Sunday, March 19, 2006

America, yours and mine

Tonight, I joined thousands of people across the globe to protest the Iraq war on its third anniversary. Here in Chicago, we marched down Michigan Ave's Magnificent Mile, next to the river, and down to the Daley Center. It was an odd feeling to have such an event framed by one of the most emblematic centers of consumerism in the city, and possibly the country.


On the whole, the event went off very well, with lots of chanting and peaceful vibes. I have no idea what the numbers were like, but there were people as far as the eye could see in both directions. The news reported 7,000, though those are always significantly lowballed. For instance, a couple weeks ago police estimated over 300,000 people downtown gathering for immigrants rights. Police estimates are always lowballed on their own, but the news (when it actually covered it) said it was only around 50,000. Huh, dissent in America? Can't show that on corporate run TV!

It was a great experience though, and especially fun to see the people in store windows flashing peace signs to us. One window had posted a sign reading "Someone else for President." There was also a fairly precocious kid – not older than 10 – yelling that Bush should be brought to The Hague and put on trial. Before long, that kid'll be organizing these things I'm sure.

After the march, my friends and I ended up in Logan Square at a fabulous Mexican restaurant that was hosting a 70th birthday for an latino man, meaning there was quite loud music with a band, Mexicans dancing, and lots more good vibes. It’s a wonderful thing that a half-Jewish white Californian wearing Buddhist prayer beads can hang out with a liberal Texan and dance salsa with a Finnish anthropologist to a Tejano band in a Mexican restaurant on the West-side of Chicago.

This is what makes America great.

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