Monday, November 5, 2007

What do we want? To be home by six o' clock!

When do we want it? Six o' clock!

I spent 13 hours on my feet, working as a volunteer Marshall at the anti-war rally that gathered 10,000 people in downtown Chicago. I thought that with marshaling, I would be given a stick with an end that was sharpened to a point. I called this imaginary tool, "The Peace Stick." No such item was given. Instead I had a yellow ribbon tied to my arm and pointed people around the corner of Dearborn and Jackson. The work was as thankless as it was effortless. The only moment in which I felt the sense of bringing about change was pointing a nice Asian lady towards the Starbucks.

Prior to the event, I had to undergo Non-Violence Training, or as I referred to it, Non-Violence Training Day ("You got today and today only to show me who and what you're made of. You don't like peace, get the fuck out of my car. Go get you a nice pussy desk job chasing bad checks or something, you hear me?". . ."Mahatma Gandhi ain't got shit on me!"). Along with 30 other volunteers, I sat in a room where nothing happened. Two women stood at the helm and reiterated our goals for the day's protest while people in the audience added items for no reason beyond just wanting to talk.

"We are going to promote human needs."

"Can we also promote an aura of social justice?"

"That's not our goal. . . today."

"Can it be?"

"If it was up to me, it would, but this agenda was set months ago."

"Oh, okay."

We were also told that there had been a dialogue with the Chicago Police. They'd agreed not to wear riot gear. The volunteer group released a collective sigh. Many of the people here were involved with a demonstration three years ago that resulted in countless arrests, and alleged police brutality.

While the Chicago Police kept to their agreement and wore standard uniforms, the Sheriff's officers went completely overlooked. Three buses arrived. Each was spilling over with agents in complete hard-shell casing.

They had peace sticks.

Here's a challenge: Stand in front of over a hundred armed guardsmen and try not to think about propelling your body at them. Maybe it's the Nerf-plastic body shield, or their spacing that parallels a ten-pin formation. There's some unspeakable magic that practically compels the most rational of people to incite some violence.

With the exception of being stationed next to a Police horse that went fucking insane and started shitting, everywhere - the event was uneventful. No hippie scum learned the taste of a Peace Stick. The Sheriff's Officers went home as unsatisfied as one of my lovers.

To the best of my knowledge, there's still a war.


1 comment:

Oliver Babbles said...

oh my god a good post. I'm searching the interweb right now to see who you plagiarized it from