Monday, April 10, 2006


As we entered the monument area, I was struck by the enormity of the crowd. There were people as far as the eye could see, literally tens, perhaps hundreds of thousands. Not all freaks, there were people of all ages; children, senior citizens, all ages in between. Some were facing a stage where various speakers were condemning the war, urging the protestors.

We walked over and listened awhile. The longer we listened, closely crowded, I began to feel a vibration, something emanating from the listeners. It was an undercurrent of potential violence. In contrast to the many people strolling the area, these listeners were deeply committed. One of the speakers, I think from the Chicago Seven, not Kunstler, maybe Jerry Rubin, was driving the crowd. There was little humor here, more a call for revolution, whatever it takes. Lots of grass, not many smiles.

I looked past the stage, to the White House, wondering if Nixon himself may have seen the horde of humans on the monument lawn, what he must be feeling. In front of the White House, encircling it, were hundreds of mounted police officers, no more then five feet apart. I could only hope that there were cooler heads on the podium and that the mounted police could withstand jeers and taunts without breaking ranks.

It may be that the leaders on the podium had a good handle on what was going in the crowd; Rubin finished and a distinguished looking black man, Rep. Dellums from California, addressed the crowd in a more deliberate understated fashion. It was interesting to see the power that the crowd had invested in the speakers. Dellums was able to mellow the crowd somewhat, but I truly felt that a confrontation with the police would occur if the speakers demanded it. And I wondered if I would join them.

Just about this time, Mike said he had to urinate and it seemed a good time to leave the speakers. The three of us walked to a small building housing some statuary. Men`s room to the left, women to the right. As we joined the men`s line I was astonished to see that nearly half of the people in line were women! This was something new, something I had never seen before and I smiled at two young women in the line directly in frint of us. When I asked them if they knew this was the men`s line, they laughed and said if I had seen the size of the women`s line, I`d know why they were here. And you guys are in and out so fast with the urinals; it only seems fair that we use the stalls. I agreed and offered them a beer, gladly accepted.