Monday, August 30, 2004

God's Country is all about Eggs

"I left God's country," said Leon Mosley of Waterloo, Iowa, co-chairman of his state party. "They could use a bunch of people from Iowa to come here to show New Yorkers what life is all about, what being patriotic is all about, and what country is all about. I'm as confident about Bush being re-elected as I am that eggs are going to be in New York tomorrow morning.''

In unrelated news, a constitutional amendment was passed this morning, banning the use of eggs in New York state.

The above quote - found in today's New York Times - really speaks for itself. Sure, I'd like to make a few more egg jokes, examine what it is that makes Iowa God's country (Does Wyoming know? They're gonna be pissed.) and generally tickle Mr. Mosley while he tries to tell me 'what life is all about... what country is all about.' But I'll refrain.

Instead, I just wanted to say that I felt sweaty and guilty when I showed up late to the protest yesterday evening. These people standing around, sitting on the grass, dressed as pea pods, shared my feelings about Mr. Bush. So why weren't we commiserating more? Why didn't I demand to be out there? Was I scared? I wandered Union Square with Jessica and tried to get some outraged part of me to bubble to the surface. Instead, I was the ultimate judgmental hypocrite. I questioned people's intent (those selling t-shirts in particular) and tried to avoid getting involved in a chant or crowd throbbing in all directions. We stayed for about twenty minutes and then went to see a movie. Why wasn't I more invested in the gathering? Even if I'd been in New York all day, would I have forced myself into midtown for the greater protest. Do you protest if you mostly just feel numb? I'm not sure. I was buying the hype of protests actually playing into the Republicans' hands. I let that logic guide me. I came to believe creating chaos in New York would only alienate the rest of the country (especially the news-watching caretakers of God's Country).

Today, though, I was looking at the cover of the Post with the bird's eye view of the beyond expectations mass of protestors and got teary-eyed. Their article focuses a little heavily on the celebrity arrests (Rosario Dawson fyi) but also notes the involvement of parents and siblings of soldiers killed in Iraq. Who am I to look for a visceral reason for protest? If I intellectually empathize with these mourning relatives who are out there trying to change things, than no matter how awkward or immediately unmoved I feel about protesting, I should still count myself part of their crowd. Looking at the peaceful but meaningfully overwhelming mob illustrated the importance of just being a number - an unexceptional component of a righteously guided mass.


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