The quality of the video is the pits but you can get an idea of what the scene was like on ground outside the National Constitution Center for last night's debate. Every time I'm on the ground either at a candidate appearance or at a protest, I am reassured that the primary should go all the way to the Convention. It's insane to think that this giant exercise in Democracy is anything but great for the country.
The True Majority Iran Mobile fit right into the Peace and Justice
Circus. We were able to march around Independence Hall, which was a
terrific feeling - very much the opposite of what Thomas experienced
when he greeted impeachment activist, John Nirenberg, in D.C.
I was skeptical about the value of the circus theme because it leaves us so completely open to the usual criticisms, but the debate - with it's media circus - happened the same day that the Ringling Bros and Barnum and Baily circus came to Philly so the temptation was too great to resist. In order to appreciate how well the theme of circus fit in with the themes of Peace and Justice, you probably have to have heard Bob Smith of the Brandywine Peace Community and the lead organizer of the event, speak. He called us Jesters for Justice and reminded us that non-violent civil action with a sense of humor as well as a sense of purpose is never a bad thing. As for gravitas, anyone watching the circus parade learned more about current challenges facing the country than most of the people who watched the debate last night. We didn't mention Rev. Wright or Bosnia even once. So, you know, who were the clowns?
As for the campaigns, Clinton won the visibility challenge with about four times as many people standing opposite the debate site. I tried to get them to hold my signs ("Invest in [Clean Energy, Health Care, Real Security] Not War in Iraq") but they were locked down on-message. You'll see that the Wake Up WalMart crew was standing near the Obama crowd. One of those nice people gave me a shirt off his back, so now I have a Wake Up WalMart t-shirt to wear around town. Success!
There's much better video of the evening at the Daily News' site. They got shots of the Free Tibet crowd, which was about a hundred people - very impressive. As far as I know, the Daily News was the only outlet to cover the protests.
And now, to prove my commitment to the event, here's what I looked like. I'm the one on the right.