DC Diary: Prowling with Protesters

The National Mall
Saturday, April 20
11:30 a.m.

I decided I would check out the protests, after returning from a concert the night before. At the World Bank, I saw a quixotic crowd. While the majority of protestors aimed their angst at the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, some folks shouted anti-war slogans.

I chatted with a few of D.C.’s finest, noting the irony of my presence: I enlisted in the Army Reserves in March and will train to be a military policeman in August. I got the sense from the crowd that they didn’t like the military, or cops for that matter. Feeling out of place, I headed over to the Ellipse.

Disinterested and about to head home, I saw a sight for sore eyes, an oasis of sorts. It was “The Patriots Rally for America.” At last, I thought, I felt I had found a cause I believe in.

I purchased a button, but soon I noticed that I was not welcome here. I saw a man in a “Sore Loserman” T-shirt, was handed a “Sisters for the Second Amendment” pamphlet and saw signs telling “cowards” to go across the street to the other demonstrations.

The absolute low-light of the rally was “Battling” Bob Dornan, former California congressman and all-around fascist, who blamed liberals and Democrats in general for all the world’s ills. He covered about 72 issues and lobbied numerous outrageous criticisms at “that pervert who spent eight years in the White House.” He even attacked protesters in the crowd, branding them as “hippies” and “parasites.”

I tracked him down and asked him, “Can someone be a liberal AND a patriot?” He gave me a look and spouted some stuff about how he marched with Martin Luther King in the ’60s but that he wasn’t sure that liberals could be patriots. Respecting his honesty, I shook his hand and headed home with sick feeling in my stomach.

I reflected on what confusing times we live in. On this day I wandered through the streets of D.C. and witnessed people rallying for dozens of causes, none of which I felt much of a connection with. Unable to make sense of it all, I concluded that I had simply witnessed a microcosm of the crazy world we live in.

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