Monday, January 24, 2005

White Riot, 2005

(The title of this post refers to a particularly appropriate song written and performed by the seminal punk rock band, The Clash. See:

Buoyed by feelings of patriotic duty, today I ventured into the District of Columbia to witness the 2nd Presidential Inauguration of George Bush, expecting to encounter both festivities and fisticuffs. Anticipating an uneventful commute to join up with my friends at Protest Warriors ( along the Pennsylvania Avenue parade route to demonstrate my solidarity with the US military, I instead alighted from the Chinatown Metro and found myself caught up in the inescapable human conveyor belt and security maelstrom that was DC on Inauguration Day 2005. Following inexorably the labyrinthine route laid out by TSA or MPDC (Washington DC Police)--or whichever alphabet soup security agency decides such things--I before long found myself sucked into the snail's-pace movement through the security magnetometers at 7th Street, directly north of the parade route. Rounding the corner closest to the entry point I was truly astonished by the sight I beheld: hundreds of other citizens braving attendant discomfort and inconvenience, simply for a chance to view the historic parade. I mused, well, here it is—the fool-proof recipe for a logistical nightmare: Take a narrow entry point along the Inaugural Parade Route, outfit the checkpoint with a mere three metal detectors, and liberally stir a thousand anxious spectators streaming forward in a furious throng, and…voila! Disaster a la mode.

Realizing that the other three checkpoints along the parade route were probably no better situated, I sighed, groaned, and then plunged into the crowd at 7th and D Streets. Trudging ever forward, and to forestall utter boredom, from time to time I glanced at the ubiquitous rooftop snipers and couldn’t help but muse that from their vantage point we the fleshly blob below must look like the slo-mo drip of sand through an enormous human-sized hourglass. Or bugs… And so I stood and wobbled and crept and shuffled and swayed, all the while crammed like a kippered herring among 10,000 souls of various political persuasions, from earnest-looking and well-fed suburban communists to down home regular folks here in the nation’s capitol to proclaim their patriotic love of American Home & Hearth. Minutes then hours ticked past relentlessly, I and my accidental family glued together in a seething mass, unable to move independently and irresistibly buffeted by the mysterious waves of shoving that suddenly swelled and waned with a grotesque and disconcerting irregularity, a very special addition to the horrid dystopia. Also, the crowd smelled. Bad.

As if the agony of spending 200 very, very l-o-o-o-n-g and utterly miserable minutes that I spent jammed back to front with an odious "limousine liberal”-types was not vile enough, I soon found myself crammed thisclose to one of that ilk who I will never—can never—forget. For you see, this particular moonbat had hoisted his obnoxious 6-year-old son up onto his shoulders, encouraging, in a stage whisper, no less, the boy to “let his views be known” (this, sadly, is a direct quote). What divine retribution had I called down upon my head, for which affront to God was I atoning, I wondered, to have my ears subjected to hours of this kid’s keening cry of "Dump BOOOSH! Down Wif BOOOSSH—how was that Daddy?” followed by the father cooing, “That was good Joshua, real good!” Ugh.

My boredom was soon shattered though, by the sudden appearance of what seemed to be a swarming horde of giant vampire bats, blasting out from their daytime lair at twilight, out for another macabre night of insect gorging frenzy. Though shocked by this tableau, I began to discern individual figures writhing within the black mass. It was indeed not vampire bats but rather dozens of fist pumping badass 20-something "anarchists" (genus Macrophagia Lunarius -- see, exploding around a too close corner, black flags unfurled, arms akimbo, shrieking and wailing and hurling projectiles for no sensible reason. Clad in de rigueur black, many with Arab Keffiyah headscarves obscuring their twisted-in-lunacy countenances, the densely packed maniacs lustily screamed and howled their obscene political slogans like a Mephistophelian chorus, and revealed to the world the depth of their brand of philosophical discourse: "Fuck the Pigs!!!!!" "Fuck Bush!!!!" "Smash Capitalism!!!" and the classic "Fuck! Fuck! Fuck! Fuck! Fuck!!" refrain flew through the air, adding to my already overtaxed sense of outrage. Those of us ensconced in the mob in front of the security checkpoints grew increasingly startled, and not a few of my fellow travelers burst into tears of fear and rage and anger. The spirit of Eisenstein floated above the demented scene, but ole’ Sergei dosed on acid: Battleship Potemkin, Part 2: The Inauguration!

Within losing momentum, some of the more ADD-prone moonbats among the pathetic juggernaut upped the ante and bashed through the police barricades erected to protect those of us squeezing through the security checkpoint. Wannabe Spartacists swarmed over into my immediate area, preceded by an unrelenting hail of garbage and stones. According to an account in the Washington Post the next day, the “protesters” hurled “snowballs” at the cops, clearly implying that the police response—swinging batons and dousing with pepper-spray hoses—was an overreaction at best, and an egregious breach of citizen’s rights by Evil Government Agents at worst. But you don’t have to be Bernie Goldberg to detect standard WaPo bias—believe me, these innocuous snowballs being playfully tossed by the rambunctious youth were in reality large rocks covered in a thin veneer of snow—I saw and heard the loud report when one of these hurled missiles slammed into the face shield of a nearby MPDC Officer. Three of the cowardly nihilist miscreants wrestled a female cop to the pavement and managed to land a few vigorous kicks to her by prone body (a lesson illustrated: Beware of Pacifists—they want to maim you). In a flash, some MPDC reinforcements arrived on the scene and beat back the self-styled radical vanguard. Soon MPDC clubs were flying and criminal heads were being cracked. Yet the insane disruptors surged forward anew, forcing the cops’ hands to unleash chemical spray to end their teenage hijinks, and hopefully send them back with irritated eyes tearing, to their dorm rooms and coffee shops. The one solitary good thing to come out of thee melee is that at long last I can say that I have experienced the scent of pepper spray (a sweet bouquet, with ammonia overtone).

Within minutes the forces of order had regained control, but the damage was done, and not just to the bad-boy Bakuninists. Finally—finally!—I found myself being made it in to a small area along the parade route reserved by my pals at "Free Republic" (, a patriotic group of Capitalist freethinkers. Their outpost of sanity (in s sea of madness) was unmistakable, for they had cordoned off an area with signs reading "American Sector. For Lovers of Freedom. A Commie-Free Zone. Courtesy of Free Republic". I was at home, at last.


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