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It Ain't Me, It Ain't Me, I Ain't No Fortunate Son
by anna at 07:46 AM on January 22, 2003
As a lifelong resident of the Washington DC suburbs, I hope I can provide some unique perspective on the protests. When I first caught wind of it, I breathed a sigh of relief. The rally would be staged over a weekend, which meant its impact on my commute would amount to nothing. See, though it's just 14 miles long, it can take up to 45 minutes. On Friday afternoons, it can stretch into torturous eons. We locals attribute this to the fact that lawmakers hole up in their downtown hotels all week the better to churn out more inscrutable rules for y'all to flout. Come Friday, they bust out en masse.
Here the natives have forged an uneasy love/hate relationship with our Federal occupying army. On the upside, they're constantly moving in and out which serves to inflate real estate values. On the downside, they clog up our roadways something awful. Thus, when the government shut down several years back, we all rejoiced. We wished the damn nuisance had stayed shuttered for good.
Sensing this, local media tends to give short shrift to both Federal goings-on and the constant stream of protesters it attracts. Whenever Ruckus Society and Mobilization for Global Justice have the audacity to stage rallies during the week, reports focus on their impact on traffic. To avoid any contact with the unwanted visitors, alternate routes are suggested. If reporters ever mention these kooks' agenda, it's in a lighthearted, dismissive vein. They mention the "Drop Panties, Not Bombs" banners or scoff at marchers' demand that they be allowed to ransack the Washington Navy Yard in search of weapons of mass destruction. And most of us agree---when Ruckus staged a "die-in" on the 14th Street Bridge, we only hoped police would hurl their asses into the Potomac.
How dare they delay our arrival at work?
Sometimes the protests take an ugly turn. That's when police have to break out their tear gas, bean bag guns and plastic handcuffs. (Note the Simpsons reference on link.)
I have never toured the White House, Washington Monument or Capitol Hill. Indeed, no local visits the monuments unless out-of-town guests insist on it. It's like when I was in Queens, NY 3 months after Sept 11. I wanted to pay my respects at Ground Zero, but my brother-in-law tried to dissuade me, saying it had turned into a tourist trap rife with gawking out-of-towners.
We know it will prove to be a monumental hassle, what with busloads of yahoo tourists all gaga over their national heritage or whatever it is that draws them here in droves. My family does frequent the District's plethora of museums, however. (BTW, that's what it's called, much like New Yorkers refer to Manhattan as the City.) Last weekend, in fact, we'd planned to drag my son a-kicking and a-screaming from his X-Box lair to check out the Holocaust Museum. Plans nixed when I learned of the antiwar nightmare downtown. Damned Metro would have been so crowded we'd have had to stand up for the entire ride downtown. Maybe we'll shoot for next weekend, unless another contingent of disgruntled freaks descend on this peaceful hamlet again.
Author's Note: I had wanted to make a few changes here after initially posting it last night. But a mini-emergency arose at my house, so I didn't. Here's the eerie part: MG did a little editing, changing precisely what I had intended to. Thus thanks go out to MG.
by Anna at January 22, 2003 9:23 AM
Good post Anna. Living in the D.C. area myself, I know exactly what you mean. Luckily I don't have to brave the traffic in to the District to work anymore.
I do think that every freak and legitimate protestor has the right to clog our streets and chant until they're blue in the face. Having served in the military I don't always agree with their rhetoric but to insure they have a voice is one of the reasons I joined the ARMY in the first place. I do believe that many of them would protest twinkies snack cakes if they ran out of other things though. It seems to me that many are out there for the protest and not the cause. Those are the ones that piss me off. Maybe they should make it mandatory to pass a "cause quiz" or run through a line of police dogs with filet mignons stapled to them to check dedication? I bet that would thin their ranks thus alleviating the extra influx in to our already woeful traffic situation. Just a thought.
by EZY at January 22, 2003 10:04 AM
There aren't a whole lot of protests here in NYC. There are, however, tons of parades, usually down 5th Ave. That means the island of Manhattan is split in half and there is a mile or two stretch where you can't get across town. That sucks. *Cough*
Anyway. I'm going to take a little more active hand as editor around here. Hope no one thinks I'm overstepping any bounds, or fucking with the authors original intentions or blah blah blah. Just trying to make things better for ya'll.
PS: For some reason, even though I know the title comes from CCR not Dylan, the song I've got in my head now is "It Ain't Me, Babe."
by mg at January 22, 2003 12:50 PM
Ezy, I concur. Our right to free speech should never be tampered with. It's just that so much free speech is vile free speech. Like when the ACLU found itself bedfellows w/ NAMBLA. And as G. Gordon Liddy would say, thanks for your service to our country. MG, you know I can use all the help I get, blog-novice that I am.
by Anna at January 22, 2003 1:48 PM
I think someone's mentioned it before, but isn't it sad that that CCR song became like a sound bite for some like car commercial looking all patriotic? Made me want to go protest... yeah! That's what I'll do!
by Linz at January 22, 2003 3:55 PM
The part of John Fogerty's verse Wrangler Jeans chose to omit goes something like this: "Some folks inherit star-spangled eyes, ooh that red white and blue. And when the band plays Hail to the Chief, they point the cannon at you." Hmmm.
by Anna at January 23, 2003 7:44 AM
I guess they don't want anyone to think that wearing Wrangler would get you blown up.
by Linz at January 23, 2003 11:23 AM
You know, I always thought that line was "camera," not "cannon." Cannon doesn't really seem to make any sense. I don't really know many famous politicians who've had cannons pointed at them. You know, since the Civil War, that is.
by mg at January 23, 2003 11:43 AM
I looked it up, it is indeed "cannon." Which makes little sense, but maybe Fogerty was high.
by Anna at January 23, 2003 6:31 PM