So many heads, so few pikes.

Monday, March 17, 2003

I guess it's starting tomorrow.

I'm flying to New York tonight for a conference. Great fucking timing.

My main objection -- before things get started, so that I'm not accused of hindsight -- is priorities. Aren't there a few things on the collective national table more important than going after this guy? He's a criminal, a murderer, a villain of the highest order, but god damn, he's got a lot of competition. Al-Qaeda; North Korea; the utterly hosed national economy; trying to jab Israel and Palestine to a peaceful settlement of some kind -- and that's without even trying very hard. How about the money we promised the Afghanis? How about the ruthless military dictator with nukes in Pakistan? Why are we elevating IRAQ to a national priority?
Went -- crankily -- to the candlelight vigil last night, at the Quaker meeting house in Shadyside, in Pittsburgh. There were about 200 people there (I counted what appeared to be our half of the lawn, and there were 105 or so). I was cranky because I'd been watching the kids all weekend and had just about half a nerve left.

I don't have a lot of patience for the hippie protest culture. The signs, marching, drumbeating, tie-dye, guys who should have gotten a haircut 30 years ago, etc. I'm kind of a (small-c) conservative guy. I don't have any interest in joining a group like that, nor being associated with one. But that's not what we saw last night. Last night was 200 people, adults of all ages, dressed like grownups, silently holding candles in front of a church to make a point. It was solemn and respectable and fairly pleasant. There were kids also present (we brought Jimmy and Jack) and they behaved better than you might think.

There was a van from WTAE TV in Pittsburgh, and a cameraman taking footage, but there weren't interviews, he wasn't interrupting, he wasn't blaring a spot on anybody, which was good.

At the end of the hour all of the older folks started to sing an old quiet sort of protest song. We just shifted uncomfortably and backed up a little because clearly all the old hippies knew this song by heart and we had no idea what they were singing.

As we drove home we noticed several other vigils breaking up -- one across from the Presbyterian church at Forbes & Braddock, and one at the Unitarian Universalist church on Ellsworth in Shadyside.

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