Three weeks ago, on January 1, 2008, the White Rose Coalition (WRC), a diverse consortium of pro-peace/pro-impeachment patriots, challenged the simplistic Happy New Year message of the 119th Pasadena Rose Parade by penetrating the festivities and infusing it with critical issues of war, war criminals, and Constitutional accountability. Three to four hundred patriots brazenly appeared on the scene to infiltrate one of Southern California's most conservative communities for one of America's most conservative events. The WRC wore Revolutionary era clothing, displayed signs reading "Impeach Bush & Cheney," and held as prisoners bobbleheaded semblances of war criminals George Bush, Dick Cheney, Condoleeza Rice and Donald Rumsfeld, dressed in prison stripes with requisite balls and chains.
Needless to say, many on-site Rose Parade viewers were not thrilled with our presence. Crusty women, sporting over sprayed blue-hued bouffants, trailed by their emasculated spouses, and pissed off conservative moms, accompanied by roid-raging pummel-the soccer coach dads, cursed us all morning, lecturing on how ashamed we should be for challenging our President and disrespecting our nation. One "sophistocated" 70 year old woman, donning her golf duds and visor, grabbed an "Impeach Bush" banner out of the hands of CODEPINK co-founder, Jodie Evans, and smashed it as if it were Osama bin Laden himself. Jodie, unflappable as always, looked on in silent dignity, empowered by humanity, immune to the hate.
At the end of the Rose Parade, our coalition of 300 or so patriots marched proudly on to Pasadena City Hall, carrying a giant recreation of the Preamble to the Constitution, which we placed reverentially on the steps of the ornate building in tribute to our Founders' dream of a more perfect union. All in all, barring the recriminations of the purposeful ignoranti at the Rose Parade, the White Rose Coalition enjoyed a wonderful First Amendment New Years Day. http://www.flickr.com/photos/17165598@N04/2159764640/
Spurred on by our success at the Rose Parade, we decided to expand our First Amendment activities in Pasadena to include its next parade. And so, CODEPINK Women For Peace and the Los Angeles National Impeachment Center (LANIC), two of the WRC member organizations who infiltrated the Rose Parade on New Years Day, became proud participants in Pasadena's famed counter-culture Doo Dah Parade - the quintessential anti Rose Parade - anything goes day of free speech, free spirit, free expression, and the perfect touch of anarchy.
In lieu of the weeks of strategizing needed to break through the ranks of the Rose Parade to educate America, all the Doo Dah parade required was ten bucks for entry. By popping down ten dollars per entrant, CODEPINK and LANIC became legitimate parade participants - NOT parade crashers - but welcome members chosen to march up front with the Doo Dah Grand Marshall, the incomparable Reverend Billy.
This time, CODEPINK, and longtime political ally and street theatre cohort, Reverend Billy of the Church of Stop Shopping, used the visibility of the Doo Dah Parade to push CODEPINK's critical message of "DON'T BUY BUSH'S WAR." Out of CODEPINK's many strategies to combat the atrocities of the Bush regime, the tax revolt, which is a principal component of the "DON'T BUY BUSH'S WAR" campaign, is possibly CODEPINK's most courageous endeavor yet. (To read more about this valiant effort, please go to http://codepinkalert.org/section.php?id=189).
It would be an understatement to say that the crowd at the Doo Dah parade this past Sunday was more receptive to the humorous, but powerful images of peace, impeachment, defunding the war, and imprisoning war criminals Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Rice than were the stodgy Rose Parade attendees on New Years Day. Parade viewers cheered Grand Marshall Reverend Billy and his good natured, truth driven warnings to STOP SHOPPING and ward off the impending "SHOP-OCALYSE." The reception for LANIC's imprisoned war criminals Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Rice was impassioned and positive. We'd come a long way in just 3 weeks - from action bans to all out fans. It was a wonderful day for truth!
This is still January. The beginning of the New Year. The signs are becoming more hopeful for a better informed electorate and a nation that covets peace. With a mainstream corporate media intent on dumbing down America, it's the responsibility of pro-peace patriots to educate the nation in every venue everywhere. In Congressional committees, in electeds' offices, in union halls, in recruitment centers, in educational institutions, in corporate headquarters, in campaigns for candidates, in the streets, in living rooms, in coffee houses, and in voting booths with paper ballots, our voices must carry loudly to build an America that represents the interests of the PEOPLE and the interests of the PLANET - every way - everyWHERE.
Let's make 2008 be THE PEOPLE'S year for change. HOW 'BOUT STARTING BY CHANGING THE POLITICIANS?!
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Linda Milazzo was a Managing Editor of Opednews until Fall 2014, and a Los Angeles based writer, educator and activist. Since 1974, she has divided her time between the entertainment industry, government organizations, community development (more...)