gall and gumption

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Peace March

I started feeling like I ought to go and then it became increasingly difficult to talk myself out of it. It seemed to me that the point of it was to show up in numbers, that numbers would say as much as anything, so I thought that's what I'd bring to the party. One more body. It was the biggest crowd I have ever been in in my life, but that's not saying much. It was hard to get a sense of the scale of anything, I don't have very much of a sense of the scale of anything in DC anyway. I took some pictures -- here are a few.

These members of SEIU traveled by bus from Indiana to be in the march. The Service Employees International Union is, well, just what it says. They work in places like nursing homes. In other words they have some of the least appealing low-wage jobs and have had to fight really hard to be allowed to unionize. These folks probably left work Friday night, boarded the bus, rode all the way to Washington. Then after a day of standing around, waiting, marching, chanting, and beating their plastic-paint-bucket drums (really well!) they would get on that bus for the long ride back to Indiana. One day of rest then back to work.

Here are a couple hippie freaks.

Here's another one of those pinko fringe radical outfits.

Speaking of radical outfits, check out this lady who was there all by herself, carrying a sign, in this magnificent full-length mink coat and a chic little hat. How splended and brave of her to come out alone, dressed like no one else in the whole place.

I'm not sure what the point of the devil was, but I imagine that someone had fun making him. He was with a group that called itself the "Rhythm Workers' Union." They had a guy on stilts dressed as Uncle Sam, with a long nose, like Pinocchio's when he's lying. They all looked like they had been doing this for years.

Once the march started moving it took about half an hour to get from 3rd street to the department of Labor (about a block and a half), and I was up near what I thought was the front of the body of the crowd. I was up front in the sense that there was a much bigger mass of people behind me, but the front was far, far ahead of me, out of sight. There was no way, from inside the crowd, to gauge the size of it. You were surrounded by bodies, and you couldn't see very far. By this point my back was killing me. I had my purse with me and it was heavier and heavier (coins, two paperback books, camera). I wanted to go the whole way but my back was playing the devil. I had been standing around for three going on four hours. So I cut out of the crowd and went up on the steps of the Department of Labor, where I tried to get a sense of the crowd's size. This photo does it best of the ones I had. You can see the people right in front here, but there is another mass at least that size moving up the middle of the mall and another moving on the far side as well. The front of this group has already reached the Capitol, about 2-3 blocks away) and disappeared around the back of it. Bear in mind that this stream, which is the smaller part of the huge mass I was in, on the north side of the Mall, was only one of about three streams of people that were all this size, extending from I suppose somewhere near the Washington Monument, at least.


At 10:09 PM, Blogger Chuckling said...

Looks like fun, or at least a nice day. I've been to a lot of big marches (as an observer) and almost always find the vibe interesting.

The one at the Republican convention in New York was the all-time best though. If you want to get a feel for it, or at least one small slice, you can check out my little video.

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