City of Roses
Hi Kacy, yay! (does happy dance) It's great to be here and you know on an important event such as this I'd never leave friends like you short-handed.
Coming off a week of baby-sitting for the son of my mom's best friend visiting from my former home-state of Colorado, I engaged deeply in the fevering frenzy of Kerry's final campaign stop of his "Believe In America" tour, which kicked off two weeks ago after accepting his presidental nomination at the Democratic National Convention.
Bush also stopped in at Terminal 6 of the Port of Portland, located up by the Smith and Bybee Lakes Wildlife area, just east of Kelley Point Park, west of the I-5 Bridge, where the Willamette joins the Columbia River, in an industrial park home of the primary auto handling terminal of the region. There, he would address the small business summit. Of course, that event wasn't open to the public so no point at shouting our dissent to him as he has continued to suppress the Bill of Rights and freedom of speech in America.
Later that day, he would also speak at Southridge High School in Beaverton, in an "Ask the President" event. I had no time to attend that, being at the Kerry rally.
I stepped in on the action at The Bowl at Waterfront Park, located at SW Columbia and SW Front Street right alongside the Willamette River, where Kerry made his landing. I got my ticket weeks prior to the event and made my way through the impressive crowd numbers just past 10 A.M, when the gates opened.
They say it's estimated as many as 40,000 attended his last stop of the 21-state tour. (giggles in amazement) That would be his biggest single turnout of the entire tour. Seriously, it felt like we were second only to San Francisco in attracting crowds like this, with Portland being a very liberal city I am proud to live in now.
Anyway, I had two prerogatives for attending the Kerry visit:
1) Support him (The message is simple. The regime change begins at home and removing Bush is the first step. We can resolve Kerry's issues later after he is elected. But right now we can't back down. he needs all the support we can get.)
2) Let our voices reach the podium (95% of Democratic delegates now oppose the Iraq war, and slightly less the Patriot Act. These concerns are not exactly being reflected on the podium. Plus it is a concern that Kerry said given what he knows now, he still would have voted for the war resolution even if he knew no WMDs were present. Being accustomed to his 1971 speech during the Winter Soldier Hearings where he blasted the Vietnam War, there are some contrasts to the Kerry then to the Kerry now, and it is our job to make sure he represents the majority and is committed in all his worth to end this war, etc. This is not exactly a protest, but rather demonstrative empathy.)
So after Kerry made his speech at around 1:30 PST, as I do every Friday evening, I headed down to North Pioneer Square at 5:00 for the weekly Portland Peaceful response Coalition Rally. As always we march through downtown Portland, where only being there for six weeks I have already become the junior speaker, being the youngest protester on board, and have already appeared on KBOO Free Speech Radio and KOIN-6 News.
Using a SPECO ER-340 and an Easy-Ready portable CD player, we played a burned copy of Kerry's 1971 speech during the Winter Soldier hearings, to help educate the public of John Kerry's past and to show that work is still to be done after removing Bush from office; to ensure that we wouldn't have to say, "How do you ask a man to be the last man to die in Iraq?" or wherever the war on terrorism may escalate.
Learning that Kerry was staying overnight at The Benson at SW Broadway and Oak Street in downtown Portland just north of Pioneer Square, we decided to head over there, blare Kerry's own speech again there and hope he's there and it comes back to him. No sign of him, unfortunately, nevertheless we got many friendly cheers from our local Portlandneers. We marched back and forth in front of the hotel, chanting our usual mantras like "Support our troops, bring them home" and "Bush lies, people die."
All in all, a wonderful day for Portland and for the campaign.
I'm about to kick off my "Elephant Ears and Crocodile Tears Tour" at the North Portland Library tomorrow at the Poetry Bash. It's a tour promoting my political voice through new poetry of mine throughout the Portland area.
Kacy, love to see you there if you can make time, yay!
"You'll find something that's enough to keep you
But if the bright lights don't receive you
You should turn yourself around and come back home" MB20