Rights of Spring: Notes From a Quickly Forgotten March:
It's easy to be cynical about Saturday's March for Peace in New York City, quickly trampled in media memory by the Clooney-rific Darfur rally in DC on Sunday and today's "Muffy, Where's the Lawn Boy?" immigrant rights protests. But the Rude Pundit went out in the frighteningly gorgeous weather on Saturday, joining three hot female singers and an out and proud lesbian friend who strangely, disturbingly, and perhaps ironically, doesn't like the word "juice." It's easy to be cynical for we had such a grand time, hiking with 300,000 people down the narrow canyons of lower Broadway, that the Rude Pundit commented to Hot Singer Addie, "Man, isn't it great that soldiers are dying in Iraq so that we could have so much fun?" When we jumped out of the march to grab a bite at that well-known liberal chain, McDonald's, the Rude Pundit said we should start a chant of "No justice, no peace / Big Macs are good to eat."

As the "Juice"-Hating Lesbian, who also has a problem with the word "smoothie," noted, the march seemed much less angry than the protests in August 2004, when we all marched against the RNC Convention. The Rude Pundit said he felt it was more "festive," which, he discovered, was the last of the three words the "Juice"-Hating Lesbian hated. But, indeed, it was, if for no other reason than the preponderance of puppets and musicians. Everywhere you goddamn looked there was a goddamn puppet, some cool - like the dragon-like spine representing the backbone the Democratic Party needs to get - but most just strange and shrugworthy. The music, including the marching band called the Rude Mechanicals, was jazzy and, well, shit, fun and, yeah, festive. The Rude Pundit walked along talking politics, as well as the inviting comfort of Gap underwear with Hot Singer Andi.

It's so damn easy to be cynical, especially when Hot Singer Kiara said she didn't know who Donald Rumsfeld was, which caused the Rude Pundit to slap her in her head with a Communist newspaper that had been handed to him. Or over the fringe groups, which always show up at these things, tricking idiots into getting information about Lyndon LaRouche or signing up for spam and listservs that'll get you involved in idiot discussions about one idiotic conspiracy theory or another. Or the end of the march. Fuck, the end of the march.

After marching for a couple of hours, fortified with Quarter Pounders, we got to Foley Square, ready for some big ass rallying and . . . nothing. Fucking nothing. A bunch of tables handing out more information that people with stacks o' flyers had been giving us all through the march. No speakers, no rally, just the chance to wander around the "Festival of Peace and Justice," which had all the charm of college club day on the quad. When the twee folkie guy started strumming his guitar and whining into a shitty mike and amp on the green, the Rude Pundit wanted beer so he could beat the skinny bastard down with the bottle. It was a huge, stupid mistake to bring a crowd together only to tell its members, "Okay, you're on your own." As a WCBS reporter commented, without irony, "It's very peaceful here today."

So, yeah, shit, it'd be easy to be cynical about the day of the quickly forgotten peace march. Except for a couple of things.

Except for the 60-year old man handing out buttons that read, "Impeach Bush." His daughter said that he'd bought 20,000 buttons to give out for free at the march. When the Rude Pundit tried to hand the man five bucks for the cost of his effort, the man declined. His daughter said, "He just wants to do this. He doesn't want any money."

Except for Hot Singer Kiara, who at one point in the march said that she was learning so much on this, her first march, now, in her mid-20s, who said she represented so many young women she knows who simply separate themselves from politics, who said that most women would have simply nodded and not asked who Donald Rumsfeld was, who said she wanted to take what she was learning, and what she had recently learned (like about the evil of Fox "News"), and turn other young women, especially, onto the need for activism. She was taking it all in, all the different causes people were marching against, whether it was the war, the Katrina response, or the general fucktardedness of the nation at this point in our history, and, holy shit, the streets are filled with people.

Except for the old man the Rude Pundit met on the steps of the subway, carrying a sign, hobbling painfully down, alone. He wore a pin that read, "Veterans Against the Iraq War." The Rude Pundit asked him if it was worth it, the day, the march, the pain he was obviously suffering. He looked at the Rude Pundit and said yes, it was: "I was just happy to know I wasn't alone. I was happy to find out that other people feel the things I'm feeling and think the things I'm thinking."

"No, " the Rude Pundit said. "You're actually part of the majority."

Note: Here's the web pages of the hot female singers. Go for the hotness. Stay for the songs:
Addie Brownlee
Andi Rae Healy
Kiara Duran