28 April 2014

This is the news report you did NOT see last night on CNN, FOX, NBC, CBS, or hear on NPR or read in the NY Times, Washington Post, LA Times, Columbus Dispatch, The Raleigh News and Observer or the Asheville Citizen-Times.



On Wednesday, January 5th I made a last minute decision to ride with three friends, Michael, Patty, and Sonnie, from the Asheville NC area to Washington DC to participate in a protest march the following day at the Capitol to coincide with the certification of the Electoral College vote by a joint session of Congress.  I can't logically explain what compelled me in this direction except that there is a powerful inner force, similar in nature, I'm sure, to what made thousands drive to Devils Tower, Wyoming in "Close Encounters of the Third Kind."  I had to go.



We drove all night and arrived at Alexandria Virginia at about 7:30 in the morning where we parked Michael's truck, checked our backpacks into a motel room and had just enough time to eat a quick breakfast, create a few hand-held signs from poster board and permanent markers, then catch the metro into downtown for the first leg of protest at the FBI building.  There was no sleep involved.



On the train people looked curiously at the signs we were carrying. Most were apparently unaware that history was being made on this day and appeared puzzled, perhaps annoyed, not that they were necessarily opposed to what we were doing, but that their perception of reality was being tweaked a little bit. Wasn't the election over? What's this about? The American public is clueless.



We entered the city from the Metro onto Pennsylvania Avenue where the grandstands had already been placed along the street for the anticipated inauguration on January 20.  This struck me as rather presumptuous, given the fact that the Electoral College vote had not been certified yet,  like building the gallows before the jury comes back with the verdict. At about 9 AM there was just a handful of people in front of the FBI building holding a large banner that read "FBI: INVESTIGATE THE ELECTION".  This group mainly consisted of people from the New York City area.  We joined them with our orange signs reading, "RECOUNT, RE-VOTE or REVOLT", "REJECT THE ELECTION FRAUD" and such.  More people began to arrive.  Morning traffic was light on Pennsylvania Avenue.  There was some curiousity, but not much reaction. We were not discouraged. Toward 10 AM we began to migrate as a group of about 25-30 people toward Lafayette Park next to the White House, where a rally had been scheduled by the Greens, Libertarians and Progressive Democrats. 



There we found about five hundred people of a most diversified nature milling around, setting up a speakers platform, handing out literature, preparing for events to follow.  Police stood around the periphery of the park, unthreateningly, but their presence was noticeable. There were people from all over the country who travelled all night to be there (as if to Devil's Tower), people of color, well, we were all people of color. The crowd grew steadily as the migration continued from all directions.  Speakers began to speak...inspiringly.  Green Party candidate David Cobb, US Representative Maxine Waters, Hip-Hop poets-amazingly eloquent, coherent in-sync lyrics that captured the moment with uncanny accuracy and set the tone and rythm of the event, the profound series of events that were to take place in the next few hours.  Then Jesse Jackson was introduced and spoke.  It was Selma Alabama again. It was the march on Washington. The spirits of Goodman, Schwerner and Cheney, Medgar Evers, Martin Luther King were invoked and became part of us.  And then Jackson announced that he had some very good news.  Senator Barbara Boxer of California informed him that she as well as five other senators would stand with the members of the House in objecting to certification of the Ohio slate of Electors forcing the joint session of Congress to Constitutionally disband, for only the second time since 1867, to separately debate the legitamacy of a state's election process.  The shameful and painful scene, in 2000, of Black Caucus members pleading for help from at least one senator to force debate over voter disenfranchisement would not be repeated. A huge cheer, a cry of joy reverberated through the streets of the nation's Capitol. Undoubtedly the occupants of the White House had to perk up their ears at that moment and wonder what was going on outside.



The spell had been broken.  Bush would not ascend to his second term in office without at least some measure of irregularity questioning the legitimacy of the process.  The emporer's new clothes would receive some public exposure, if only for a brief moment.  But, that moment may become a reference point in history that will mark the beginning of the second American Revolution. 



As Jesse Jackson ended his time at the podium, the crowd, now exceeding a thousand people, began to form into a moving mass of humanity as the march toward the capitol materialized.  Led by Jackson, followed by a huge, fifteen-foot cardboard puppet hoisted into the air, accompanied by a corps of drummers and then the masses, we proceeded down Pennsylvania Avenue, without a permit.  Police informed us that we had to remain on the sidewalk and not block traffic.  But, the crowd could not be contained on the sidewalk and spilled out, blocking one lane of traffic entirely.  The police seemed respectful and did not interfere as the steady, dramatic drumbeat became accompanied by the repetitive chant, "COUNT-ALL-THE VOTES, COUNT-ALL-THE VOTES, COUNT-ALL-THE VOTES, COUNT-ALL-THE VOTES, oh yes sir, COUNT-ALL-THE VOTES, I hear you, COUNT-ALL-THE VOTES, for the children, COUNT-ALL-THE VOTES, what's that now?, COUNT-ALL-THE VOTES,"  rocking the streets, reverberating through the city, a thousand voices and loud, perfect drum beats in perfect unison.  Office building windows became lined with people looking to see what was happening down there on the street.  Crowds began to accumulate on the street on the periphery of the march.  Cars honked their horns in solidarity with the signs, banners, chanting and drumbeat.   The chant changed to, "THIS-IS-WHAT DEMOCRACY-LOOKS LIKE",  "THIS-IS-WHAT-DEMOCRACY-LOOKS LIKE", "THIS-IS-WHAT-DEMOCRACY-LOOKS LIKE".  We were a thousand Hip-Hop artists marching. We were King and Goodman, Shwerner and Cheney and Medgar Evers in Hip-Hop, dancing and marching.  Solemn yet joyous. Profound beyond the description of words. The sight and sounds brought enlightened smiles to the faces of those who witnessed it from their buildings and on the sidewalks, as if the welcome realization had reached them, "Ah, there still is hope.  Democracy does still reside in the streets of America, after all. I had thought it had died." The march was a half-hour of perfect synchronicity.  With each step of progress toward the Capitol Building it seemed as if we were turning the grey, lonely cityscape back into a place where the full spectrum of light and color once more resides.  The thousands who witnessed the event understood, now, for the first time, that this election was being challenged.  It was not business as usual.  There is an organized effort to resist the illegal takeover of our government.  It is growing.



As the march progressed and came to within a block of the Capitol building, we were met by mounted police who herded us around to the park on the northeast corner.  We would remain there all day in a rally that lasted until about 5 PM.  Here there were more speakers and some musical artists who performed. Also we were regularly informed of news reported from the proceedings in Congress.  When it was reported that Representative Stephanie Tubbs Jones of Ohio officially submitted her written objection to the certification of the Ohio electors and was joined by Senator Boxer forcing a halt to the proceedings of the Joint Congressional session, a huge, amplified cheer arose.  The Republican leadership was furious.  Their perfect day of triumph had been spoiled by the "sore losers", as if the Presidential election were a college competition that requires good sportmanship once the victor manages to win by whatever means.  World shaping issues are rendered irrelevant and subserviant to the etiquette of knowing how to lose when out-maneuvered. Not defeated in a fair election, but out-maneuvered.  Thousands dead in Iraq, trillions of dollars of debt, "Clear Skies", "Healthy Forests", torture in prisons, flagrant continual violations of the Geneva Convention protocols, drilling in the Arctic Wildlife Refuge, reporters arrested for not revealing news sources, regressive tax reform. Sore losers. "Get over it," we are chastised by the self-righteous hoodlums in power.  What is not realized is that the mainstream news media blackout of the election challenge movement is a double-edged sword. If they had been able to witness the spirit, depth and commitment of today's march and rally on the evening news, the Republican leadership would have known that we will never "get over it." But, we will overcome it, overwhelm it and take back our country through demonstration, marching,  investigating, exposing, indicting, convicting, forcing resignation, and impeaching.



"The Revolution Will Not Be Televised...The Revolution Will Be Live", Gil Scott-Heron



By blacking out and over-controlling their own news media, the Republican leadership has cut itself off from the reality of what is happening out on the streets more than it has stemmed the growth of the election challenge movement.  This movement has developed alternative means of communicating and organizing vast networks for spreading the word quickly and efficiently without the help of the mainstream media.  These information networks are going to do nothing but grow and get better, rapidly.  If your only source of information was the evening news and the morning newspaper, you wouldn't even have known that there was an historic protest march and rally in Washington on Thursday, January 6, 2005.  But, you do know.  The Second American Revolution may not be televised, but that will not prevent it from happening.  Here are some pictures of Thursday's events. http://www.canarycoalition.org/050106.htm