Sunday, March 19, 2006

One Pitiful March

I've Seen Better Parades
c Flying Debris

The Chicago Tribune is estimating that “as many as 7,000” people marched in last night’s anti-war march on Michigan Ave. I have no experience at estimating crowds but I would’ve put the number at around 5,000, tops. It took the people less than 20 minutes to march by Michigan and Chicago avenues, they only used 1 side of the street, they had floats that were sparsely populated, they marched slowly and there were some gaps, one of which was substantial. The march had the usual participants that all of these marches have; a few strategically placed parent’s of soldiers (2 or 3, 1 had died), a lot of normal looking, well groomed boomers, a lot of normal looking younger people, some of whom had brought their children, some people with their dogs (try walking a few miles down city streets with your poodle and see how he feels about this peace thing!) and then there are the rest of them.

Now let me clear, I’ve been to my fair share of Grateful Dead concerts, so I am on very familiar turf here; some of the very worst aspects of “hippie culture” were on display last night. I suspect that the majority of people who could be described as “hippies” were simply not motivated to go all the way downtown to march around. There is a minority in that group who spend parts of their lives preying off of others, through “sharing”, outright scams or even cult-like activities. They assume that most of us approach others in “our” group as we would approach our friends and they take advantage of that. I always thought that the Dead was speaking to that issue in the Robert Hunter - Bob Weir song Jack Straw, with this line, “We can share what we got of yours 'cause we done shared all of mine”. A march like this is fertile ground for these folks; they are drawn to these events like moths to light. Here was a concentration of people who are more receptive to their “ideas” than the normal population. Those people worked the fringes of the march.

There was also the tiresome contingent of college racists, the anti-Israel groups that are part of so many Universities these days. There was a very well dressed Jewish woman standing near me who was very agitated by their signs and their pleas to “join us”; her reply was “not until you put down those signs!” She doesn’t get it, nobody in that protest supported Israel, except possibly, in the most superficial ways. Code Pink, or some sort of pink women’s group was there with a 4 foot tall pink peace sign on a shopping cart. No anti-war march is complete without the usual phalanx of communist front groups. There was 1 guy with a poorly written Russ Feingold sign, a few anti-Fox News signs and a lot of anti-Bush signs. There were people passing out literature giving driving instructions to the march that we were at. Please read the last sentence again.


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