Saturday, January 27, 2007

"Bad Activists!"

This morning Magenta and I tuned in to C-Span to watch coverage of the war protest in Washington D.C. It was 9:00 A.M. our time and noon in the country's capitol. We were very much taken with the passion and conviction shown by speakers such as Jesse Jackson, Susan Sarandon, and Jane Fonda. They each made their points, speaking on behalf of Black people, veterans, women, poor folk, etc. We agreed with almost all of what was said, and also believe this is an unjust war based on imperialistic fantasy and corporate greed. However; we noted that the cost of this debacle for people with disabilities beyond wounded vets wasn't mentioned by any of the featured speakers, and this troubled us.

By 10:20 we went online to see if there was anything going on locally that we might be able to participate in. We wanted to make sure that a perspective regarding people with non war- related disabilities would be included in the discussion. We went to Portland Indy Media and found a protest scheduled for noon in Vancouver Washington in support of the D.C. march. Although we knew that a peace march would totally wipe us out, since we had contagious insomnia last night, both waking up at 2:00AM, we decided to go.

The next hour was extremely energizing. We turned up the volume on the T.V. and ran around the house getting ready. Magenta painted a sign that on one side read "WAR $UCK$", and on the other "MANDATE (big peace sign)". I gathered up all the pertinent buttons I could find. "Question Authority", "No War!", "Be Vigilant... Watch the Right Wing Like a Hawk", "Healthcare For All", "Choose", and a few white dove pins. We affixed these to our outer shirts. We grabbed the camcorder and made sure it was good to go. It was. I located an African shaker instrument, a Tibeten prayer drum, and took the mouth piece off my recorder. We were fully loaded. The final touch was our wildly colorful activist hats which we had yet to wear in public. Out the door we went at 11:20.

Living near the I-5 bridge that connects Oregon and Washington, we made it to the designated protest site by 11:35, in plenty of time to find a descent parking spot and join the fray. Only one small problem... nobody else was there. I commented that it seemed strange that organizers wouldn't be there already and we decided to drive around the area, thinking that possibly there was a staging area in a different place. We canvassed the neighborhood completely; up and down every street within a mile. No luck. At 11:50 we took one more spin past where this event was supposed to take place. Uh-uh. At that point we got back on the freeway to head home.

As we drove along in silence, totally bummed out, Magenta finally muttered, “We’re the worst activists on the planet – like we held a protest and nobody came.” By this point we were laughing, feeling stupid, and wondering how this had happened. “Yes, a job well done." I immediately came back with "Mission accomplished. Now take off that stupid hat." By the time we pulled into the driveway it was 12:10; just in time to share a turkey bologna sandwich and take a long overdue nap.

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