The experience of a protest


March 18, 2003, midnight | By Alexa Scott | 20 years, 11 months ago


Walking from the Smithsonian metro stop last Saturday, I can see a sea of heads in the distance, surrounding the Washington Monument and spilling out into the streets. The feeling is amazing, and I can feel a surge of energy as I get closer and the sound of speakers and drums, chanting and yells of "PEACE" fill the air. It feels good to be a part of this, to be so reassured that I am not alone in my opposition of the war.

It reminded me of what Woodstock must have looked like: people camped out on the lawn and voicing their opinion, with hippies coming out of the woodwork. People of every age, sex and race took part in the demonstration, holding signs with messages running from "No War for Oil" to "Empty Warhead found in the White House" with a picture of President Bush underneath.

I pushed my way though the crowd, trying to get a taste of everything that was going on. I listened to a speaker from Puerto Rico, declaring his disgust with the aggressive nature of the Bush administration. I signed every petition I agreed with, which was basically every one I came across. I filled out a ballot to impeach Bush and chanted along with the songs of peace and protest. And even though I was surrounded with some of the most radical left-winged people in the district, I still got endless stares at my cotton candy pink hair. Go figure.

The most amazing part of being a metro ride away from this county's capitol is that we are right in the middle of this, in the center of where everything is happening. I think I was not alone in my awe of being in the center of Washington DC, where out country's future is being decided. We wanted Bush to look out his front window and see us yelling, to see us protesting. Maybe then he wouldn't be able to ignore us.

About an hour after I arrived, people began marching. Minutes after people had filled the streets, the police came driving though on motorcycles, and it seems that even peace provokes aggression in these crazy times. "Whose streets? OUR streets!" soon started sounding through the crowd, and I couldn't help but smile, thinking of how much this reminded me of the march Blair held earlier this month (Whose school? OUR school!)

I don't know why so many police were needed for a crowd of admittedly loud but definitely peaceful people. When stubborn activists started getting shoved, I decided to back off. I want to make a statement, but I have no desire to become a part of more aggression. Walking away, I felt just a little more fulfilled and a little more confident that when I decide to run to Canada to escape this war, I won't be the only American there.



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