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Commentary :: Organizing : Politics : Race
Us & Them: The October 11 Rally and March in Perspective
26 Oct 2008
Modified: 02:43:36 AM
An excerpt from a much longer piece replete with video and additional photos that apperas on
<i>This just an except from an article I finally got round to posting on my site On which there are more pics and a few videos of the event and lotsa linksand probably a lot more words than there need to be.
It's belated, I know.
By the way, I really hope you all vote. If you can't bring yourself to vote for Obama, show up--show support for Nader or McKinney. And even if you are an Obama type, knowing he's a landslide winner in MA , consider using your vote to "advise him" and vote a progressive ticket instead. These are real lean times for third parties.
I'd understand if you don't. I want the far right humilated too,
Sorry to speechify. Just that I went to Concord today to see Ralph. No mas--to the excerpt<i>:

2 tie dye peace flag boston antiwar march oct 2008.jpg


“This is not a man who sees America like you and I see America.”–Sarah Palin, Denver, October 4 2008

“Whoo! I am on a high to see so many people of so many colors.”–Nicole Brown, St Louis, Missouri, October 16 2008.

When Sarah Palin says “you and I,” she doesn’t mean she-and-me. Uh-uh. And I’m pretty sure she doesn’t mean she-and-you, either, unless you’re one of the folks who arrived here inadvertently after googling “robespierre + angry jesus” (yes, it happens).

As for the folks in this picture…

2people you will not see at a Palin rallyboston antiwar oct 11 2008.jpg

which of them is likely see America, or much else, for that matter, the way Sarah Palin does? “None of the above” sound about right? Who among them would be likely to be spotted at Palinpaloooza Rally?

None, you say. And that without knowing anything more about them. Because, not to put too fine a point on it, some aren’t white. Some aren’t Christian. And the dude with the hair–well, draw your own conclusions. The fact is they are not like us–-unless, of course, you’re black or latino or buddhist or jewish or gay something. Which you quite probably are if you live in Boston–or Philly, or Chicago, or Houston, or LA, or any of those other places chock full of people who “do not see America like you and I see America,” because, you see urban America isn’t the real America, as Palin explains:

"We believe that the best of America is in these small towns that we get to visit, and in these wonderful little pockets of what I call the real America, being here with all of you hard working very patriotic, um, very, um, pro-America areas of this great nation. This is where we find the kindness and the goodness and the courage of everyday Americans. Those who are running our factories and teaching our kids and growing our food and are fighting our wars for us. Those who are protecting us in uniform. Those who are protecting the virtues of freedom."

Yeah. All the kinds of things we don’t know anything about here in Gotham, lacking as we are in kindness and goodness and courage.

2 older demonstrators2.jpg

And factories. Which will come as a real surprise to my co-workers. And lacking too apparently an uncritical acceptance of nonsensical pablum, or else what do you make of “defending the virtues of freedom?” And where we are insufficiently, umm, very, umm pro-America. Doubtless insufficiently keen on the Lord too boot. Or the right Lord. Of course, the Governor is speaking to the very same tribe of bigoted, xenophobic, homophobic, immigrant obsessed trogs that John Rocker–remember John Rocker?–spoke for back in 2000:

“I would retire first [rather than pitch for New York]. It’s the most hectic, nerve-racking city. Imagine having to take the [Number] 7 train to the ballpark, looking like you’re [riding through] Beirut next to some kid with purple hair next to some queer with AIDS right next to some dude who just got out of jail for the fourth time right next to some 20-year-old mom with four kids. It’s depressing.”
“…The biggest thing I don’t like about New York are the foreigners. I’m not a very big fan of foreigners. You can walk an entire block in Times Square and not hear anybody speaking English. Asians and Koreans and Vietnamese and Indians and Russians and Spanish people and everything up there. How the hell did they get in this country?”

Now, Palin herself can’t say that. But most of America, left and right, seem to have drawn their own conclusions from Palin’s lines, and how they fall out depends a lot about how they felt in their heart of hearts about Rocker. Thank god, one of the small joys of living in Boston is knowing that America’s Sweetheart won’t be found braying at us from the bandstand on the Common. Conversely, one of the great joys is knowing who will: the decidedly unpalinated, those with a lifelong innoculation against the kind of diseased thinking, as well as presentation, that she and her ilk deliver.

<b>Carmagnole On Clarendon Street</b?

That tribe would comprise those folks in that photo along with the thousands of others who were to be found last Saturday, October 11, rallying on the Common and marching in the streets. Rallying and marching against the war, to be sure, but this weekend their visibility—with sincere humility, our visibility—seemed more significant than usual. As always, it was symbolic, but it was a good thing, this throwing up a counter symbol to what the Palin rallies were trumpeting. Because what I witnessed, what Ann and I joined, was a legion that represented the polar antithesis of the herds that gather to hear Sexy Sadie rant against what she rather cavalierly calls “leftists.” Because we were also marching <i>for</i? something: for Rocker and Palin’s excluded queers and the freaks and the single moms with four kids and the ex-cons and the AIDS-afflicted and the Asians and Russians and Indians and Koreans–-in short, for our own urban selves, because we remember Pastor Martin Neimoller’s words:

In Germany they first came for the Communists,
and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist.

Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Catholics,
and I didn’t speak up because I was a Protestant.

Then they came for me —
and by that time no one was left to speak up.

And because I’m proud to be from New York and Philly and Newark and Boston.

So we danced the carmagnole and we talked about Chomsky and we ranted about high crimes and misdemeanors gone unpunished, and we marched with our heads and fists up and we did the anarchist strut; and we even grew somber, because not a few among us had known terrible things; and we raged wild and wantonly and we cheered loud for the loudest among us and we laughed, sometimes, but mostly we smiled at each other.

And it looked and sounded like this

(Two- part video–and it’s not that sharp on YouTube. If you’d like a cleaner copy, drop me a line.):
See also:

This work is in the public domain
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