Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Camp Democracy. Has the Anti-Bush Movement Lost its Steam?

Camp Democracy. On the National Mall in Washington, DC, September 5-21, 2006. If we build it, they will come. Except they didn't come. At all. I spent most of the day there on Sunday September 10th. There were probably 100 people at any given time, and most were organizers and workers. The Cindy Sheehan inspired and Code Pink, NOW, World Can't Wait Drive out Bush Regime sponsored anti-war and anti-Bush encampment may have to be renamed to Camp Insignificant.

It had more the feel of a circus than any significant political movement. There were cartoonish characters, a middle aged "truth to power" rapper, and folks wearing giraffe ears (more about that later). Cindy Sheehan, whom organizers say inspired the camp, wasn't able to attend due to health problems (hysterectomy, I was told) and I was told that she was getting a much needed rest for all she's been through. The organizers, however, didn't seem phased by the low turnout. So antics ensued. I caught the tail end of rapper dude rapping "truth to power."

This is the infamous "Chain Gang." Cheney, Rumsfeld, Bush, Rice.

The cards being handed out in the video contain the four articles of impeachment that this group claims is justification for impeaching President Bush (http://www.impeachbush.tv/impeach/grounds.html). And if it's on a post card, it must be true?

This is Ian. With capitolnvc.org, non-violent communication workshops. He's wearing giraffe ears. And wasn't the only one (sad to say). I asked him why the ears? He said giraffes "have the biggest hearts of all land mammals."
So it conceptualizes "listening more effectively" and "communicating non-violently." "Not like a jackel." Hey, I'm just telling you what the guy said.
Not sure where these folks were.

And all the anti-capitalism talk you might hear at these events? It's okay unless you're trying to sell something. Like the guy who had his anti-Bush Administration paintings on display. He didn't feel a bit bad about handing out his capitalist business card to those strolling buy (meant to misspell it).

I really wanted to talk to the National Organization for Women, but...no one was there. I asked at the neighboring table. They said they hadn't seen anyone from the group all day.

All in all, at least on this sunny Sunday in DC, Camp Democracy was a bust, but if you go, don't forget to say goodbye to Pinochio Bush and pick up this nice T-shirt before you head home. All twenty of you. Like I said earlier, Camp Insignificant.

There was a somber side to the day.

The father who lost his son in Iraq and walked the Mall dragging a casket. His name is Carlos and I interviewed him briefly here (and again later). Carlos set up a display called Camp Alex inside Camp Democracy. The whole thing is just sad, and what was absolutely infuriating is that he told me when he got the official report on his son's death that his son Alex was killed by an IRANIAN sniper. Yah, let's invite former Iranian President Khatami to visit again. Maybe he could speak his dialogue of civilizations trash at our soldiers' funerals. Can you tell I'm angry.

I read the letter that Carlos gave me to get the answer to my question on if his son was against the war. Here's an excerpt.
...I am not afraid of dying. I am more afraid of what will happen
to all the ones that I love if something happens to me. Soon enough
I will be in the desert, outside the city of Bagdad, in full combat
gear ready to carry out my mission, Wondering how this all happened
so fast, Wishing I was back home, going to school, Dating sheila, taking
care of my family. Although I think this way now I am almost certain
that If I didn't walk this path, I would be wondering to myself "why
didn't I make the other decision Why didn't I walk the path of a proud
warrior, a marine. Just because I wonder "what if" doesn't mean I'm
not proud, it doesn't mean I feel like I made the wrong decision, It
doesn't mean I have any regrets. Im still proud to be fighting for my
country, I feel like, If I'm not helping one way I should still do all
that I can to help (OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM)....


After reading in Alex's letter that he believed in the mission, I told Carlos that I meant no disrespect but had to ask. Would Alex have wanted his sacrifice on display at an anti-war anti-Bush event? He said he is just trying to honor his son.

We honor him, too, and are deeply grateful for what he has done for us.