On this cold, blustery day in Washington D.C., thousands of people braved the elements to send a resounding message that we will not stand idly by and let Big Oil continue to run the great ship Earth straight on to the reef of global heating.
Although my body feels battered and tense from standing clenched against the wind so many hours, my physical discomforts pale beside the sheer joy of the memories of today’s climate rally.
The most exciting part was when the whole huge, enthusiastic, orderly crowd began marching from the meet-up point by the Washington Monument, signs and banners and flags flying high, drumbeats and chants rising up into the clear sky above Washington, winding ourselves into a huge coiling serpent wrapping itself around the White House, parading and prancing and stomping and making all the joyful news we could as we passed by the iron gates under the watchful eyes of security.
It was somewhat deflating to know that the President was not home–and even worse to get word that he was golfing in Florida, no less (my regular readers will recall how much I detest golf courses and consider them symbolic of all that is wrong with humanity’s relation to the natural world).
But it was gratifying to see the media out in fairly substantial numbers covering the march; many, many video cameras were rolling and iphones were snapping and people were even wandering around the crowd doing spot interviews about what had drawn the protestors to DC this fine, cold Sunday.
I think I can speak for many when I say that what drew us out was a deep concern for our planet, and a desire to draw a line in the sand–in this case, the Keystone XL serving as that iconic line–to indicate our opposition to the continued rape and pillage of our Mother Earth.
No more impunity! If the fossil fuel magnates win this round and the Keystone is built, let it not be with impunity. Let our whote-hearted opposition to this misguided investment be duly registered in Washington, today and at re-election time next November.
At one point today as the wind whipped over the crowd the speaker observed wryly that “we like wind!” and everyone waved their “Forward with Clean Energy!” signs vigorously and laughed.
A small tribe of seagulls circled overhead for a while, wondering if there would be potato chips on offer at this gathering, and a young woman dressed in a lifesize Sandhill Crane outfit poked her long, elegant neck way above the crowd.
The gong has rung to signal the start of another round in the long struggle for a transition to a sustainable human relationship with the planet.
A good 35,000 people turned out today to tell the President and Congress, loud and clear, that we want real action on the climate disaster-in-the-making, and we want it to start RIGHT NOW.
If the New York Times is any indication of whether those in the mainstream halls of power are getting our message, the prospects look good, because the front-page story this evening is precisely about the Keystone XL issue and today’s big rally.
We the people do have the power to direct our elected officials to safeguard our interests. Our interests, not the corporate “persons’” interests.
As the chant went in the march today, “This is what democracy looks like!”
Postscript, President’s Day 2013:
Even the MSM press was on to this rally! The New York Times covered it, as did The Washington Post. HuffPost Green did a good job, and of course we could count on Common Dreams to be one of the first to cover Bill McKibben’s victory speech at the end of the day! Right next to yours truly, I am truly honored to say.