Sunday, April 11, 2010

...after the thaw...

Being that it has been a while since posting, the best explanation one may offer is that of Sir Thomas More who, when asked, by the royal inquisitors, why he had not voiced approval for King Henry the Eighth's divorce and remarriage, was said to have remarked: Silence implies consent. You may then say: Consent to what? OR what is this sh*t? And be quite right to do so.

However, if that don't grab you, then appreciate, if you will, the sage counsel of a 60's tv icon:”People yakety-yak the streets/And waste their time away/But Mr. Ed will never speak/Unless he has something to say...”

Which brings me to my next post...

Uh...that is getting waaay too far ahead.

The subject of the return to the blog is, sort of, where it all began: politics. Or, rather, the struggle of certain public initiatives by individuals of some merit and groups of some influence to wrest the destiny of this country back from those who would govern by consensus of financial cartels and theocratic aspirations. On reflection, though, it might not really be that as much as a sort of celebration of participation. One of the tags on the accompanying video is “civics 101”. This is not an attempt to be arch or coy but more in the same vein of something Zappa once said. When asked why he, a musician, chose to get involved with politics and international relations he shrugged, “That's just what I learned in my high school civics class.” That is what is so striking. Some of us were actually paying attention then. Why was that?

The e-mail was one of those press-gang attempts to get anyone to respond to a call for volunteers to “March for Healthcare Reform”. It was, unfortunately, for a Monday. Then again, the timing was perfect, coming right as the debate in Congress was reaching a fever pitch on the subject aforesaid. It hit exactly where a personal level of outrage had reached someplace near the autonomous function, touching the soft palate at the back of the mouth, inducing a gorge reflex.

So, rather than vomit, we signed on. After all, it was a beautiful weekend to be in our nation's capitol. There were only a few cherry blossoms out but the ones on the trees fairly quivered in anticipation of the next dawn, or two.

Oddly enough, it was also the weekend of a big march for Immigration reform! So all Sunday it was huge with Mexican and Latino families and banners for SEIU (hospital workers—coincidentally). Despite that turnout, they all left with the sundown.

The real drama was on the Hill. We missed the Tea Baggers trying to intimidate the Majority leaders entering Congress and then linking arm-in-arm (and no, the comparison with the heydays of the Civil Rights movement was not lost on most observers) to walk through them, and, as well, the bear-baiting by the extremist members for them to get in the gallery and disrupt proceedings. No one disputes their rights to make their voices heard nor their right to peaceful assembly and even loud protest, but things started from this have gone beyond that and—well, no more of it will be mentioned here. The final act was the end of the debate in fury and vitriol of a sort that is rare among the Right, and sounding more than ever like petulant children. And then, way past midnight, some twenty blocks from our hotel, you could swear you heard the chimes of freedom flashing. (Why couldn't you hear the hurrahs and hallelujahs from the street, like when the Yankees won? Hard to figure, but Washington IS another country.) Then on come the Man himself to make the announcement (excerpted here) and you get a sudden spring shiver, what the Elf calls a “Kyoto chill”, not from the weather—which, bytheby, shows showers all day tomorrow—but from the occasion. History is being made all around you.

Upon arrival at the gathering point, it becomes clear that the march was primarily for the medical community, as the banners indicate. Nonetheless, they are most welcoming to any and all who would care to go along, but “lab coats in front please!” To make matters just more interesting, the bus from New York, the one with all our other recruited compatriots, is stuck in traffic and probably an hour late. Scheduled marches wait for no man or vehicle, and the clouds grow ever darker overhead. By the time the gathering speeches are even started, those who have not already encased their placards in plastic are wrapping, and also tearing holes in the corners of garbage bags for improvised ponchos. (The Elf, as ever, has her own faux leopardskin one.) As we turn up Pennsylvania Avenue, it is pouring, and hard to keep any chants going as the line gets strung out at the street crossings. Breaching the Capitol precincts, we are given canned beverages and a waxed cardboard box lunch for the equally daunting leg to the Hart Office building. There is quite a scrum at the doors because of the number of umbrellas trying to pass through security...”AND YOU CAN'T BRING IN YOUR SIGNS! PASS THEM TO THE COLLECTORS OUTSIDE!”...but someone apparently forgot to place collectors there.

Ah, the rest is self-explanatory.

...but one post-script: this is what change looks like...

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