30 August 2004

We March

What a day. There were so many images and messages out there — though by now so many have become familiar. There is no doubt that folks think Bush is a liar.

It probably goes without saying, but the most striking image was the sheer number of bodies.

That, and the fact that there were not many arrests before 8pm put coverage on the evening news into a favorable light.

On a smaller scale, I was struck the most by one man with a sign that read simply: “MY BROTHER IS ON HIS THIRD TOUR OF COMBAT IN IRAQ. BUSH IS A LIAR.” He stared down the cops and security reps at Madison Square Garden with such a look of intensity. It was an emotional moment.


Bush TongueMy favorite part, though, had to be when we reached 34th street. Rather than the usual ads for Lancôme or Nike Sport, the big screen on the side of Macy’s was showing Fox News. Just then, the coverage turned to the preparations for the convention inside the Garden and at Ellis Island where Cheney and friends were speaking. Having just passed the Garden, everyone was already riled up, but when Cheney came on the screen folks really got into it — booing, hollering, chanting, and waving their signs at the giant TV screen.

Other highlights:

- The coffins. You’ve seen the photos. There were just so many of them. When I first heard the idea, it sounded a little goofy to me. But I think they pulled it off well. It was not a very somber mood on the ground, but in photos the impact is clear.

- When a marching band started playing “Crazy in Love” it was a real energy boost for folks who had been on their feet for 4 hours or so.

Bush Jesus- So many people wearing and selling political T-shirts.

- The puppet head of Bush with the tongue/speech that continually rolled out of his mouth in a big fabric loop. It was pretty clever.

- The counter-protestor holding the sign that read “Support Bush. Trust Jesus”... interspersed with silhouettes of military vehicles of various kinds.

I’m increasingly realizing the importance of designers taking the initiative to put their messages out. I recognized several posters printed off of various Web sites. People had made their own posters with these, pinned the images to their shirts, their bags, etc. Folks were eager to use images and signs created by others. United for Peace and Justice had printed up a bunch of signs and flags available for people to pick up and use. People were happy to have something to hold up. I experienced this last March when I brought a few extra signs and folks snapped them up enthusiasitically.

The day ended for many with a picnic in Central Park — defying the Mayor’s refusal to permit a rally there, but also a nice, leisurely action against the politically motivated “elevated” terror alert.