Sunday Nowhere Near the Park Without George:
So the Rude Pundit marched. Along with, depending on your news source, 500,000 others, 200,000 others, or 120,000 others. Either way, it was a hot motherfucker of a day, and if the march had been on the West Side Highway, where there's even less shade than the precious little on 7th Avenue, there would have surely been riots. Either way, there were too many vendors in the streets, from the obvious non-believers trying to score a buck to the desperately cash-free groups like the Revolutionary Workers Party and whatever variation on Socialists happens to be hawking buttons and bumper stickers. Either way, everyone was exploiting the massive crowd to the fullest extent allowed by socialists engaged in a capitalist enterprise. Either way, it was still disconcerting to see vanloads of cops ride through Union Square, many of them carrying rifles, all of them with billy clubs. Either way, it was either a great day or completely worthless (the protest is already off the front page of MSNBC's website) or some combination of the two, with the protesters just reminding themselves how much they give a shit. Either way, the Rude Pundit did not get laid at the end of the day - he won't say getting fucked was his first purpose in marching, but he will not say it was his last.
Yes, it was fun, with the great street theatre of Billionaires for Bush (who are getting lots of media time without the media understanding how radical they are, sort of like Dave Chappelle, where everyone thinks it's so cute and funny and thus de-fangs them) and the best counterprotest group, Communists for Kerry, running through the crowd dressed as Che Guevara and Trotsky (the Rude Pundit thinks they're a bunch of misguided tools who are doomed to Swift Boat Vet like bouts of self-recrimination, but, c'mon, it's funnier than Dennis Miller). And, yeah, the costumes were fun, with the dancing penis (who doesn't love a dancing penis? Oh, sorry, "Dick" for those not getting the Cheney joke), the giant dragon, the Code Pink ladies. The most transgressive may have been the group of women and male cross dressers who were decked out in fifties garb, chanting pro-choice slogans, one of whom was outfitted as a waitress holding a bent coathanger as she yelled. However none of these women would agree to leave the march in order to have a quick suck and fuck on a side street with the Rude Pundit. He thinks he could have gotten one of the cross-dressers, who was giving the Rude Pundit the winky eye, but men sweat so much in that kind of sun.
Along with the pro-choicers, there were those whose tangential issues just made one want to shout, "Focus, people, focus." "Free Mumia" is a fine (if a bit outdated) sentiment. Sure, maybe Aristide oughta be allowed back in Haiti. But, you know, we're kinda marchin' for a pretty big purpose, no? Oh, and sure, there were the sad, small group of Greens, promising us that our grandkids would thank us if we voted for . . . who? And the previously mentioned Revolutionary Workers Party, who threw Bush, Kerry, and Nader into the same trashbin of leadership. And, oh, the stacks of paper thrown at us, pamphlets and newspapers and guides, so much of it useless and badly written, so much of it trampled. The Rude Pundit tried to convince a young woman hawking The Militant that he would love to buy her a beer after the march and they could express their outrage at the capitalist imperialists, who wouldn't allow a Socialist candidate to debate Bush and Kerry, by roughly balling in an alley with a full view of the Stock Exchange, but such was her laser focus on getting subscriptions that she did not have time for such discourse.
So the march went on. And on. And on. Maybe a half a million people. Some with signs listing the others who wanted to be there but couldn't. Many with cell phones, calling friends and relatives to say, "Hey, watch C-SPAN, I'm passin' by cameras. You see me wavin'? You see me? You Tivo it? Cool." Many, many others who were watching on the sidelines who, for one reason or another, were inspired to grab some bit of corrugated cardboard to scrawl a "Fuck Bush" sign and join in the march. Many, many more of us who talked about how the real work was still to be done, up until and especially on Election Day. Many, many of us spoke to each other, in between chants and songs (if the Rude Pundit is forced to say, "Hey, Ho, George Bush has got to go" one more time, he will go batshit insane), about how this was all about the energy of the moment, about how things had gotten so bad so quickly in so many ways, that we could actually focus in on one man, one election. Had Bill Clinton ever inspired this energy against him in the streets?
Oh, how pissed Fox "News" must have been that there were no riots, relatively few arrests. Oh, how the cameras of the RNC must have been focused crazily all over the place looking for something they could use in ads. But, shockingly, horrifyingly for Fox, for the GOP, most, most of the maybe half a million were a spectrum of America. They're gonna have their party, they're gonna go up in the polls, but at some point, one way or another they're gonna have to deal with that maybe half a million.