Perhaps you were not there that day, but you have surely heard of what happened.
On January 18, the steps to the capital were closed, guarded by police with their arms crossed. Giant magnolias flanked the staircases, now mere decoration, representing the pretense of access to the People's representatives. At its peak, there was a dark statue standing, too distant to discern in detail. What did it stand for? It could be replaced with the figure of an angel of darkness without anyone else noticing.
I turned my back on the capital building and saw the real story. The National Mall, the great walkway of the American People, was chock full with people who demanded attention. A great pointillist painting of protest surged in the middle of the winter like a tropical storm. Each dot, singing or shouting or chanting, contributed to a collective roar.
Some tried to count the number of Americans that gathered that day, but the mass was truly beyond count. It was a qualitative entity of defiance, not a mere quantitative representation.
The dense mass media floated to the top that day, no longer able to ignore the unexpected growth of a popular resistance to the lust of George W. Bush to invade Iraq. Corporate news divisions accustomed to forwarding on the press releases of government offices reawakened, no longer cowed by the White House Press Secretary's warning that they need to watch what they say and what they do.
This was not just a protest. It was a demonstration. The people in the streets demonstrated that when George W. Bush and his dark-suited men say that American stands united behind his war, they lie. The constant streams of more and more and more people coming in from all over the nation into the Mall demonstrated that Americans still love freedom too much to allow even the President to steal it away from them in the guise of security.
The American People came to Washington D.C. that day to say that they have had enough of fear. They came to renew their commitment to the America that they love: the America that believes that freedom is the best way to guarantee safety, the America that believes in a total information awareness provided by the government and not by the people, the America that does not need to kill to prove its real power.
The demonstrators came to mark the dawning of a new day for freedom in American.
They came to signify the end of the terror-fueled rule of George the Second.
They came to announce that the tide is turning.
See what it was like to be there.
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