Fata Morgana (chimerically) wrote,
Fata Morgana

Last Monday I heeded the Mayor's call to action and attended the protest against Bush during his visit in Salt Lake City. The experience pales in comparison to the massive anti-war demonstrations in the winter and spring of 2003 in San Francisco, but I was still impressed that 2,000 people made it out during their lunch breaks to wave signs, chant, and listen to speakers in Pioneer Park, four blocks from the Salt Palace where Bush spoke at a veteran's convention.

I even made a sign:

(It turns out that Karl Rove attended the same high school my dad and I both attended, and was a sophomore when my dad was a senior. Mr. Tolman taught government and Model UN, and my dad remembers him fondly as a good teacher and a "democratically-minded individual." A dozen or so of my dad's ex-classmates who were at the protest corroborated his opinion of both Mr. Tolman and Mr. Rove.)

Shortly after I arrived and found gooeyduck, police closed off the southbound lanes of third west in front of Pioneer Park, for no apparent reason. (If protesters had been going into the street I would have understood, but they seemed to be staying within the park boundaries or crossing intersections on green lights.) Some protesters hurled challenges to them to open it up again. One police officer, scowling fiercely, stalked up and down the street aiming a small video camera on a tripod at the crowd. An intimidation tactic? I sure wasn't ashamed to be there.

After some time, they opened up traffic again, and I briefly joined the crowd that circled the intersection of third west and fourth south with their signs. Some drivers honked and cheered, some scowled and gave us the thumbs-down, some hollered praise or hurled insults from their open windows.

At 1:30 or so, the mayor himself arrived and talked about some of the bad decisions of the Bush administration and the bravery and sacrifices of the troops. When he finished, many protesters left, but a couple hundred marched down to the Salt Palace.

There, we chanted "this is what democracy looks like" and "for the troops, against the war," to the beat of a couple of drums some hippie kids brought. We were heckled by veterans going from the Marriott across the street to the convention: many glared and pursed their lips, some muttered insults, a couple of groups defiantly sung "God Bless America" (but their singing petered out in confusion after I joined in :~)). One woman body-slammed me, but I stood my ground and let my elbow drop hard on her flabby shoulder, and she passed. You would think that with all of the recent cuts to veterans' benefits, we would have gotten more sympathy, but protests like this sadly tend to make people see in black and white.

After a while, I wanted a new sign:

I don't smoke pot.
I have a job.
I'm educated.
I'm a responsible, informed citizen.
And I vote.


(And my dad's proud that I'm here!)

I ran into my aunt and cousin, who I was surprised and pleased to see. Finally, at 3:30 or so the demonstration petered out and Dad picked me up. My upper arms were sunburnt and I felt physically and emotionally exhausted, but I'm still glad that I went.
Tags: family, highschool, protest, utah

  • Global Shadows: complicating Africa, development, modernity, and globalization

    With quals just behind me and research ramping up, I've been struggling to come to terms with my academic identity and to rekindle a passion for my…

  • how does your garden grow?

    My garden burst into life over the weekend. What were tiny sprouts on May 2, at the largest, are now vigorous plants four inches high or more. The…

  • Garden

    I grew up helping my parents grow a half-acre garden, and have missed gardening ever since. For the first time in a long time, I actually have space…

  • Post a new comment


    Anonymous comments are disabled in this journal

    default userpic

    Your IP address will be recorded