August 30, 2004
The NY Protest Was Just the Beginning
BUZZFLASH READER CONTRIBUTION
The heat was on in New York City on Sunday, but it wasn’t just coming from the hard-blazing sun overheard. It was an amazing feeling to be part of one of the biggest, most outspoken crowds every to assemble on the streets here, with the sole purpose of putting the heat on George Bush, his administration, and the GOP -- which really picked the wrong city to invade for their convention. That’s why Sunday, August 29, 2004 was a landmark day in American politics, when a huge crowd estimated to be as many as 500,000 people, talked back to Bush.
I didn’t really know it would be like that when I first showed up, however. I started alone as I wound through the grid-like streets of Manhattan on the way to where the march started, 14th Street and 7th Avenue, but I wasn’t by myself for long. Pretty soon I was walking with more and more people, some with signs, some with buttons, and some -- a lot -- just like me. I didn’t have any colorful decorations or witty slogans on my shirt, but I’d been craving the chance to see the Americans who agreed with me that this was the dumbest, most dangerous administration of all time, and starting now, they were going to hear our voice.
Hitting 7th Avenue, I wasn’t disappointed. Like so many others, I squeezed into a space on the street and faced uptown, where 20 blocks away, Madison Square Garden, home of the 2004 Republican National Convention, waited for us. This was the biggest crowd I’d ever been a part of in my life -– there were people of every age, race and religion ahead of me, behind me, and to the side. As we waited for the mass to start moving, sometimes a loud cheer would start moving from somewhere, and when the sound rolled to me it sounded like a jet taking off. The signs were everywhere, and some of them were hilarious. My personal favorite was the picture of Dubya that said, "If you can’t dazzle them with your brilliance, baffle them with your bulls---." RIGHT.
We had to wait a while past noon, the scheduled start, but when we finally got rolling, we were an unstoppable force. There was unity like you wouldn’t believe, and as far as I could see, no one was fighting the police or each other. We just wanted to make it up to the Garden and make our presence known. Finally passing that legendary building, after sometimes inching up block after long block, everyone had something to shout. The printable stuff included "SHAME ON BUSH!" and "FOUR MORE MONTHS!" We called him, Dick Cheney and their cohorts liars, criminals, jerks. It felt good, REAL good.
Whether you were there in person, saw it on TV or read about it, one thing is now obvious: George Bush is officially The Most Hated Man in America. I dare him to watch that footage and deny it. If he wants to prove me wrong, I challenge him to organize a march of half a million angry Americans directed against any person of his choosing. Think he can do it? Me neither.
The Most Hated Man in America shouldn’t be our president. He doesn’t listen to us and he doesn’t speak for us, but it’s going to take more than just Sunday’s show of force to ensure that he doesn’t work for us past November. As we strutted to the finish line in Union Square, a woman greeted us on the microphone. "You have reached the end of the march," she said. "But this is not an ending. It is a beginning. There is a lot of work left to do, and there is not much time." She’s right. What can you do today, and every day until November 2nd? Can you donate, volunteer, demonstrate? Then do it, and together, we’ll all keep marching forward.
A BUZZFLASH READER CONTRIBUTION
David Weiss is NYC-based journalist.
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