Exercising our First Amendment rights in Orange…
Tonight, the wife (aka Vicky) and I decided it was time we got out in the fray and stood up for what we believe in. Actually, it started with Vicky asking me if I’d like to go. Technically, it was her idea.
Listen, I’ll admit it. I’m a cynic at heart, hip, and spleen. I tend to group political protests with things as effective as men’s body spray and white guys rapping. Now, anyone who knows me knows that I’m as far to the left as they come. Castro stopped taking my calls because he thinks I’m a “hippy”. Not only will I agree that our Prez, Shrub, is a liar, a crook, and a downright evil bastard, I’ll take it from there and give you change, but do I think protesting will help?
That said, Vicky and I showed up for MoveOn.org’s “Remembering our Constitution” vigil, which was held along with Code Pink’s (yes, Code Pink) weekly anti-war rally, at the Orange Traffic Circle at 6pm. We didn’t really need to bring candles, though we did, there was plenty provided there. We each grabbed a sign – I took “War is NOT Pro-Life” and Vicky got “Honk for Peace” and helped line the circle.
Now, granted, my sign wasn’t the one getting all the honks. That was Vicky. I provided a bit more support – back up, if you will – I was Vicky’s “Pip”. And quite a few people honked. It was nice to see the support and all the people there. At one point we had 51 and that grew by about ten more before the night was through.
Of course, along with the support came derision and ridicule. And it came in the strangest way.
My belief is that there is no sensible argument for an executive branch that violates the constitution so flagrantly – I can see the flames coming but oh well – and I guess that’s why the opposition was so disappointing. There was a counter-protest across the street, two white guys with nothing intelligible to say. They yelled and howled swear words, which was no surprise. I say that because of the people driving by shouting “traitors!” and “cowards!”. The woman who called us a coward looked so very angry. I just wanted to ask her where she got her information. The same with the guy who called me a traitor; what exactly was I supposed to have done? Then, of course, there was the guy who yelled that we were, all of us, “fucking faggots”. He was gone before I could inform him that I was with my wife… who is a woman… who I have sex with… The strangest thing about this, though – and I honestly don’t mean to make this a racial thing – was that all of these very intelligent and articulate people were white. All of them. Even the few people who flipped us off – now that’s telling us – were white.
(Not that I’m saying anything against white people. Heck, some of my best friends are white. Even I am white!)
And who were the traitors, cowards, and homosexuals? Strange, again… most of them were older people. Oh, we had plenty of young people as well, children too – and a couple of Goths! (Now there’s a sight, Goths protesting for peace!) A mix of colors and backgrounds. There were representatives from various, progressive groups: Orange County Catholic Worker, Progressive Democrats of America, Code Pink (of course). Personally, I want to see some Republicans protesting; I think they have just as much reason to protest, if not more.
By 7pm, the night was done. A good thing, too. Vicky was the only one to eat a good lunch (we both went straight from work) or bring a change of shoes. I’m sure we’ll be doing this again; seeing the children, and knowing that we’ll soon have one of our own, helped shelve my cynicism a bit.
At 7pm, we lowered our sign and everyone began saying goodnight. The counter-protester across the street rolled up his (requisite) American flag, grabbed his sign, and yelled in a cheerful, friendly voice across the street, “Good night! See you next week!” as he headed down Chapman Avenue. It was comical. It was spooky. It was surreal.
See you next week.