treated us just like normal healthy people.

We didn't get anywhere near the actual site where the speakers were, we just walked up 1st Avenue for a while (in a big crowd) until the cold air seeped into our underwear and our skin started to freeze. Then we ducked into a Chinese restaurant where other upper-middle-class protesters were taking refuge. The waiter was very surly and kept slamming the kitchen door. But the scallion pancakes were excellent.

I have so many questions about the protest.

1. Why is political protest in the US so inextricably linked with the pop culture of the 1960s? What was protest like before the 1960s? According to today's New York Times, "The singer Richie Havens led off the proceedings with a rendition of 'Freedom,' the song he performed 34 years ago on Max Yasgur's farm for the Woodstock Festival." Um, could anything be less relevant? Or more annoying? More likely to make any person with a brain want to run away as fast as they can? What the hell?

2. Is it good or bad that there is this protest culture of people who tag around at all the protests and other hippie-type events with their own damn agenda that may or may not be totally irrelevant to the thing that is being protested? I mean, I love Medical Marijuana Barbie to death, but if she is at an anti-war protest, shouldn't she be protesting the war?

3. What was the police department's plan? They were directing people all over the place with barricades and shouting, and what was the point? A lot of the protesters seemed to think that "the man" was just messing with them, but that seems a bit petty, doesn't it?

Here are Doc's thoughts on the a non-participant:

I nearly got arrested yesterday for being in a demonstartion I wasn't in.

All around our apartment, on 4 sides there was a HUGE anti-war demo and I"m coming back from the laundry with my clean clothes in a pink bag. While I was out for lunch with MEr and my father in law and later at the laundry they cut off 57th ST. so after I moved between the sawhorses to get to my home, this cop comes up and says "DO you want me to arrest you?"

I asked what for. He couldnt' find a charge but I told him I lived in that building and he didn't believe me. I had no ID and he said I needed it. Eventually, with some amount of bargaining my laundry and I were let through, but then another  diff cop half a block later says "You need ID to get in here you know.' I told him I didn't. He says he's a cop, I tell him I'm an attorney and I DON"T need ID to walk the streets of NYC. He let me through only b/c the cop earlier had let me into his area. I presume he had pissed on the firehydrant to mark it. Actually one does NOT need identification to walk pretty much anywhere in the UNited States and laws made to the contrary have been struck down as unconstitutional.

I was respectful at all time b/c I didn't want to be arrested for just having an attitude (an  "A" misdemeanor ) but I'm getting REALLY sick of the cops getting in my way, ,wanting to know what I"m doing here and there (last week).

I wasn't in the demo. But it is HUGE, the biggest I've ever seen. We live between Lexington and Third and epicenter is at the UN on 45th and First and the streets this far away around here are still packed. THere are large demos in Europe, Asia, Australia and NZ also.



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