Taking it to the streets.
Well as I told you I would I went downtown to the rally in Northampton last night opposing the anti-panhandling laws and against the new permits now needed to play music on the street. At the bus stop at UMass I came upon this student who was also enroute to the demonstration.
When I got to City Hall a crowd had already formed.
Many were carrying handmade signs.
A reocurring theme was outrage over the Wall Street bailout.
Why do foolish bankers and investers get multi-billion dollar bailouts while people begging in the streets get laws passed against them?
One of those attending was my friend the writer, photographer and radio personality Mary Serreze.
Before the march began blogger and community organizer David Beyer directed the protesters as to what to do.
However, the goals were pretty self-evident:
To play music without a permit....
and to illegally beg for coins....
while in general trying to raise a ruckus. As I was talking to my friend about the cruelty of targeting people begging for spare change, a guy nearby with a grizzled beard who was nursing a bottle of Night Train interjected that the right word was "spange" - a contraction of the words spare and change. I apologized to the gentleman for not being familiar with the technical terms of the trade.
Here is a video I made of the protesters leaving the steps of City Hall.
It was fun marching through downtown, not just for us protesters but for the onlookers who came flocking out of the bars and stores to see what all the uproar was about. Here a storekeeper who was having supper brings her meal outside to eat as she watches us go by.
We went down one side of Main Street all the way to the railroad trestle and then back up the other side, sometimes zig-zagging across the street at various crosswalks.
Here's a video of us crossing the street by Thornes.
Finally we ended up back at City Hall, where we stood chanting outside as the Mayor and other officials arrived for a City Council meeting.
Nothing happened at the Council meeting as the result of the rally, but rest assurred we will return again to fight for free speech, free music, free spange and the American Way!
Speaking of the American Way in past years I always voted my heart, no matter what my head told me the pragmatic choice should be. This year if I had done so I would have supported Ron Paul, the libertarian congressman from Texas because I believe he was more right on more issues than any other candidate. However, I didn't support him for two reasons:
1. He advocated a quick and virtually unconditional withdrawal from Iraq, a policy I believe would have had disasterous consequences.
2. I didn't think he had a prayer of winning.
Yet in the past I have often supported candidates at all levels who were without any chance of winning, and I have always disapproved of people who chose their candidate on the basis of only one issue. However, I was so alarmed by the prospect of a President Obama or a President Hillary that I backed Senator John McCain because he seemed the most electable.
That has proven to be a mistake on my part. I no longer believe that McCain can win, and I'm not sure I care very much if I'm proven wrong. His campaign has simply reinforced all his negatives and diminished all that I hoped would be positive about him.
I promise never again to make the mistake of forgetting that in the long run the most idealistic course of action is always the most practical. Better to go after what you want and not obtain it, than to support what you don't want and get it. Once upon a time I knew that, and I won't forget it again.
I was reminded of what I foolishly rejected when I heard Rep. Paul say this on CNN today:
Former Republican presidential hopeful and Republican congressman Ron Paul says when it comes to the bailout; John McCain and Barack Obama are virtually interchangeable. And both are wrong.
Speaking on CNN this morning, Paul said both presidential candidates voted for what he said will long term be a disaster for the economy.
“In time we’re all going to suffer and pay for this," said Paul, R-Texas. “You’re asking the poor people to bail out the rich. Economically it’s a disaster. It’s like a drug addict taking a strong fix. It feels better for a day or two but believe me we’re going to kill the patient."
Remember Austin St. John, the guy that played the Red Ranger on the popular kid action show Power Rangers?
Rumors are rampant online that he's resurfaced in gay porn. Is this him?
Only his true fans know for sure.
Pumpkins appeared on the windowsills this morning above the Old Book Store in Hamp.