Sunday, May 27, 2007

A Dispatch from an Alternate Universe

Hello, residents of Universe 15g-55891. We have just invented technology to peer into your universe, which, like all the other universes, closely parallels our own. Like us, you too will soon discover this capability - after all, our universes are parallel.

Yes, you will soon have this capability yourselves - even now, there is a graduate student working diligently at the University of California, Berkeley, and I can tell you that, as I write, he is about 6 months behind the corresponding researcher in our universe.

We have also discovered something intriguing: we and you were in the same universe up until mid-November of last year, but then our Universe split from yours.

I thought I would begin this first dispatch by bringing you up to date on recent events here.

Obviously, since the May 10th Demonstrations - ah, but I'm getting ahead of myself.

Our Democratic Party is as timid as yours, and we too lost patience with our leadership and appeasers in the congress.

On May 10th, in an event that was reported with something approaching stunned,, rapturous awe by the European press, the National Mall in Washington DC was flooded with a million and a half protesters (some estimates ranged to 2 million), and the protesters were determined citizens from all walks of life - veterans, mothers with babies in strollers, Wal-Mart greeters, florists, call-center employees, old black ladies in their Sunday Best - who came to our capital and demanded an end to the war in Iraq. This protest was paralleled by protests outside of every congress member’s local office, and the downtown of every major city was the scene of large protests. The crowd count in Cincinnati was officially 120,000; the local consensus is that this is ludicrously undercounted. Atlanta had 80,000 (give or take), and even Omaha Nebraska could muster 12,000 people.

The Progressive blogosphere had a major presence in most of the gatherings, especially the colossal one in DC. Booths -- live blogging, many diaries on Daily Kos, interviews with some of the speakers, etc.

That protest proved to be the beginning of an intoxicating hope that has informed our actions since. After the conclusion of the formal rally, several hundred thousand people decided to stay in DC. They are now in an enormous encampment on the Mall, and a huge effort is currently supporting them there: People come in from the surrounding suburbs every day and bring a steady stream of food to the "Peace Army" as they have come to be known. There are still long lines at the port-potties, but more are coming, thanks in no small part to the bloggers, who took up a collection to finance their installation. The National Park Police had been ordered to prevent their installation; when word of this got to the protesters, a party of 50,000 marched to the headquarters of the national Park Service, surrounded it, linked arms and sat down. After 2 days, and realizing their position was untenable (there are not 50,000 jail cells within 100 miles of DC), the Park Service relented and allowed the porta-potties to be placed along the edge of the Mall.

There is an air of deep, deep crisis at every level of government here in DC. Many members of Congress are sleeping in their offices along with their staffs. White House staffers, and even the President, are looking a bit haggard.

In the streets of America, there is a sense of watchful hope. I will tell you about some of the May 10th speeches I heard in the next dispatch.

No comments:

Post a Comment