Saturday, September 04, 2004

New York, New York

This holiday weekend I'm in New York to do some work and to see a friend who is very ill with cancer. It has been a few days of wide-ranging experiences and emotions.

Thursday night when I came to town, my friend N (who is really sweet to let me stay in her apartment) and participated in some of the protests going on during the end of the Republican National Convention. The streets were filled with people of all different ages, colors, sizes, walks of life and opinions. There were many funny and spot-on protest signs - some of our favorites were (warning - one is has PG13 language) - A village in Texas is missing its idiot - Clinton got blowjobs, Bush gives us no jobs (and the variation "Better blowjobs than no jobs.") - a series of signs in the shape/size of the state signs for the convention reading "State of Lies" "State of Unemployment" "State of Deception" and the like - along with signs from United for Peace and Justice,, and many many more. At one point in the evening, we headed a few blocks downtown from the protests for some dinner (a yummy Indian place in Chelsea) and as we were finishing a new stream of hundreds of protestors passed by. We joined in the sea of protestors which was about 5 or 6 blocks long, marching, chanting, dancing to steal drums played by some participants, hollering and enjoying our American freedom to assemble, speak freely and peacefully protest. Yes, I said peacefully. Most of the coverage of protestors has been of people arrested (of which there were about 1,800 many of whom were detained far beyond the legal limit for New York) and even many of them were peaceful. It was clear to anyone within blocks of Madison Square Garden that the police were present. There were hundreds of them blocking off and lining the streets, clothed in uniforms with riot helmets, watching and video-taping the protests. Although the heavy police presence was disquieting, they did let us be for the most part. (Thank G-d, because I REALLY didn't want to get arrested just for speaking out against the government. At home in Midwesternville, liberal protestors are freqeuntly arrested just for speaking out. Some have even been shot by the police.) You can read about the protest (I was one of the 10,000 described) at this Reuter's article "Anti-War Activists Protest Bush Convention Speech". I'm pleased that I had a chance to be a part of the peaceful protest. The engergy devoted by the diverse and exuberant crowd toward making change gives me hope.

More on my trip later.
Your sister suvrivor/thriver,

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