Monday, September 26, 2005

What Next?

So, I went to Washington and joined in the march. I didn't get arrested, or beat up, so I consider the day a success.

I was interviewed by a reporter -- he claimed to be from NPR and asked me some good, challenging questions. I thought I handled them well enough to be on the radio, but haven't heard myself on the airwaves yet...

Was it important that I showed up? Yes, I think it was -- at least to me. I needed to do something positive with my anger about this war. I needed to stand up and be counted. I needed to support those who stood up, and those who rode in wheel chairs, and all those who are stuck in Iraq and could not come to DC to stand for themselves. Yeah -- it was important.

Will it make a difference? Yes, I think it will. For too long, Democrats have figured they have more to lose than to gain by opposing this war -- so they have done nothing. That will have to change now. Even Republicans are becoming vocal -- the Democrats are being shamed by the example of Chuck Hagel. They are being shamed by the Raging Grannies and the Pink Women for Peace and the Veterans and others who marched on Saturday. It will indeed make a difference.

The NY Times put the story on page A26, but our story was told on the streets of our nation's capital. Between 150,000 and 300,000 people filled the streets for hours -- believe me it was impressive.

We arrived at the gathering place, not far from the Washington Monument, around 12 noon. The march was scheduled to start at 12:30. We fell into the crowd in the street, and waited till almost 2pm without any movement at all. Finally, knees stiff from standing still in that great throng, we found our way to a small space of open grass and sat for half an hour, until the marchers by us began at long last to move.

The crowd was enormous, but the first moment that I realized how large it might be is when I looked up a side street and saw that the crowd in front of me and behind me was matched by an immense crowd that filled the other streets in the area. This march was spread all over the place and was obviously many times larger than I had imagined.

I realized we were way more than 100,000 people -- probably twice that many. Maybe more.

That was a good feeling.

The frustration of the past five years is not washed away, but in some small way, the march helped mitigate it. Knowing there is something you can do, and actually doing it, is the key to power.

So I ask myself. What next?

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