Saturday, April 29, 2006

Life March

It was beautiful in a way that probably no writer could adequately describe—simply a "you had to be there" kind of moment. It was like being at a massive family picnic...with an attitude.

The event, of course, was Saturday's march here in New York City. Tens of thousands of us were there, but the numbers don't matter (the principal organizer, UFPJ, estimated 300,000; the NYPD said it was less than that but wouldn't guess by how much). It was the energy of this event that made it what it was.

Above all, it was an outlet for the voice of the natural family. Old people, young people, middle aged people, parents pushing strollers and other folks pushing wheelchairs; teens and pre-teens chanting their revulsion at the prospect of a poisoned world at war being handed down to them; veterans and teachers and farmers and revolutionaries and student groups and communists and liberals and Republicans and churches and synagogues and women's groups—they were all there, walking together through lower Manhattan, filling the air with the noise of dissent—the shimmering notes of democracy.

They walked underneath the slogans and advertising marquees of this capital of corporate America—Citibank, McDonalds, Chase Manhattan—with their own slogans, their own signs. Since the mainstream media has utterly failed to adequately present the imagination and diversity of these, I'll offer my own selection.

"I thought the AntiChrist was supposed to be charming and intelligent" (over a pic of Bush in one of his freqent gaping, dumbstruck moments)
"Our tax dollars are not venture capital"
"Regime change begins at home"
"Would someone please give him a blowjob so we can impeach him?"
"Books, not bombs"
"Our blood—his oil"
"Today we march—tomorrow we vote"

I met people from Wisconsin, Ohio, and every state in New England and the Northeast. Obviously, I encountered an infinitesimal fraction of the people and groups involved (to get an idea of the scope of this march, view the list of endorsers). This march was the organizational work of ten major groups, and the timing, order, and flow of this event revealed a marvel of planning that any corporate executive would admire. United For Peace, Rainbow/PUSH, Friends of the Earth, and the other major organizers of this event—take a bow, all of you. You deserve the thanks of every person in this republic who still believes that dissent is, as Howard Zinn once observed, the highest form of patriotism.

But the unity, the deep, univocal consensus that brought these tens of thousands of diverse voices together as one, came not from any organizing body or institutional force. It came from something that we might give one of any number of names, none of which quite encompasses its strength and beauty. It came from a light that we each equally, though uniquely, carry within us—whether we're at the front of the march with the celebs (Jessie Jackson, Susan Sarandon, and Cindy Sheehan were there, or so I heard), or in the back (where I was). It came from that force of cosmic attraction that breaks down nationalistic and political barriers; that crosses party and socioeconomic class lines; that brings us together at the most critical and perilous moments, where unity is not a political slogan but a bodily need, like food or water or sex. As I said, this energy may be known by many different names, one of which may be Love.


Over the course of the week, I'll be posting pictures, videos, and stories from this extraordinary event. There will, of course, be a need for more marches, more protests, more unified demands for change, more calls for the restoration of the leadership of this nation to its people. Here at Daily Rev, we'll be following news of each event as it is planned and scheduled; and we will always post news of events of either local or national significance that you wish to send in. Use the comments section or email us.

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