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Taking it to the streets

Following My Muse
Robert T. Nanninga
Surf City Times
February 22, 2003

 

Last week Clio the "Proclaimer," the muse of History, accompanied my friend Marcia and I to the Anti-War Rallies on February 15. Of course when we set out we had no idea who would be watching over us, muses decide these things, not us mere mortals. In hindsight it makes complete sense, after all we were after all calling for peace.

Marcia, a photographer, was serving as co-pilot as we made our way south. I was slated to speak on behalf of the San Diego Greens, so we spent the drive time talking about the relationship between art and activism. It was a beautiful morning; car-pooling made it even more so.

The rally and march were to begin at 10:30, at 10:00 about a hundred people were milling about. Peaceniks are very punctual. When the rally started there were over 5,000 demonstrators blocking Front Street. Activists from all walks of life were represented. From Socialists to Old School Republicans and every race, religion, and sexual orientation, everyone had followed the muse that asks them to be part of history.

The rally and march were to begin at 10:30, at 10:00 about a hundred people were milling about. Peaceniks are very punctual. When the rally started there were over 5,000 demonstrators blocking Front Street. Activists from all walks of life were represented. From Socialists to Old School Republicans and every race, religion, and sexual orientation, everyone had followed the muse that asks them to be part of history.

Most impressive was the artistic expression evidenced by those speaking out. Often we hear talk about the art of politics, more evocative of personal truth however is the art of protest. One mom with four kids in tow, used fabric paints to make their statements on brand new T-shirts. My favorites were the thumbnails of Picasso's Guernica, attached to 10ft poles. Towering above the crowd they shared air space with a mural of George the Conqueror, one woman carried a banner with the word think.

Besides signs of protest, there were also scores of drummers, a few dancers, people with tambourines, whistles, and other assorted noise makers. Most notable was the middle-aged white woman working a conch shell as if she were calling people to the street. She gave me goose bumps. For San Diego this was an amazing turnout. Best of all, traffic was interrupted for at least an hour, and drive-by support was immense.

A counter protest by those calling for the bombing of Baghdad consisted of twenty people tops.

While standing at the podium, looking out at thousands of faces, I understood the words I spoke were my contribution to the gathering. It was then Clio made herself known. By speaking out against war all of us were adding our voices to history.

I have a feeling Clio and I will be spending a lot of quality time together.

 
 
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