Sunday, October 30, 2016

When They Go Low, You Could Do The Limbo

We went to the bridge as usual on Sunday except that we were late. We were coming back from Portland a bit behind schedule and our granddaughter's mom wanted to drop the baby off with her other grandma before the bridge. Thank the goddess that we did. 

Here is what we looked like, just as if it were an ordinary Sunday. We had a new sign, one of support for the Standing Rock water protectors being viciously attacked by the National Guard and militarized police in North Dakota. But other than that, everything was as usual.

Except that when we got there we found this message:

And this one:

The man in the fringed jacket had been across the street with three youth when we got there, hollering at the guy with the sign supporting the demagogue with bad hair. And our usual bridge standing friends were nowhere in sight. I called some of them and they came to join us. 

The couple holding the signs for the demagogue kept jeering at us for being supporters of the other corporate party candidate. I tried to tell them they were jumping to conclusions (I'm voting for Dr. Jill Stein, personally) but that didn't seem to matter. They were chanting their candidate's name and loudly confrontational but they didn't seem mean or dangerous. They appeared to be delighted with themselves and excited about making a political statement in public. 

Then my sister arrived with a new sign she had just made to comment on theirs:

At this point we had so many messages going that anyone passing by mostly looked a little confused. A trio of youth who passed me included a black man who raised his fist and said "Yeah, black lives matter" to which his white female companion said irritably "All lives matter." They kept on walking so it is unknown how this difference of opinion was resolved.

The call and response theme continued:

A local doctor/college professor stopped by to complain that the Democratic Party offices next to the bridge were closed. I recalled that the demagogue's supporters had said that at first they thought we were from there, and that a few people had driven away from the office flipping them the bird before we arrived. 

The doctor did not stay to support us; maybe he did not agree with any of our many messages? Or maybe he was just scared.
A 4th of July play with great art by Wally Warren
The core group of us who stand on the bridge Sunday after Sunday used to do political theater together at the infamous West Athens 4th of July parade. "In Spite of Life" productions were characterized by a lot of chaotic milling around and a multitude of somewhat muddled messages that could, at times, be quite entertaining.

For the first time, the bridge felt like that today.

We've had counter protesters of our anti-war messages from time to time over the years, and they tend to be kind of zany. For example, "Honk if you think protesting is a waste of time" and a shouted "Jesus bombed Sodom and Gomorrah" in response to my now-retired "Who would Jesus bomb?"

One thing they have in common is that when the weekly bridge denizens depart around 1pm, counter protesters react with glee expressing that they think they've driven us off the bridge with their presence. Someone usually tells them we always leave at 1pm, but it doesn't seem to influence their belief that we have been vanquished.

As I drove away today, the demagogue's supporters were still hollering. But when I passed by about five minutes later on my way home, they were gone.

Will they be there next Sunday? Unknown, but I know I will be.

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