I heard it was you,
Talking ’bout a world where all is free.
It just couldn’t be,
and only a fool would say that.
- Steely Dan
That was the first song that popped up on my iPod yesterday morning, and it fit perfectly with a few reflections I’d been having on last weekend. The 9/12 right wing demonstrations have been pretty well picked over by now, and there’s part of me that’s reluctant to pay much more attention to that crowd, but here’s my view on it for the record.
FBdN son #1 and I set out on Saturday morning for the U.S. Botanic Garden, a lovely spot right near the Capitol Building. I had forgotten the demonstrations were even happening until I saw, from the bus window, a couple of sign-bearers headed for the White House. Then our bus, which normally would have gone down Pennsylvania Avenue, was forced to detour.
We ended up over by Union Station, so we got off and walked over toward the lawn in front of the Capitol. That meant we had to cross the street, right through the parade. Right into the path of the crazies.
We made it past the parade and into the botanic garden, a haven. For anyone who hasn’t been there, I recommend it. It’s an extraordinary building, and like a lot of things in Washington, it’s free. Some of the wingers had figured this out – a few were straggling in to use the very clean and well-maintained restroom. I saw two even strolling around, taking in the flora. Maybe they needed a break from chanting about socialism.
Now FBdN son #1 and I had some business to take care of: playing trucks in the very clean and well-maintained gardens behind the greenhouse. But our haven was upset by all the yelling and bullshit coming from the serious sound system.
One speaker was some sort of activist from Louisville, KY. I guess she’s got a band, because they busted into a song, ‘The U.S.S. of A,’ warning of impending socialism here in the U.S. (government’s going to take over your churches, etc.) She sounded like a bizarro Grace Slick.
I’m with mpomy on this one – I think all of the yelling about socialism is just cover for racism and other ugliness. Communism is dead, practically. And socialism? That’s just stupid. Look at the top 10 ranked countries for doing business, according to the World Bank, and you’ll find such well known socialist hellholes as Canada, Denmark, and Norway. Weighing in at number five, right behind the United States, is the United Kingdom. How they managed that with their system of universal health coverage is anyone’s guess.
So at best these people are just dumb. I wonder what they think when they ride the Metro? That maybe private enterprise would have done it better?
I also grabbed a photo of a couple of protesters eating lunch at the excellent Cascade Cafe inside the National Gallery of Art, a government-run museum where the price of admission is zip. You still have to pay for lunch, so I suppose it’s not a world where all is free.
Finally, I took a quick a video of the right wing protests from the Mall. Down towards the Washington Monument was the National Black Family Reunion. Quite a contrast to what was going on down by the Capitol.