It was not a particularly nice day for the protest, and I had actually made an earlier aborted attempt...
...to go to the event given the forecast. But I eventually determined it was going to be one of those days where it spit-drizzles on and off, so I reconsidered.
It's not that I particularly wanted to spend my afternoon being yelled at by angry, unhappy women. If I wanted to do that, I could just put on my "Don't Tread on Me" T-shirt and walk to the local Whole Foods.
The problem is that I can't trust the media to tell me what happened. In fact, as I was walking to the Metro, I checked the local news radio site and came across this piece:
That didn't sound right to me. A "GOP-led filibuster" suggests that a small group of conservatives were blocking the majority from fulfilling the promise of democracy, at least that's how we are constantly lectured to by our betters.
But that's not what happened. Yes, the vote was to advance the bill, and would have required 60 votes to do so, but this is pure deception.
A majority of the Senate blocked it.
For now, his party's slim majority proved unable to overcome the filibuster led by Republicans, who have been working for decades to install conservative Supreme Court justices and end Roe v. Wade. The vote was 51-49 against proceeding, with 60 votes needed to move ahead.
Yes, the "party's slim majority" couldn't overcome the majority.
And yet later in the piece, they continued to lean into this dishonest narrative.
Wednesday's failure renewed calls to change Senate rules to do away with the high-bar filibuster threshold, at least on this issue.
They could do that.
Then they'd have to do away with democracy to get past majority opposition.
Then again, maybe that is their goal.
So off I went to see the protest myself.
Of course, no trip on the Washington Metro would be complete without your own personal crazy person.
I should note this guy was very polite, had asked a couple if he could sit there and they obliged. He obviously needs help and is not getting it. That is as much the tragedy as is the dangers and inconveniences of having crazy people frequent the Metro. It's not okay for anybody.
I got off at L'Enfant plaza. That placed me about a 25-minute walk from the Supreme Court building, which is right behind the Capitol building (the Senate chamber to be precise) to the East. I was running late and figured I'd missed the March and so wanted to go straight to where they were marching to.
As I passed the Capitol it was nice to see the high fences gone, replaced with barriers that seemed more intent on keeping people off the grass than stopping an "insurrection."
These barriers were much closer to the Capitol as well, so you had some nice site lines you can enjoy. (This is from the back corner.)
It is truly a majestic building, and for all our troubles, and for how truly awful our leadership is, it stands as a monument to an ideal.
It's important we not forget that.
I reached the periphery of the protest just behind the Capitol.
Here you can see where I was standing, facing north, or "up" in the picture.
As it turned out, the full March hadn't arrived yet, but police had the street cleared for when it came through, allowing protesters a relatively thin strip of sidewalk (and what room there was beyond that) while maintaining a half-lane corridor in the street available for people to pass through.
As you got closer in, it got pretty crowded.
Language warning on this video, primarily for one sign. There were a fair number of those, but you always get that at these things.
You have to love a baby at an abortion rally.
I'd say "pro-choice" rally, but...
I can intellectually understand the pro-choice argument, I don't understand how you could be "pro-abortion."
I guess they've abandoned any pretext of "safe, legal, and rare."
As for the guy with the baby, keep in mind that Washington is a real city, plus a huge tourist destination, so you routinely get people wandering through passionate demonstrations (of which there are many most every weekend) who have nothing to do with it.
I waded into the bulk of the crowd, which at this point numbered in the hundreds.
"Abortion is healthcare."
Except for the baby.
There was the classic coat hanger, of course.
"Let's talk about the elephant in the womb."
Okay, that's actually pretty funny.
Ready for some unintelligible chanting? Of course you are.
At that point I was towards the northeast corner of the Capitol, recording facing the Supreme Court and panning to the south (or down).
Note the fencing in front of the Supreme Court building. It's the same fencing they had around the Capitol. Where do they store these things?
Some more chants:
"What do we want? Choice! When do we want it? Always!"
I wonder if by "always," they mean, "from now until forever," or choice right up to the point of birth, because that is becoming an increasingly important topic and separates the more moderate Americans from the genuine radicals. Very few people consider termination in the ninth month to be anything other than infanticide.
"Abortion is healthcare."
Except for the... right we covered that already. It was a common theme.
When I was first walking up to the demonstration, I thought, "this looks less like a rally and more like a drum circle."
As I was leaving, cue the the drum girl.
In case you were wondering why so many signs were facing away from the Supreme Court, first no one was in the Supreme Court building, and second, they were facing the media behind the demonstrators.
I did not see a ton of media there, but they were present.
I left before the main March arrived to walk down the street but found it as it marched east on Constitution. It's hard to see from where I was standing, but if you look carefully as I pan from west to east, you'll see a substantial amount of people.
To orient you, I was facing north (up) and panning left to right. Again, the march was on Constitution. The Supreme Court building is to the east of the Capitol (right) and out of frame here.
I shot this video at that corner. It starts with the Capitol (Senate chamber) in the background.
I got closer and got a shot looking east up Constitution.
I would say that "in the thousands" would be a fair estimate of crowd size. The 17,000 they expected? Probably not. But it was not a small number of people.
All the media coverage I've come across focused on the march, so that's likely the video you'll be seeing, tight shots of people marching past the Supreme Court building.
I found the whole thing depressing, and not even for the issue at hand. It's like you never even get to the issue these days. It's just people screaming slogans.
The central element of abortion revolves around whether or not you believe a baby in the womb has any rights, and if so, which rights, and when they accrue. That's an interesting intellectual conversation that I've had with myself and others. It's an honest conversation, one that could even be productive and win people over to your side, and yet one that rarely happens anymore.
As I was leaving to head home I noticed the front side of the Capitol was being set up for something and people were practicing speeches and testing the sound system. I caught a little piece, something having to do with Police Week, I guessed.
In a slightly better mood, I made my way back home.
One final note, not something I usually think of, but given how obsessive the left is about race and how much it relishes pointing out how very white Trump rallies were, I feel obligated to point out that this was a very white event. Media outlets will cherry pick their coverage (the Washington Post did exactly this) to create the illusion of racial diversity, but despite having the imprimatur of the local BLM chapter, this was as white as NBC Universal's "leadership team."
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