The forty-five people in the subway car averted there gaze as if I were out of order to speak of politics intruding on the public's privacy, which goaded me to add good-naturedly in a lowered voice, as I stepped out through the door, that we could all just selfishly focus on our personal affairs and let the killing continue.
As I was about to go our through the turnstile the British accented voice of a young man excused himself as he tapped my shoulder to ask what it was all about. When he realized who Cindy Sheehan was, he thanked me (I thought to myself, 'had to be a foreigner, who was interested, not a self-centered American).
I arrived at within earshot of the speakers platform just as Cindy was being introduced by the minister who had been emotionally revving up the sparse crowd of about 45 people in a high pitch for universal brotherhood. Cindy kindly kidded with the previous speaker about not being a minister, and got quickly to her opening of announcing that we are going to have to get to the point where we say enough, we have enough, that we be content with what we have, even give up a little, consume a little less, don't need to take even more and more of the world's resources, like we are doing taking over the oil in the Middle East - soon it will be about water resources she added. " With the 75 million a minute we are spending in Iraq, we could have health care available for everyone, free university education for anyone who wanted to go " (I thought to myself, 'like Iraqis enjoyed before the Gulf War.')
When she concluded on a positive note that we will somehow indeed have to change things and stepped down. I found it easy to slip by the ten or fifteen people in front of me and approach to Cindy's side, introduce myself as an activist journalist and of course fan of hers; she was gracious and so I put a print out of one of my OpEdNews articles in her hand and asked her if I could write to her. She said sure and gave me her e-mail address, before answering her cell phone.
I discreetly melted back ceding to the small group seeking her attention, still amazed that there were not the thousands of people I expected to come out for a world celebrity. Later I found myself, along with a Veterans for Peace organizer friend of mine providing part of the New York escort for Cindy and her "Impeach" shirted troop on their twenty-some odd block stroll to a restaurant at Lexington and 28th Street. As we were walking out the the park I noticed the young Englishman from the subway looking very professional as he took photos of the procession.
Cindy had seemed so appreciative and positive speaking to people who showed up at her Journey for Humanity rally, I did not feel comfortable asking why the promotion for her New York appearances had been so negligible. I had expected find thousands in Union Square Park, but thought, 'maybe Sunday will different.
Sunday, before I left for what was announced in the email from TroopsOutNow.com, (my sole source of information), as "Benefit: "Gathering of Hearts Fest." - Proceeds benefit Iraqi refugees & for medical supplies for Iraqi hospitals. Central Park East Meadow (97 St and Fifth Ave.), I googled "Cindy Sheehan in NYC" to see if word was getting around of her presence in New York.
The first five articles at the top of the google page were scurrilous attacks on Cindy's character and instructions how to hook up with the counter-demonstration planned by the pro-war organization, "Gathering of Eagles". Below these were out dated reports of the New York Police breaking up her rally in 2004.
After hanging out at the announced site for an a couple of hours a Code Pink group of ladies came along to say they were in contact with Cindy's group, who were now over on the West side of the park at 86th Street. Half-hour later we found Cindy's group of twenty odd members with another 30 souls, all under umbrellas, listening to a guitar and some speakers until Cindy spoke.
While Cindy was waiting to speak, I asked if she had caught the Democratic Debate in which candidate Mike Gravel had stated unequivocally that all had died in vain in Vietnam and now in Iraq as well, and how extraordinary that Anderson Cooper had carried forward asking both Obama and Clinton, "Did they die in vain?", twice to Obama, forcing him to admit that he thought anyone who served had not died in vain, (implied was no matter whether the war was just or not).
We had to strain to hear Cindy's compassionate upbeat call to work to end the death and destruction, as the counter-demonstration, separated off by police, managed quite a din of shouting and bell ringing under four huge American flags. At one point, Cindy mentioned that she was watching "Meet The Press" and wondering what this greatly highlighted squabble between Hillary and Obama had to do with anything at all, until she noticed that Boeing was a sponsor of the program. "The Military-Industrial Complex has a need to keep this war going for its profits!" Cindy encouraged us to keep on truckin', and we all drifted off in the rain.
What a CRUSHING COMMENTARY ON THE PROGRESSIVE COMMUNITY IN NEW YORK, that regardless of the paucity of promotion by Cindy's organization, itself taxed to the hilt with all the day to day physical punishment of being on the road for us, that the knowledge of Cindy's coming to the Big Apple DID NOT SPREAD LIKE WILDFIRE!
This author came away from this amazing city-wide display of either the disparate and self-isolated nature of New York's many groupings of progressives or a limpid disinterest, almost complicit with the that of the population at large, demonstrating an attitude of lassai faire quietude of consciousness regarding support for one of OUR FEW outstanding media covered celebrities dedicated to confronting the establishment and capable of furthering all of our best social qualities, albeit as members of the heartless conquering Superpower society.
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