911 : the truth
Although I’m too young to have protested the 1960’s Vietnam War, all of us saw in Washington, D.C. what type of dissent transpired four decades earlier. Those fantastic people surrounding us were sick and tired of what has happened to our country and government, and they were showing the powers-that-be how dissatisfied they were in the most effective way possible. They got out in the street with tens of thousands of signs and let their voices ring forth for all to hear.
And the best part was, none of these protesters were afraid or trembling with fear because somebody on the radio told them to be afraid. Instead, they were courageous, angry, active, and willing to stand-up for what they believe in. Namely, that this war – based upon lies – is appalling, and it’s time to end the senseless bloodshed.
Quite a number of t-shirts said: “Stop Bitching, Start a Revolution!” I couldn’t agree more, and with WING TV co-host Lisa Guliani by my side, we held a 15-foot banner in front of the White House which exposed another deception --- the lie of all lies:
9-11 World Trade Center Controlled Demolition
As the number of marchers continued to grow, I realized that these were the people who represented the true America; the ones who forced the closure of 14th Street, 15th Street, 16th Street, and 17th Street, along with Pennsylvania Avenue, Constitution Avenue, and many others in the area … literally a four-block radius in all directions from the Oval Office was teeming with people who rose up and said in no uncertain terms: this is OUR country, and damn it, we want it back.
And in all honesty, our fellow protesters could have just as easily stayed home yesterday and worried about being hurt by the “police state.” But as I said, they weren’t afraid. Rather, they were heroic … historic … and hell-bent on exercising the rights which made this country great in the first place – the right to lawfully assemble.
Yes, these people in Washington D.C. and other communities (like Patriot Jim Kujawa in Tampa) were no longer part of the problem, they were the solution! They didn’t huddle in fear or crawl under their beds. Hell no. They were in our nation’s capitol being photographed by the corporate media and sending a shiver up the backs of those in power who mistakenly think they can keep pushing us around. Well guess what. 250,000-300,000 people pushed back yesterday at the White House, and hundreds of thousands of others did the same all around the world.
So, here at WING TV, we’re going to continue doing what we’ve been doing ever since this show began: promoting a message of positive activism and speaking truth to those who have hijacked our country. And thank God there are others … many others … out there who still give a damn about our homeland. These are the people who protested in Oklahoma City, at Ground Zero and the U.N. in New York City, who denounce the morally unconscionable federal income tax which feeds a criminal cabal, as well as all those who’ve attended other protests, rallies, and conventions, or took the extra step to help us get the word out. They’re also the ones who hand-out fliers on street corners, organize marches, or tell every person within ear-shot that it’s up to us to start making changes. These are the real Americans who are going to save our country --- and like all those wonderful people who surrounded us in Washington, D.C. on September 24, 2005, we give you a standing ovation.
Finally, please remember one thing: if you’re not willing to stand-up and shape the world around you the way YOU want it to be, then somebody else will shape it for you. The protesters in Washington, D.C. were mad as hell, and they’re not going to take it any more.
I don't even know if I can adequately describe the D.C. protest march/rally yesterday. We arrived there between 9 and 10 a.m. and walked straight to the White House, across the street from Lafayette Square. Multiple lines of barricades had been set up in the street blocking people from getting too close to the White House, and there were police standing there watching the gathering crowd. A number of protesters were already there, but the area was far from full. Nothing like what we saw an hour or so later.
We walked to the mall and saw a ton of other protesters present at the Ellipse - and this was still BEFORE the designated time. They had a big tower set up beside the stage, and a very powerful speaker system playing reggae music. People were milling about, talking and laughing with one another, or sitting clustered in small groups on the grass; and EVERWHERE we looked there were signs. Every kind of imaginable sign - big and small, really creative ones, and the more common "No War" and "Impeach Bush." One I thought was cool - "Bush: The Quagmire President". There were guys handing out signs to those who didn't have their own, along with the elderly, disabled, and even small children with signs. There were anarchists with bandannas over their faces. There were babies in strollers, and people who brought their dogs. People from everywhere.
Someone came on the PA system and informed the gathering crowd that the metro system had been suspended and that many others who were en route to the protest were stuck in stations at various points along the way. So, what these stranded travelers did was erupt into spontaneous protests and demonstrations in their particular stations. A great cheer went up from the crowd when that was announced.
As we watched and took photos, we saw the numbers in the park increase exponentially. The field we were in seemed suddenly filled with a wall of bodies and faces, signs and banners, people in costumes dressed up like Bush and Cheney or Bush and Laura, drawing laughter from onlookers as they mingled with other protesters, mocking the Bushes and Evil Dick. As the minutes ticked by, the area filled to capacity and soon we couldn't even see the ground. People were standing shoulder-to-shoulder and the overflow of human beings spilled out onto the street directly in front of the White House. This continuous sea of people extended well past this street onto other surrounding side streets. The people just kept coming. There was no way to walk through this park by the time they began letting the speakers up on stage. People were crunching together, and there was lots of media present.
Some of the speakers included Jesse Jackson, who used this event to exploit another situation for photo-ops, as Cindy Sheehan stayed pretty close to him. It was kind of sickening to see how Jackson did his usual grandstanding with Sheehan by his side, and how he later attempted (unsuccessfully) to get the police to let him and Sheehan through the barricade in front of the White House. I'll get to that later.
The Raging Grannies did a song, and Cynthia McKinney also spoke. She was the only speaker who even mentioned 9-11 in her remarks. It was the briefest of mentions, and there wasn't anything specific about 9-11; but at least she did that. It's a shame too, because if not for the lies of 9-11, we wouldn't even be in this bogus war right now.
Also represented were some Hurricane Katrina victims, and we heard alot of remarks from speakers about how the poor and uneducated black folks in New Orleans were being screwed over by the Feds. Everywhere I turned during the speeches, all I could see were other faces. People were standing so close to one another that we were touching. People were so close to me that when I left the park, I had dirt all over my jeans from the dirty shoes of those trying to squeeze through the throng to get up closer to the stage for a better look and take pictures. People were literally stepping on us to get the birds-eye view. We had a primo spot right next to the big tower ... only steps from the stage.
Eventually we moved outside the Ellipse and held up our 9-11 Controlled Demolition banner and I started talking to the people standing around us. Lots of people began to gather around this banner and quite a few asked us questions. We handed out fliers and spoke at length to anyone who wanted to know more. It was awesome. People were extremely receptive to what we had to say, and they listened carefully. People kept coming up to us from all directions and thanking us for being there with that banner.
As I looked around, I realized that if we waited until everyone began actually marching, we'd never be able to grab a good spot to stand with our banner at the White House, so we made our way through the massive crowd (not easy) and walked a few blocks ahead of the march. What we saw on that walk was the most amazing sight.
PEOPLE EVERYWHERE. I mean, EVERYWHERE as far as the eye could see in every direction. No vehicular traffic could travel along these side streets due to the overwhelming number of humans, so these streets were also closed, and this protester presence snaked along for an indeterminate number of blocks. The best perspective of the numbers would have to come from the helicopter pilots hovering above our heads, since they could get an aerial shot of the sheer numbers milling around. It was definitely more than "several thousand" as reported later on D.C. radio. And the people just kept coming. It was incredible and amazing that so many Americans of all walks of life, so many races and ethnicities - were turning out by the droves.
We were fortunate enough to grab a spot directly in front of the White House, so we stood there and soon enough, the rest of the throng began to arrive. Soon, this area completely filled-up with bodies and signs. It began to get really intense. People were yelling angrily at the cops and for Bush to come out and face the people. Bush, of course, wasn't even at the White House yesterday. He was in Colorado. That didn't deter the crowd, though. Everybody was chanting "Impeach Bush" and "This is what hypocrisy looks like" (pointing to the White House) and "How many kids have you killed today?" and screaming for Bush to get the hell out of the White House. They also yelled, "Worst President Ever!" and a ton of other stuff which was music to my ears. Meanwhile, more and more people kept trying to squeeze their way into the heart of this human congestion. There were so many already standing there that there was no way the area could hold them all, so the influx spilled out onto all the surrounding streets and Lafayette Square Park. Most of the protesters were still walking toward us.
Victor and I were pressed right up against the barricade and it started to get really loud with so many people yelling and chanting. At one point, it seemed like there might potentially be a stampede through the barricade for the White house. If the barricade I was smushed against would have fallen over, I would have fallen onto the street with it, along with all the other people who were leaning up against it. And then there would have been some major trouble and police response, because by this time there were literally hundreds of cops lining the entire area and they had their riot gear. One cop directly in front of us stood at the gates of the White House with a street sweeper. He was brandishing it even before the majority of peole had arrived at the site, and he looked like he was itching for an excuse to use it. People were screaming at him to turn his gun around the other way (toward the White House) instead of toward the crowd. The crowd mocked him, calling him Darth Vader, telling him to put down his big penis. People just kept yelling at the cops, telling them they were protecting the wrong people and standing on the wrong side of the fence. Someone threw a banana peel over the barricade and it landed at the feet of a cop. Everybody waited to see if anything would come of that, but nothing did.
The police just stood there on alert and watched. One cop had a tear gas cannister which didn't go unnoticed. I heard people to my right and left talking about rushing the barricades and the cops, some saying they would be willing to die so that others could get through and storm the gates. This would have led to certain death if it had happened because the cop with the street sweeper would have taken out the whole front line of us with one spray of bullets. The police began speaking into their radios, and that's when the sniper appeared on the roof of the White House with his binoculars and his big gun.
Nobody knocked over the barricade, of course, but people were discussing it all around me. One person asked if the cops' guns were loaded or not. Some of us just looked at her and said that the guns were definitely LOADED. The helicopters circled over our heads and I looked up at the White House and saw the sniper standing on the roof of the White House in riot gear watching the crowd, an ominous black-clad figure outlined against the overcast sky. I turned around to face the crowd and realized we couldn't leave at that point, even if we had wanted to. So many people were crunched like sardines where we were, containing us against the barricade that we couldn't even hold our banner up to face the crowd. So we held it over the other side of the barricade where it faced the cops and the White House.
Police lined the street and sidewalk for the entire block (and also surrounding blocks). This is one extremely protected president. Since he wasn't even in the state yesterday, basically the cops were protecting the White House itself. Secret Servicemen were standing on the White House lawn - there were several layers of armed guards alternating with barricades - layers of protection between US and THEM. Lots of guns and riot helmets; big guns. I didn't see anyone arrested, but I later heard that a few protesters had been detained for destruction of property.
The D.C. radio station we listened to on the drive home reported that several thousand showed up for this event, but we strongly refute that claim. The Penn State stadium can seat 109,000 people and the sheer numbers of people we saw stretched out for many blocks far exceeded this number. I have never seen so many human beings in one place in all my life.
Re: Jesse Jackson.
He did try like hell to get the cops to allow him and Cindy Sheehan to cross the barricades, but the cops told him if they opened it up to allow them to get through, the entire sea of people would rush the barricades and shit would hit the fan in a really big way. Jackson got angry at that. Thorn was standing just a few feet from Jackson, and people were snapping photos all around him and Sheehan. Victor held up one of our WING T-shirts and Jesse Jackson really got mad and told Thorn to put the shirt down. He didn't want the T-shirt to appear in any of the photos being snapped of him. Of course, Thorn didn't listen to him and kept holding it up until someone grabbed hold of the shirt and held it to the barricade. Jackson wanted to cross the barricades so that he and Cindy could be photographed standing alone with cops all around them, with the White House and the cop with the street sweeper as the backdrop. How Hollywood is that? When they didn't get to cross immediately, they tore out of there like a bat out of hell.
I'd say we stayed for about 6 hours or so. We drove round-trip for an even longer number of hours. It was a challenge just to get OUT of there because the throng was so densely packed. And as we walked away, block after block after block was filled with people still coming. It looked like the human protest chain was never-ending, and I say this without exaggeration.
If it accomplished nothing else, I have to say that yesterday's massive demonstration was a clear sign that Americans DO still give a damn. It was the most thrilling, heartening feeling to see such numbers all in one place. If you can get 10 or 50 or 100 people to all convene at one area for one event, it's akin to a miracle. People with varying messages, but all under the umbrella of the overriding message: No More War, No More Bush, and No More Neocons. Yet here we witnessed over 250,000 people, and God-knows-how many more we didn't see - all converged for the same purpose. It was the most incredible thing I have ever seen.
It was the Vietnam protest of the 21st century, hands down. One thing is very clear: this president and his neo-con administration is absolutely DETESTED by a significant number of Americans. Not only does he refuse to tell Cindy Sheehan just what his noble cause is, but he damn well wasn't about to tell 250,000+ angrily storming Americans who traveled from all points north, south, east and west, either. The fury and determination on people's faces spoke volumes to me. It said that the spirit of America is NOT dead. In fact, the portion of America that stood with us yesterday would love to kick some serious neocon ass.
Being there really renewed our hope in the American people and in the future of this country. People do still give a damn about what's going on, and what surpised me was hearing these strangers discussing weather modification and so many other issues we see commonly addressed on the WING TV. Only these discussions were taking place out in the street!
An amazing day - a truly remarkable and unforgettable experience and one I will never ever forget. I'm so happy we got to be a part of that historical day. Perhaps it will lead to more and more direct, decisive action on the part of the American people. I'm just sorry we couldn't stay long enough for the day of planned cvil disobedience, scheduled for Monday, September 26th.
If you weren't there yesterday, you missed something totally historic, electric and tremendous. CNN reported that 250,000-300,000 were in attendance at this public demonstration.
Oh, and by the way, there was NO POLICE STATE. I just had to throw that in because I know how much it pisses some people off ... y'know, the people who are never there.