To Tom and Mike’s for Wednesday night dinner where the conversation turned to Stephen Colbert’s and Jon Stewart’s plan to hold rallies on Capitol Hill just before the mid-term elections. We all plan to go.
The conversation turned to our own histories of protest: when was the last time we had marched? Kate had taken to the streets on August 28, 2010, not in support of Glenn Beck, but in response to a plea on the radio “Why are there no white people at the Reclaim the Dream Rally?” Kate and her husband John decided to show up and rode the tube to the National Mall in the company of white people dressed in red, white and blue going to support the Tea Party, and black people on their way to the counter rally. Kate was anxious not to be mislabeled as a member of group number one, so she opened her mouth and began to sing. Her song choice? “We shall Overcome”. She is the first to admit that she is not much of a singer. No-one joined in, the whole carriage presumably a litte confused about what was going on. Her husband nearly died of embarrassment. As she finished, the black people began to clap and, alliegance firmly established, Kate and her homies set off to the Tidal Basin while the Tea Partiers continued to the Lincoln Memorial.
Steve had last protested outside the Corcoran art gallery when they canceled plans for a Robert Mapplethorpe exhibition.
“What do we want?”
“When do we want them?”
I had last marched a full 10 years ago, taking part in the Million Mom March to protest against the number of guns stockpiled in American homes and regularly used to claim the lives of teenagers on the streets. 2nd Amendment rights be damned–this seems like a no-brainer to someone raised in Northern Ireland. New to America, I knew no-one to march with so I attached myself to the Presbyterian Mothers of Chicago who were glad to welcome me to their number.
John had joined a rally for Abortion rights on the Mall two or three years ago and wondered why I’d missed it. “Harrumph” I said “I was marching for abortion rights before you were born”