Five Year Anniversary of Anti-War Protests in San Francisco

200803192158The March 20th 2003 protests in San Francisco occurred nearly five years ago.

I’m never more proud of my participation than I am today. .

Back then, Lisa Rein and I were collaboratively video blogging the protests. The real truth is that Lisa was video blogging and I was watching her back. She deserves nearly all of the credit for these videos.

Lisa wouldn’t have needed any protection if it wasn’t for the violent behavior of the SFPD.

They were the real problem. Otherwise, these would have been peaceful protests. They were violently dragging women across the sidewalk by only their hair. Cross checking people on bikes and on roller blades and slamming them into mailboxes. Charging into the crowd without warning and arresting people randomly.

At one point they even took half a dozen horses and stampeded them into a crowd of people – without warning. They nearly trampled a man to death. I’ll never forget the look on his face while he was fighting for his life under a fifteen hundred pound slab of horse and cop. The sound the horses made as they were forced to charge into a crowd of five hundred people is forever seared into my mind.

A week later, while having dinner with my friends, I tried to recount my story of protest. About half way through my explanation I broke down and couldn’t continue.

That’s never happened to me before… It took me about five minutes to recover.

I think something inside me died that year. To watch the country I love charge head first into such a devastating mistake while simultaneously being helpless to stop it was almost too much be bear.

I felt a bit like Cassandra from ancient Greek mythology. Gifted with the power of foresight but forever cursed by an inability to prevent future disaster.

Now, five years later, the dollar has slid 20% and the country is possibly entering a recession. More than four thousand Americans are dead with nearly 25k casualties. Anywhere from 20k-500k Iraqi’s have been killed based on US an UN projections. We’ve shredded our civil liberties under the false guise that we’re protecting our country and a Democratic congress seems helpless to prevent further damage.

There were follow up protests today in San Francisco. I wish I could have been there.

Well, just for the record, I was right. The war was wrong. The shredding of our constitution was wrong. There weren’t many of us. Back then, it was hard to stick your neck out and say that the Iraq war was a mistake.

… but there’s hope.

Update: Lisa reminded me of the most frightening clip which I’ve now posted to Youtube.

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