WASHINGTON, D.C. – As Democracy Spring gives way to Democracy Awakening today, Climate Change was the issue du jour at the Capitol.
It was by far the largest crowd of protesters I have seen this week at the Democracy Spring sit-ins. It was also the most “fired up” crowd I’ve seen. Those not wishing to risk arrest were far more into the protest than others earlier in the week. And, of course, they had a couple of “special guests” in attendance. Mr. Polar Bear and Ms. Bumble Bee came to bring awareness to the dire straits their species are in.
Mr. Polar Bear says that “Dirty Money Funds My Extinction” and was all too happy to pose for pictures with tourists that were curious about the protests. He was not in favor of being asked about scientific studies that have revealed the Polar Bear population is increasing. Nope, he just wanted to make sure that America doesn’t drill for oil anywhere near his habitat.
Ms. Bumble Bee was busy as a bee buzzing in and out of the crowd. She couldn’t be bothered to stop long enough to have a conversation with anyone.
As usual when the Capitol Police asked protesters on the steps to leave and they refused, arrests were made. All of the protesters went quietly and happily with each officer. They stood together waiting to have their information taken down before being put into paddy wagons and carted off to the station for processing. It appeared to be a little more than 100 protesters on the steps and those protesters made sure to leave their water bottles and signage behind when they were escorted off the steps. You would think that protesting man-made climate change and asking for “Climate Justice” would mean that they would make sure they took their man-made garbage with them.
Those not on the steps and being arrested gleefully cheered and applauded each person or group of persons taken off the steps. Between those arrests the bullhorns kept the group chanting various things like “Free Fair Elections Right Now”, “This Is What Democracy Looks Like”, “Money Ain’t Free Speech. Corporations Ain’t People” and “Climate Justice We Demand”. When they weren’t chanting, various people would take over the bullhorn and begin singing.
Curious tourists stopped to take selfies with the protesters behind them, or ask what the protest was all about. Most of the curious quickly moved on to continue their time in D.C., some eagerly went to join the group not risking arrest, and others just rolled their eyes and made comments about “getting a job” or “nothing in life is free”.
Democracy Spring has sprung and is now over. But Democracy Awakening with begin with a march around the Capitol on Sunday, and then a sit-in or lobbying event on Monday. The question is, will the protesters Sunday and Monday understand the issues they are protesting and lobbying for any better than the Democracy Spring folks? I guess we’ll find out.