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News ::
23 Jan 2001
The entire block around the Supreme Court was surrounded by protesters on Inauguration Day. A human chain formed and chanted "This is what democracy looks like! " (This piece covers my experience of an event, yet it also includes much of my opinion, especially at the end, so if you think it is not appropriate, please delete what strays beyond reporting.
Letters from the front:
Washington, D.C. January 20, 2000

THE SUPREME COURT IS SURROUNDED!!!! That was the cry we heard as we demonstrated in front of the Supreme Court, around 1:00 pm on Inauguration Day. We looked around for police. All we could see were 20 or so, holding batons on the first landing, blocking access to the stairs. "Agents trying to break up the protest...", I thought, and so we stayed put, standing next to a wonderful puppet of the Five Injustices holding a sign that said: "Our votes counted. Who needs yours?"The puppet's hand was in a familiar gesture. A few minutes later, with still no sign of additional police, we heard the call again: "THE SUPREME COURT IS SURROUNDED!!!!"

Then we realized what was happening! There were so many of us that march organizers were directing around the entire block upon which rests the Supreme Court. It is a huge block, and yet, five and more abreast, there were enough marchers to entirely surround the building, and join hands in a unbroken human chain!

"THIS IS WHAT DEMOCRACY LOOKS LIKE!!!!" , we chanted as we marched, black and white, young and old, from Texas, from New York, from all states. It was a happy day, because in spite of the coup d'etat that had just taken place, we all felt the struggle was rekindled. I was not at Stanton Park where Al Sharpton delivered a rousing speech, reminding us not to be depressed, that united we stand. C-span covered all the speeches there, as well as those in Tallahassee, and they were inspiring and deeply spiritual. For those on the right who want to claim God as their own, I respectfully submit that we are all marching toward the light. As the Rev. Joseph Lowery of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference said in Tallahassee: "TURN ON THE LIGHT!!!"

In the morning, there was a large rally at Dupont Circle, where Granny D and Patricia Ireland spoke, amongst others. I estimate our numbers at close to 3,000 people. I know a large crowd when I see one. I used to work in arenas. The total in DC is estimated at 60,000 by reliable sources (not TV). We were everywhere, on the subways, on the streets, stopping well-armed parades for gentlemen from Texas. We were, of course, outnumbered by well-heeled crowds of Bush supporters going the other way. Our permits and activities were regulated by the powers-that-be so as to prevent our occupation of the same spaces.Yet we were everywhere. The Bush camp arranged a system of tickets that segregated "real" Americans from the rest of us "unreal" Americans. The "real" Americans" had a lot of fur and cashmere coats and white faces, but they didn't look too happy. Some were confident, some looked dismayed, and some looked fearful. This struck me deeply. What feeds this fear? Hate radio? Biased news? What a terrible and sad hatred is stirred by propaganda.

If any such folk are listening, please know you have nothing to fear from ‘unreal" Americans. The vote we seek to protect is yours. The land we seek to shield from climate change is your heartland. The civil rights we seek to secure could one day be yours. We are not the enemy. Ignorance and disinformation is the enemy.

Let us fight for the Voter's Bill of Rights and campaign finance reform. Liberty is fragile. Let us defend her.
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