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Antiwar COS -report from the front line

COLO. SPRINGS- Well, that wasn't so hard. Our message was warmly received by soldiers who shook our hand in the staging area, and afterward we were thanked by others for what we are trying to do. Antagonism came from the crowd, but not as fiercely as we'd braced ourselves for. Eight years of horror has taken the edge off the "these colors don't run" mentality. Hence the military imperative for parades like these. Our antiwar presence was all the more important to show the soldiers that some at home are fighting to rescue them. The rest of the attendees were giving them a "welcome home" as they did in 2004, and will keep doing only to redeploy them. The soldiers need to see more real support: a determination to stop these wars. Compatriots of ours were circulating along the sidewalk with this flier: We ask that you consider the costs of war as you take part in this celebration. War kills people. War hurts people. War kills animals. War destroys things. War devastates the environment. This parade is a propaganda exercise promoted by those who profit from war. The money spent on war could go to making friends instead of enemies. Many of us are mourning today not celebrating. Note the "American Furniture Warehouse" is the most prominent part of that "thank you" handout. This woman was trying to drown us out with cat whistles, until I took her picture. More of our HEALTH CARE NOT WARFARE contingent stood further south on the corner, just out of frame. Also not pictured: LET'S NOT WORSHIP WAR, and U.S. OUT OF AFGHANISTAN, and my banner backdrops WAR NO MORE and PEACE NOW. A young group made threats and tried to crowd us out, until the police intervened. We were most appreciative of the officers' prompt interventions, although one officer's method was hardly comforting. He told one young lady, in a voice for us to overhear: "I know. If it were my choice I'd rip them from the sidewalk, but they have a right to be here." We took that more as an expression of sympathy than an attempt to intimidate us. Five officers all told, protected us, from leaping unto the parade route.

Are you in any of the parade pictures?

COLORADO SPRINGS- The Coloradans For Peace parade entry got good coverage this year, from KRDO13, FOX21, and the GAZETTE, which reported the full text of our banner. Reporter Lance Benzel interviewed a number of us, and I was hoping to see one of the responses he was tickled to get from Devon, aged 11. Asked whether she was fazed by sporadic negative responses, she replied "No. They're just uninformed." Devon, by the way, wasn't going to participate in the parade, owing to the events she witnessed two years ago when marchers were brutalized by the police. But the responsibility of taking pictures got the better of her, so she accompanied the large banner, sometimes running out ahead for artistic license. Back to my question. No doubt too many of you notice that there are no photographs of you in the St Patrick's Day Parade. We were a little short-handed, so perhaps if you have pictures of your own, please do share. Although the action went without a hitch, we definitely could have used extra marchers for the flag waiving and the kazoos. Rita had plenty more shamrock shaped placards, some which honored Elizabeth Fineron, others which warned of the Intelligence Fusion Centers which are begining to dominate domestic law enforcement in the name of Homeland Security. No really, where were you on Saturday? Maybe you see plentiful options for speaking out against war. If marching with a banner reminding thousands that OCCUPATION IS A CRIME seems too confrontational to you, perhaps you favor doing something else. And what is it? Because I wasn't aware that doing nothing is an option for activists. Are you against the wars and occupations a little bit? More than a little bit? A lot? Are you for peace, a little bit, or a lot? Between doing something, and doing nothing, which best describes your effort? By not supporting the local peace efforts, whatever they are, you are certainly giving silent consent to the war parties. And by sabotaging local peace efforts you are without a doubt supporting the war. What cowards you've become. Self-censoring cowards.

St Patricks Day Parade photos

COLORADO SPRINGS- Peace contingent in St Patrick's Day parade. (Click on images to see larger crop.) Devon decorates last minute stand-in for the Bookmobile. Assembling at staging area, last position. Dancers, as MaryLynn and Dave look on. Layla and Andy Kat, Debbie and Lily Sarah, Dave and Jake on Kazoo. Friend of Ryan and Ryan. Amanda. Distributing the flags Mike looks back as we take off. With motorcycle escort. Eric and Devon. Video grab from Mike Coletta. Lead banner. All subsequent photos by Devon. Dancers Tony leads drumming Drummers Drummers Pattie (three screen grabs from Loring's video) Layla and Andy Looking down parade route Amanda Cheers Eric waves Iraq flag Amanda rides ahead Behind Amanda, are Jonathan, Rita, Loring and Marie. More peace contingent two blocks back. Jonathan, tricked out bike, and Don't Tread On Me. Flags of occupied lands. Reflection in Plaza of the Rockies. At disbanding point, this police officer suddenly begins shouting MOVE MOVE MOVE! Patty triumphant.

Unsustainably powered lights on parade

COLORADO SPRINGS- There used to be a float in the PARADE OF LIGHTS which set an example for energy conservation. The lights were generator-driven and the admittedly un-flashy vehicle moved along entirely under pedal power. Did it look out of place between the commercial affairs shellacked in Christmas light?

Hooters in time honored fashion

COLORADO SPRINGS- At the Ritz Bar and Grill on Tejon St. downtown, waitresses have to bend over the counter to convey drink orders to the bartenders. There's a raised platform to assist them in their short skirts. If the show outside is too tame for you. I remember learning in high school that all the roles in Shakespeare's plays, even the female characters, were portrayed by male actors. We were left to assume that women in Elizabethan England were not permitted on stage for the usual discriminatory reasons. But that was a simplification, which obscured the origins of sexism like the Burqa. In Old England it was not that their gender was not talented enough, nor, directly, that women's power challenged the men. Elizabethan rulers deemed it imprudent to let women advertise their wares on public stages. Women who were not at home with families, serving the domestic sex trade let's say, were free-agent professionals. Inn keepers and barmaids had job descriptions not far removed from prostitutes, and a stage gave them too much marketing visibility. No doubt, obviously power. I suppose sex also threatened to obscure the art of the theater. A favorite author once wrote he could only aspire to create a poem as immediately compelling as a pornographic photograph. A friend of mine used to work at the Ritz, and assured me the skirt length was voluntary. Likewise the bar step at the center of everyone's attention. Both great for tips she said.

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