I didn't have a camera at the Portland anti-war rally and march on Saturday (March 15), but I took pages of notes, mostly on the signs and slogans I saw around me. Now judging by the livejournal comments I've posted, emails I've sent out, and Everything2 homenode update I've posted today, I feel like writing more about the experience, so here's some preliminary thoughts, taken from the aforementioned email and LJ comment and E2 homenode post.
The bad news first: I was really disappointed by the number of signs and effigies making fun of George W. Bush. As much as I agreed with some of them, they mostly struck me as petty and counter-productive. I know he wasn't really elected, I know he comes across as an idiot (I can't stand to hear him on the radio, let alone watch him on TV) and most of all I know it's embarrassing he's the public face of the United States in entirely too many ways, but dangit, I for one was marching for something bigger than personal dislike of Dubya. Sigh.
Now for some happier news: One of the coolest things about the anti-war rally and march in Portland was that there were people of all ages there, not just teenagers and college students. It's not just rebellious kids who think the war is stupid, it's grandmothers. Which is just great. It's good to know that not everybody is hypnotized by the TV news. Also, I feel like there's much less of getting teargassed or shot by riot police when there's little old ladies in the crowd. Which is a good feeling as well.
According to the Sunday newspapers (including the New York Times), there were 20,000 to 30,000 people at the rally and march in Portland. I was glad it made the news. Even if the administration isn't listening, at least the media couldn't ignore it, and in turn that means people who didn't march got to see that there's plenty of people opposed to the war. Whether it will make them think is a different story, but it's a start. I wonder if the U.S. anti-war protests make the news in other countries. I hope they do, because one of my major reasons for getting involved is to try to show as many people as possible that not everyone in the U.S. is blindly supporting the administration's war plans.
That pretty much sums up everything I've been telling people about my experiences at the march and rally. I feel like I should have more to say, but I'm kind of drawing a blank right now. Oh well. At least I've gotten those thoughts down where I won't forget them too quickly.
Update, 13:43: Happy Saint Patrick's Day, all. And please keep sending me your book recommendations (for those of you who just tuned in, yesterday I asked for suggestions on good books about the history and theory of nonviolent social protest).
Update, 15:55: Picture of me at the Portland anti-war march and rally courtesy of qousqous: ( Read more... ).