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The people we were counter-protesting didn’t even show up…

July 4, 2007, 10:14 PM

Today, this Fourth of July, I went down to the National Mall and once again stood up for a cause with my regular protest buddies. This time, we were staging a counter-protest, rather than being the main demonstration. The event we would be counter-protesting was a Nazi rally planned for the Washington Monument. We would be counter-protesting them from the area around the World War II Memorial. The idea was to tell those people that racism is not welcome in DC. Our counter-rally was advertised on DC Indymedia here and here.

We showed up, and what do you know – they didn’t. And just as well. I think a friend of mine and I weren’t the only ones with visions of The Blues Brothers dancing in our heads, where Jake and Elwood ran the Illinois Nazis off a bridge and into a river.

Also, here’s something you don’t see every day – DC’s anarchist crowd showing up to a protest and doing it “straight”, as I call it – no masks, no black bloc.

We waited for them, and they never showed. So all of us (me, Jeff, Luke, Maddy, Olga, and a few others) ultimately went up to the north side of the White House, in Lafayette Park, where it was our understanding that the Nazis would be marching – just to make sure they didn’t pull any fast ones. They really didn’t show. There, we ran into Isis, and we all parked under some trees between a pro-pagan rally and a pro-cannabis rally. We spent a long time talking about so many things – some political, some not. The running joke of the day? Substituting “Smurf” for various words like the Smurfs used to do. Of course, the Saturday Night Life parody of the Smurfs made “Smurf” into something naughty, when Smurfette said, “Oh, Hefty, you big manly smurf, I want you to smurf me! Smurf me right now!”

After a while, we decided to leave Lafayette Park, in search of food. So we started wandering north up 16th Street. The place we chose to eat came from my suggestion – what about Skewers on P Street? We ended up having lunch at Cafe Luna, which is Skewers’s lunch-style restaurant, and still a sit-down operation. Compare to Skewers proper, which is a little bit more involved of an affair. I had a tuna melt sandwich on whole wheat bread. That hit the spot.

It’s funny… I figured that on a day off from work, I’d stay clear of Dupont Circle. *BZZZ* nope, I don’t think so. Skewers is right across the street from my building, and afterwards, we walked the same four blocks together that I walk to and from work every day.

At Dupont Circle, I bid everyone farewell for the day, and it was railfanning time! Interestingly enough, despite Metro’s now regularly sending the Yellow Line to Fort Totten during off-peak, weekends, and holidays, they decided to turn Yellow Line trains at Mt. Vernon Square. In other words, the service pattern was the same as previous Fourth of Julys. I still had fun, though, watching the man in the safety vest with the bullhorn at Rosslyn calling out trains on the upper level, and riding the different lines to the “wrong” destinations. I also rode my first Orange Line train in nearly two months. Where I live and where I usually go, I normally have no use for the Orange Line, since Blue, Green, and Yellow cover things adequately when I stray from the Red Line.

And in what seems to be turning into a DC July 4 tradition, the National Mall was evacuated due to severe weather. And it happened at roughly the same time of day as last year, too. It cleared up in time for the fireworks, though.

And so that was my Fourth of July! I’ll post pictures and such later. I got a pretty decent take from today with Big Mavica. Funny, though – considering all the railfanning I did, today kind of felt like a “DC trip” like the ones I used to take. Except of course the fact that leaving the Metro involved a three-minute drive rather than a three-hour drive…

Web site: July 4 service from last year, on The Schumin Web Transit Center

Song: Forever Young from the second Care Bears movie

Quote: And one more thing - unlike the last time I went out with my protest buddies, this time I got a conventional sunburn. Last time, on June 10, I got the kind of sunburn that you can only get in a black bloc - the kind where it abruptly stops at the cheekbones. This time, the sunburn looks far more natural, as it went about halfway down my face, beyond my nose.

Categories: Activism, July 4, WMATA