A group calling themselves "World Can't Wait" helped spearhead a spate of protests across the country yesterday evening, January 31st, during President Bush's State of the Union speech.
The San Francisco franchise was being held in Union Square...
...which is in the center of the downtown retail district.
I wasn't going to go, but I stumbled across an interview with Gore Vidal on the internet yesterday morning that provided a bit of motivation (click here to read the whole thing.)
"Now, we’ve had idiots as presidents before. Bush is not unique. But he's certainly the most active idiot that we have ever had.
And now here we are planning new wars, ongoing wars in the Middle East. And so as he comes with his State of the Union, which he is going to justify eavesdropping without judicial warrants on anybody in the United States that he wants to listen in on. This is what we call dictatorship. Dictatorship. Dictatorship. And it is time that we objected. Don't say wait ‘til the next election and do it through that. We can't trust the elections, thanks to Diebold and S&S and all the electronic devices which are being flogged across the country to make sure that elections can be so rigged that the villains will stay in power."
"I think demonstrations across the country could be very useful on this famous Tuesday. Just say no. We've had enough of you. Go home to Crawford. We'll help you raise the money for a library, and you won't even ever have to read a book. We're not cruel. We just want to get rid of you and let you be an ex-president with his own library, which you can fill up with friends of yours who can neither read nor write, but they'll be well served and well paid, we hope, by corporate America, which will love you forever.
So I think it is really up to us to give some resonance to the State of the Union, which will be largely babble. He's not going really try to do anything about Social Security, we read in the papers. He has no major moves, other than going on and on about the legality of his illegal warrantless eavesdroppings and other breakings of the law."
"You know, it’s at a time when people say, ‘Well, it makes no difference what we do, you know, if we march and we make speeches, and this and that.’ It makes a lot of difference if millions of Americans just say, “We are fed up! We don't like you. We don't like what you're doing to the country and what you have done to the country. We don't like to live in a lawless land, where the rule of law has just been bypassed and hacks are appointed to the federal bench, who will carry on and carry on and carry on all of the illegalities which are so desperately needed by our military-industrial corporate masters.”
I think a day dedicated to that and to just showing up here and there around the country will be a good thing to do. And so, let the powers that be know that back of them, there's something called "We the people of the United States,” and all sovereignty rests in us, not in the board rooms of the Republicans."
The huge police presence in the Union Square neighborhood was grotesque...
...with gangs of cops roaming through the St. Francis Hotel to make sure there were no protestors among the business travelers in the lobby...
...and others spying from the roofs of buildings (check out the guy on the top-left above Tiffany's).
I took the outdoor glass elevator up the Saint Francis Hotel Tower...
...just to see the extent of the crowd protesting, which was actually pretty pathetic.
The protest started well, at 5PM, with a band playing...
...and dozens of young people hanging plastic barrels around their neck to use as makeshift drums.
Unfortunately, the bad speeches preaching to the converted started, which will drive me away every time.
I heard that things got better when the Bush speech was put up on a large screen (silently) while everyone made a hell of a lot of noise, but watching Bush on television is a revolting experience.
It was nice seeing Kimo the WiFi Dude, though, looking like he was ready for the St. Patrick's Day Parade with all his green signage.