"Ms. Sheehan, are you aware that you have a stay-away order from here?" The big, burly cop said to me as he crossed Pennsylvania Avenue to confront our small protest of intrepid peaceniks in Lafayette Park.
"Yes, and I am also aware that I am not violating it right now," I answered.
That "stay-away" order was imposed on myself and five other people after we were arrested in front of the White House on the 7th anniversary of Shock and Awe this past March. I was just wondering if any of the law enforcement on duty even knew that I had a stay-away order--we were there only for about 5 minutes before I got my answer.
This nation is supposed to have been founded 234 years ago today on the principles of freedom. My son was supposedly killed in Iraq defending those freedoms, but if I crossed the imaginary line of oppression and suppression on the sidewalk of Pennsylvania Avenue, I would have to go to jail for a mandatory sentence of six-months--and the police were fully aware of that fact. At one point, we had at least a half a dozen cops facing us and we only had about twice as many protesters.
This is a strange holiday anyway. We are supposed to honor the "founding" of a nation that was inhabited by millions of people at the time it was "discovered."
The theme for our protest today was "Declare Your Independence from Oil" day and we passed out fliers to the tourists outlining the problem of this country's addiction to petroleum and using our bullhorn to do chants like: "Drill, baby, drill; spill, baby, spill; kill, baby, kill." I realize that this is a "holiday" and most people were coming to Lafayette Park as tourists, but it's obvious that war, environmental devastation and economic oppression do not take holidays. People died today in the Middle East and Asia and millions of gallons of oil gushed out of the Oil-cano into the Gulf of Mexico as families clad in their Old Navy flag t-shirts started at us with anything from confusion to outright hostility.
It is really pathetic that even in the midst of a cataclysm of such an enormous magnitude, so many people seemed to be so unconcerned and apathetic. Many of us traveled thousands of miles to be here in DC to try and throw some light on the violence of this Empire and just a couple of dozen also showed up to be with us.