11:48 PM, Monday, September 26th, 2005:
So this is civil disobedience? Have I been naive all this time? Did they plan the Rosa Parks "sit-down"? Was she smiling as they arrested her? Either today's demonstration was an anomally or my faith in all acts of civil disobedience have been completely destroyed. Because what happened today was a complete joke. I was actually prepared to take part in this. It was only $50, but once it came down - it was nothing but a staged photo-op that the organizers literally got a permit to pull off. Let me start from the beginning.
I jumped on the metro and picked up a paper someone had left behind. Interesting to see the numbers being thrown around. Even though it seems the agreed upon number was 150,000 all headlines said "thousands" or "tens of thousands". My best guess was "a fuckload", but apparently they decided against printing my estimate.

As well there was a story on the protest supporting the war on Sunday, which I honestly had no idea about until yesterday. This headline really pissed me off:
(sigh). To Ms. Elisabeth Goodridge of the AP - 150,000 rallied on Saturday to support the troops as well. I absolutely hate this type of "hidden" bias. To the skimmers of the world, it plants an amazing seed. That and the fact that 400 people get the same press as 150,000. (sigh). Long way to go. Here's the article on the Saturday March if you'd like to read it.
So the agenda for today was civil disobedience. Slightly undefined, but a group of activists were going to do something they knew would get them arrested. Apparently five of them would ask to speak to someone at the White House and then proceed to block something which would lead to their arrest. It would continue in groups for as long as they had people. For newbies to civil disobedience it has its roots with Ghandi and Martin Luther King Jr. as a way to protest unjust laws. You're basically arrested for something that shouldn't be illegal, therefore bringing attention to the insanity of the law or a bigger cause. I wasn't against getting arrested, but really didn't understand what they were doing. So I just followed along with my camera.
To my surprise, it unfolded rather organized...by the police. It was obvious that this was as planned as the rest of the weekend. They got a police escort from the Elipse to the White House and there I overheard a policeman telling someone they had a permit for this. ?!?! I knew it was no secret they planned on getting arrested, but it all just struck me as odd that it would be sooooo orchestrated. But honestly, it's that planning that made Saturday so peaceful and it's nice seeing the police taking this much care.
Once at the North Lawn of the White House the crowd was rather big. Easily close to 1000. The media were EVERYWHERE...all waiting for the big moment.
At first it seemed like this guy was the start of it all. He walked to the White House gate pleading with the guys guarding the White House to put their batons down. ? I know we're on the same side dude, but you're a moron. You're exactly the reason they have batons. You're screaming at them from behind an iron gate.
Yeah he held on to his baton. LOL. The media surrounding the angry young man soon realized how goofy he was. One media lady actually said to me:  "He ain't hoppin' that, no guts no glory". Reporters were actualy egging him on. Heh. He did nothing and retreated. I had to shake my head. See, this is what literally gives anti-war movements a bad name. In the same way the zealots on the other side cloud the real message. Cop guy? Hold onto that baton. If this guy jumps the fence, whap him a couple times and handcuff him. LOL. Anyway, not long after that, Ms. Sheehan made her way to the front gate.
I must pat myself on my back because I literally destroyed the pros at their own game. I actually had a network guy say to me "Hey we're broadcasting here..." because I was in front of him with my tiny-ass camcorder. That's TOUGH shit buddy, you're a pro and you got beat by a guy with a BLOG. I've got the shot, tell that to your boss. LOL. Anyway I had the shot for her walk to the gate and going up to the White House asking for entrance for her and others who had family die in the war.
"Bitch you must be craaaaaaazy."
Heh, that's not what he said, but from that shot it sure looks like it. LOL. He was very gracious and softspoken and said he'd talk to someone to see what he could do. She announced this to the crowd, and then...turned and walked to the front sidewalk before he got back. Huh? I was surprised, but I was too busy being literally THROWN back by the police as the media just kept pushing and pushing and pushing. Like a mosh-pit but with heavy cameras hitting you.

So she goes to the sidewalk in front of the White House and sits down with everyone. Which is actually perfectly legal. We had all been chillin' there waiting for them to do something for an hour. So what were they gonna get arrested for? How is this civil disobedience? This really irked me. I had been considering joining all of this. The fine was only $50, and the historic lineage of this type of demonstration was something to be proud of. But when you're not doing anything... what's the point? Black guys sitting at the lunch counter - that's "Civil Disobedience"...

...giggling and asking the smiling cop if you can be carried for the cameras is "Civil Staged Obedience". They sang "We Shall Overcome" (which was absolutely disgraceful to me) and were quieted so the media could hear the cop give the "three warnings" and cheered after each one. Again, they weren't really doing anything. They weren't really blocking anyting that wasn't public - it was all staged.
They cheered and clapped as the cops helped her from the crowd. Now, I get it for Sheehan. She will (and did) garner publicity. This $50 fine will literally buy millions in advertising for the cause. Playing the media to a T. These images will do more for the movement than all 150,000 people could muster on Saturday.
Why? 'Cause people will see 30 seconds and a headline "Sheehan arrested". It'll fire up the pro-Bushies, and make people not paying attention say: "Someone was willing to get arrested to protest the war?" For everyone else however? Uhm, what the hell? Just to say you did it? What will you say you did? I literally projected 20 years in the future telling my kids that I was arrested protesting in front of the White House. It sounds so noble and courageous, when in fact this is a a publicity stunt that everyone other than Sheehan should be embarrassed to be a part of. Now I heard about some people in New York pouring human blood on the American Flag and getting arrested for destroying public property. Although I would never do that, that is doing something. "Son, I got arrested for a demonstration I believed in." What will these people tell their kids? You know they're going to tell 'em they were dragged away when all they were doing was protesting the unjust war. The kid will imagine this tragic image...
You'd think the cop was fingering her. Wow, did I just write that? Man, I don't want to erase that. I know it's completely tasteless, but it will make so many people laugh when they look at her face that I have to keep it in. Sorry to all younger (and older) family members. Heh. Well, while I'm offending...
No more boobs for bombs please. Seriously. Bomb me before I ever have to view this picture again.
So the D.C. trip ends on a bit of an off note. I'm in no way disenfranchised with the movement. In fact, I bet if you were to look at the majority of the 20th and 21st Century acts of civil disobedience, they were probably much like this. I'm obviously a moderate who just happens to agree with the radical left on one issue so it would stand to reason that some of the movement strikes an off-chord. For example one lady behind me was cursing the police: "Fuckin' Fascists with their handcuffs". ?!?! YOU ARRANGED THIS! SHUT UP ALREADY.
But again, this was an amazing trip. I'm glad I got to post what really happened today because everything I've seen paints a completely different picture. On the drudge report they actually said that people were chanting "The World is Watching" as they dragged her away. Yeah, maybe after they stopped cheering 3 minutes later they said that. Why is bias EVERYWHERE? Seriously? The war is wrong. How we got there is absolutely an impeachable offense. THE TRUTH IS BAD ENOUGH. Stop continuially twisting shit! GRRRRRRR.
Hope you enjoyed these past 5 entries. I worked my ass off on them and did everything I could to show you exactly what happened. It was an important weekend, and I pray that we get a Congress in '06 that will demand Bush be held accountable for what lead us into this absolute disaster. I'll probably do one final entry when I'm back in LA to tie up the series.
So, friggin', tired...