Magazine article Sojourners Magazine

It's Up to You, New York, New ... Ouch!

Magazine article Sojourners Magazine

It's Up to You, New York, New ... Ouch!

Article excerpt

A weekend in New York City is always a fun-filled experience, what with the shopping, the Broadway shows, and that special feeling you get from being trampled by angry, policemen on large horses. Unfortunately, it wasn't all fun-filled, since some of the policemen were quite large themselves and, as I recall, a couple of the horses were pretty angry, too. And also large.

It was a big weekend for us, so my youngest daughter and I got up early Saturday morning and left the relative safety of our hometown of Washington, D.C. (after first unwrapping the duet tape from the front door and checking the yard for terrorists seeking to change our American way of life, such as John Ashcroft). In New York City we joined thousands of peace-loving people to protest war in Iraq and, in a larger sense, to call for a world without hate, without war, and above all without people who at the drop of a hat will sing "Down By the Riverside" in public. Also, "Kumbaya" and "Hey, Hey, Ho, Ho, [something bad] Has Got to Go."

In short, my daughter and I were there to put our bodies on the line for peace. And after that we were going to shop for CDs and maybe go ice skating at Rockefeller Center, but NOT until we had stopped the war (which we wanted to do by around 6-ish, since the skating rink fills up pretty quickly).

THE DAY BEGAN as gloriously as a wind chill of minus 10 would allow, and the New York subways were filled with like-minded protesters whose spirited enthusiasm would have been much more contagious had their signs not poked me in the eye whenever the train stopped to take on more protesters with more pointy signs.

The city had forbidden street protests, so we were forced to march on the sidewalks, which slowed us down considerably when we passed Macy's department store. (Clerks were dressing the mannequins, and I was immediately taken in by the intoxicating seductiveness of inanimate figures beckoning, Barbie-like, to impressionable passersby who had not yet noticed' the icy, judgmental stares of one particular teenage daughter. Ahem.)

A few blocks later we ended up in the middle of the street--hundreds of thousands of us--and we quickly got down to the important business of the day: chanting funny things about George W. Bush and reading each other's signs. (My favorite: "France is Right. Go Figure.") Let's face it, once you've placed your body on the line, there's not much else to do (we couldn't break into small groups because there was no room), except maybe to patronize the stores that happen to be where you've ended up, which in our case was a wig store. …

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