Down And Dirty With The Protesters
Aug 27, 2008, 3:44pm
Two things were very noticeable when we went downtown Denver to check out the Democratic National Convention on Tuesday August 26th, the second day of the event. The main downtown open air mall (16th Street) was buzzing along with all kinds of things for sale, button, flags, bags, t-shirts, food and trippy whippy doodads. A general merchandize excitement was in the air - "You believe, then buy something" seemed to be the rule of the day for that location.
Interspersed was the other - the homeless, the hopeful, and the helpful. Free T-shirts (with business logo), free bikes to ride for the day (if you had a credit card) and free pamphlets on everything from over population to anti-abortion and everything in between. Hundreds, possibly thousands of people were streaming up and down eating, buying, talking, basking, wearing proudly their democratic convention badges.
For The Mall Photos Go Here!
Over in Civic Center Park was a whole different view of what was going on. Here were the protesters and the marchers. Gathered together in the cement bowl of the amphitheatre they were fixing their signs, putting on their puppet heads, informing the public of how our civil rights are being demolished daily, desperately hanging on to our right to assemble, our right for free speech, living out what it means to be a responsible citizen of a democratic society. These people weren't consuming anything in fact they were actually feeding people for free, inviting anyone and everyone to join in peaceful parades, singing songs of freedom and offering their stories of how it should be better for all of us and that they were willing to stand up for all our rights, go to jail and put themselves in jeopardy for this belief.
The other large presence were the police - literally hundreds of them surrounding and watching with military eyes like eying the enemy, watching these peaceful folk exercising their god given rights. It was disgraceful.
At one point there was a pastor from a church who was bellowing out the most hateful, bigoted vitriolic diatribe I have ever heard ever come out of the mouth of a supposed man of god. He was engaging the crowd in a purposeful and violent manner when the wall of black riot garbed police came in and arrested two protesters who had already reserved the spot the bellowing pastor was occupying. (One protester was arrested just for protesting the first arrest.)
This event made it very evident how far away we have gotten from who we, as Americans, think we are. And all the thousands of democrats on the 16th Street Mall were nowhere to be found when just these few were the ones truly defending everyone's rights.
I was left feeling saddened by the small turnout of people that were really trying to bring balance back into our country, though I know that wining isn't always a numbers game. It was very clear to me how wide a gap we have developed within our society when so many people believing themselves to be good and democratic are only concerned with who was going to win an election and not how we are going to be as a people.
For The Civic Center Photos Go Here
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