Monday, May 02, 2005

The more things change…

No protesters today. I am not sure why. Maybe they got stuck in traffic, like I did. The last time I saw the protesters here, they were a different bunch than usual, and no one seemed to have warned them that people would walk right by, paying little-to-no attention to them. This impression I got from the distressed looks they gave and the increasing pitch of their voices as the masses surged by, into that vast killing machine called 'the Pentagon'. The other reason I think they had not been warned was that they were holding 8 ½ by 11 inch sheets of paper with their messages. In about 14 point font. I don't know if it was 'protest creep' or ignorance that made them forget that people with jobs are too busy to stop and read a dissertation on the eeevillls of the SecDef. But for whatever reason, they each had about 15 messages per paper: Killing is Wrong, no blood for oil, save trees not Halliburton, stop the hate, Bush is a Nazi, free Tibet, WTO is killing children, No Bolton at the UN, penguins are people too (ok, I made that one up). I am really disappointed in our protesters here. Especially after seeing the ones the President gets.

Yesterday we got a tour of the West Wing (thanks Annie!) and while waiting for our clearance at the gate, we were entertained by competing protests. Someone dressed up like the infamous Abu Ghraib clansman, another accompanied him with a sign saying 'protect our wounded', while another was dressed as the President being led by someone dressed as a bushman from Africa. There was a woman in DCUs with a target on her back, and another in AF blues, with running shoes, shouting something through a megaphone and leading the group in circular marches. Sandwiched between these street marchers and some more sedentary banner carriers were a group of anti-anti-war protesters with the verbal retort to any chant of the Abu Ghraib folks: '8 million Iraqis gave you guys the finger!' After watching this parade for a while, we were even more entertained to see a gang of tourists show up on Segways, the latest way to see the city (since bike tours are so 1990's).

All of which brings me back to the long and painful ride in this morning. Thanks to multiple accidents, the 30 minute drive was closer to 90, and I got to hear a lot more news, in addition to finishing my book. The most jarring part came during the CBS News roundup at the top of the hour (WTOP was the news of choice for the driver today). "A cascading escalation of insurgent activity has left 5 Iraqis dead and scores injured…" OK, now last I checked, cascading means "To fall or cause to fall in or as if in a cascade" and escalate means "to increase in intensity or extent". So my question is this: does CBS think that the violence is increasingly falling, or falling up, or decreasing more, or what? Throw on top of that that insurgent means someone who is moving or attacking up against an established authority and the statement is really confusing. Not only that, but evil men who were deposed as leaders are not insurgents, they are selfish critters seeking to ruin life for everyone since they can't have their toys and fun anymore. Once again, the news comes through with a reason blogs like the ones linked on the side here are increasingly popular avenues of information.

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