That goes out to quite a few folks who voted with their butts and chose to sit around watching football or whatever instead of showing up to stroll with the 300 hundred or so MLK Birthday marchers Sunday.
Yeah, it was kinda chilly. Yes, we’re not getting off work today. Yeah, when you’re done walking over a mile you have to listen to Feudal Prince Marty Chavez say inane things like “diversity isn’t a bad thing, it’s a good thing”. Yeah, when you flee speakers like Mayor Marty you start walking around downtown ABQ on a Sunday and realize just how moribund the city’s core is on a weekend day.
But still. Turnout yesterday wasn’t good. Fewer people than last year, and that shouldn’t have been the case solely based on the number of politicians and/or campaign volunteers who did show up. Martin Heinrich was there. Heck, even crusty Republican Steve Pearce showed up.
Where were you?
As per normal, I fled the proceedings downtown when the speechifying started, just like Gene Grant who has a better writeup of the event in this morning’s Journal. Just like Gene, I don’t attend this shindig for the speechifying. To me, the real “feel” of the march is when we come out of that UNM parking lot at University and MLK Blvd., drums and mariachi bands playing and first stop the traffic on University. The feeling of crossing that street en masse and looking down the hill to see marchers ahead of you for hundreds of yards can soften the heart of anyone, cynics included.
But the en masse yesterday wasn’t massive and the marchers didn’t extend that many hundreds of yards ahead of me. I wonder why.
In political gossip news: no Hillary Clinton presence at the march. One Kucinich woman fitting the stereotype of what you’d expect a Kucinich volunteer to look like (no offense intended…I like Kucinich). About 30 or so Obama people definitely enjoying the chance to show out. One “Dogs for Obama” dog (not pictured here). Pearce was the only Republican I saw/recognized…no Heather Wilson. Which reminds me, when the last time anybody saw Heather Wilson? Only a few wacky petition types around. To be honest, the political turnout was as disappointing as the overall attendance yesterday.
And of course Mayor Marty asserts during his silly remarks that attendance was better than the last few years. Being a Westside kinda guy, maybe he thought that because of all the automobiles participating in the parade, taking up space and belching exhaust into marcher’s faces. Just like the Westside, everyday. Then again, as John Fleck at the Journal has pointed out, Mayor Marty is all about making up the numbers.
Gotta lose the cars, even the cool old-timey Model T looking thing festooned with a Gary King placard and an “Impeach Coolidge” window sticker.
Love the drum corps. Love the mariachis. Love the dogs. A tiny bit of mixed feelings about the “Buffalo Soldiers”. Gotta lose the cars.
And I especially love that feeling of community and political expression that comes in walking down that hill together, blocking traffic and feeling something real about our democracy and the chance we have to transcend the stupid racial/ethnic/gender, etc. divides that continue to cripple our development as a species.
Too bad you weren’t there to experience that.
P.S.: Proving the point I made some days back about my lack of photo-journalistic prowess, I’ve sprinkled a few pictures. I’d like to blame the camera, but…