Monday, September 26, 2005

Book review 500 Comic Book Villains by Mike Conroy

500 Comic Book Villains by Mike Conroy qualifies as neither a good coffee table book or as a hard cover version of your trading cards.

Time and again, Solomon Grundy is but one example, a villian from decades ago is illustrated with a drawing from more recent times. So don't expect vintage comic art. Don't really expect comic art either because the drawings too often resemble year book photos (_ "posed" for this is at least one caption).

We didn't like the book. We disputed many factoids. We're aware that like a soap opera, the facts always change in the comic book world. So we didn't dispute those details as much as we disputed some obviously neglected points. (D.C.'s World Finest is a comic that the author should have studied closely for some of his entries, specifically the late seventies through the mid-eighties.)

If you appeared in a movie, congrats Vils!, you're in the book. If you didn't? Maybe you made the cut, maybe you didn't. Going with the obvious may help sell books but it doesn't provide the overview that "500 Villians" promises.

We also dispute the "findings" in the one bit of real writing in the book. We don't think "silly" (superpets") leads to camp (Batman -- the live action TV series) and we can't imagine anyone who made that evalution with a knowledge of either. Maybe in the he-man wonders of Conroy's mind, the comparison is apt?

It also allows interesting conclusions. Take this one:

Often accused of being a racial stereotype, the Dragon Lady is the epitome of a mythic female legend: the seductive, "exotic," yet deadly Asian black widow.

We find that "evaluation" both racially stereotypical and sexually.

Conroy doesn't. Eveything's great. Everything's the best (except for the super pets), everything is just wonderful. It's as though the book's written by a cheerleader for Bob Jones University.

There's nothing wrong with being a fan but it's the sort of thing that destroys the majority of Bruce Springsteen books. Each page brings another statement of "and then the Boss topped himself again!" Those books are exhausting to read, they must be exhausting to write.

This book is ideal for comic book fans with a knowledge base. They can pick it apart and point to the errors. For anyone else, 500 Books doesn't cut it even as a coffee table book.

"Why Are You Here" and "What's Changed"

[This is no longer a work in progress.]

Flashback to March, rallies across the country. On the 20th We ask "At the rallies, we ask, "Why Are You Here?"

The rallies are back. This time we all focus on D.C. Last time "we" included The Third Estate Sunday Review's Dona, Jess, Ty, Ava and Jim, Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude, Betty who was on the verge of starting Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man and C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review. This time we're joined by Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills), Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix, Mike of Mikey Likes It!, Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz, Ruth of Ruth's Morning Edition Report and her granddaughter Tracey.

You never know who'll you meet at a rally and one of our biggest surprises was when Tracey and C.I. were approached by Tami and Rhonda whom C.I. had met at a march back in March. We close with them because they are the voice of our future. What you'll find below is one hundred voices. Everyone gathered as many comments as they could. From there, the process was reduce it to twenty and bring your twenty to the group. Hearing each individuals twenty we then began deciding whom to include and exclude in the hundred.

Did someone make a point no one else did? Did someone see or feel something that we might have missed? Did someone especially want to note an individual (positive or negative)?

We argued, we yelled, we screamed. Everyone held on to their choices for dear life. (Though we are aware that at least two of us are the masters of strategy so when, for instance, they say "These must be included" they're bluffing and will drop one if we allow two more.) It was lively, it was passionate. It was one of the best moments we've ever had. And it was Sunday morning. Two o'clock. We might be in bed for five!

But it's never that easy. All one hundred voices were present. An introduction written. We were ready to post. We hit "post" and wait. Did we lose the post? Sign in again? Well that's a new one. So we sign in, with the assumption that the post will post as soon as we sign in.

Instead the entire post is lost. We were back at square one. So you have a new version of it. Some voices got dropped out, some got added. If we prompted someone by asking a question, we've left that out. Not to make it "seamless" but because we want to hear their stories, in their words.

It's a hundred voices and it's people from the rally in D.C. Saturday morning. If you were there, you may recognize someone. (Bryce already sent the work in progress post to his mother.) If you weren't there, this was what was on the minds of a slice of the people present.

1) Van, 18, Illionis: Here to protest! Here to say stop the war! Is it happening? Man, you tell me. Look around! This is wild. We're saying no to war! No to Bush! No to the killing! Yes to peace! Yes to self-determination! Peace now!

2) Gavin, 43, vet: The military is for fighting battles. If the mission was to topple the government of Saddam Hussein, that mission is now over. The military is not the peace corp. It is not for rebuilding power plants or constructing sewage lines. It is time to bring the troops home and let Iraqis take care of their own country. The excuse that they're not ready is a hollow one because they have had time. The military can't establish a democracy. Iraq needs to get its house in order and it will need money from us for that and it will need international support and help but we have no business continuing to occupy Iraq. The troops need to come home and Congress needs to take a serious look at how we got over there.

3) Elisa, 12, middle school: I am here with my parents and we are here because the president lied and people are dying.

4) April, small business owner, 54: You aren't one of those sites that pushes Kerry or Edwards, are you? Good because I have no use for them. Al Gore's the only one I'd vote for. Even Hillary [Clinton] can't find her ass with both hands these days. Al Gore spoke out against the war and he was right. If he runs in 2008, I'll vote for him. I won't vote for any of these wishy washy people who can't say, "Leave Iraq now." It's not that hard, you just say a simple sentence. But they're so caught up in strutting and putting on their war masks. I don't want to hear another damn word about "Two Americas" either. I'm sick of that nonsense. There are not "Two Americas." That crap is why my party is in the trouble its in. I'm a lifelong Democrat and I have never seen such idiots making such foolish remarks. Two Americas? Try five or six!
But Two Americas tells you that there is the rich and then there is the middle class. Look, I ain't rich but I ain't hurting. The party I believe in used to give a damn about by the poor and the working class. Now it's so busy trying to act like it's the Republican Party's twin that it pretends that the problems of the middle class are the same problems of the poor. Like the family who can't afford to take their kids to the doctor are facing the same crisis that the family who has to buy Junior a used car for graduation instead of a new one are facing. There are not Two Americas. There are multiple Americas and they need to stop acting like the middle class is the same thing as poverty. We have people in our country who are in serious need. Poverty's gone up under Bush. A Lyndon Johnson would be hollering for the poor, standing up for them. The best we can get is a pretty boy with blow dried hair lisping about Two Americas. I'll tell you one more damn thing, our party leaders should be here. Where are they any way? Where's Howard Damn Dean? We've heard a lot about chicken hawks, maybe we need to talk about chicken doves? People who know the war is wrong, who know it's hurting us each day but can't find the damn guts to speak up. That's why I'm here, I'm angry, I'm mad and I'm not going to act like that the country is going in the right direction.

5) Bryce, 18, college student: I'm here because of my mother. Sunday's her birthday and I called her up and I asked her what she wanted for her birthday. She said all she wanted was for me to come to the protest. My home's hours away and we can't afford any plane tickets or you better believe my mother would be here. But she told me that Cindy Sheehan needed support and that if I was here, that's the only gift she'd need. So I went through the dorm and ended up rounding up ten other guys to come along. One's just here because he's curious. Three are my good buds and they're here to help me have a good gift for my mom. Five are total strangers that I just went up to, I was going up to everybody on my floor, and they said sure they'd love to come. So when I call my mom tomorrow morning to wish her happy birthday I can tell her, "Yeah, I went and nine more went too."

6) Ida, 71, "retired from the work force, but mentally active": I'm here with my grandson who told me I wasn't hopping on any bus, that he'd drive me. I heard that the young people weren't interested and that the only turnout would be from the the Vietnam era. I wasn't going to not show up if they needed bodies. Turns out there are young people here. I'm glad of that and proud of them. We need more young people showing up but we got some now. I've never seen the media act so cravenly in my entire life. The way they cater to that man [Bush] and act like he's a king. They have disgraced themselves and ought to be ashamed.

7) Jonas, 44, accountant: What? I should be at a Glenn Beck rally? The lies are starting to stink. Like Jessica Lange said, it's the mendacity. You can't crack a window and get rid of the smell. The stench lingers. So you do what you can to let some sunshine in. What do I see? I see people sick of the stench of lies.

8) Riley, 31, coach: I'm here to blow the whistle and say enough's enough. I'm here because we got to say enough with the lies. This country keeps swallowing lies, pretty soon it won't be America anymore. I think we're all fed up with lies and I think that includes a lot of people who weren't able to make it here today.

9) Caitlin, math teacher, 47: I'm here because, like Gilda Radner used to say, "It's always something." Either Bush is trying to destroy Social Security or he's gunning for the environment. Either he's trying to dismantle the education system or he's forcing us into a war based on lies. It's all connected because there's not been one truthful moment from this administration. It's time to bring the troops home and that will only happen if we demand it.

10) Samanta, 21, nursing student: I'm here because things are really disgusting right now. We're stuck in a war we shouldn't be in and no one's leading us out of it. We can sit on our asses or we can say, "Not good enough! Here's what we want: The troops home now!" If you sit around and wait for things to happen, they don't. You have to make them happen. The change I see is that a lot of us are willing to make things happen.

11) Clay, 22, engineering major: We're not trying to make things any better for Iraqis. You want to fix things, you fix them. You don't slap a coat of paint on a school and say, "Oh, the people are free now!" You get in there and you fix the water system, you fix the electric grid. These things do not take two or three years to accomplish. There's a river in Iraq, river, not ocean, that the people could get water from if it wasn't so polluted and we haven't done a damn thing to clean it up. Don't say we're there to help the Iraqis and make their lives better because we're there for over two years and we've got little to show for it. The change is that people are tired and people are pissed off and we're starting to ask real questions, hard questions.

12) Martin, 17, high school student: I told my parents I needed to be here to do a paper on it and they didn't buy it. They said, "That's not the real reason, is it?" And I said no, I also needed to be here because I wanted to protest the war and they said let's go. So we're all here and this is a really big thing to me. I can't believe how many people are here and how much energy is here.

13) Joe, 38, auto mechanic, Washington: My girlfriend and I take four road trips a year. We could be in Florida right now but we wanted to be here. Florida will be there in four months but we might not have another chance to take part in something like this. Usually, we just go where ever there's some good places for bike riding so this is really different. The change I see? We work on foreign cars, really pricey things and like, back in November, you'd see the signs up in the back windows for Bush maybe or you'd hear them talking about him. People with those kind of cars don't put bumper stickers on, I guess. But like now, you got people coming in that a few months back would have been talking your ear off about what a great guy Bush is and how he is saving the country. You don't here that now. If the TV's on and it's a story about Bush, they just shake their heads. I think people have caught on to him.

14) Naomi, 42, seamstress: Here because the only thing worse than believing the lie is knowing it's a lie and doing nothing about it. The change I see is hope. Hope that we can end the war. Hope that we can take our country back.

15) Leon, 52, Louisianna: Why am I here? I flew on the plane. Funny thing, I don't have my own plane. I had to buy a ticket but I manged to get here with my son and his wife. George Bush got Air Force One at his disposal but how long did it take him to find his way to New Orleans? Maybe the pilot got lost? Hurricane Katrina showed that there were priorities in this country and the people ain't one of them. That's why he doesn't give a damn about the troops dying in Iraq and why he's not worried about bringing them home. They can stay over there forever for all he cares. Most he'll do is show up to have his picture taken and then disappear.
The change is Hurricane Katrina and people like Cindy Sheehan. They've exposed him for what he really is.

16) Tara, 30, dental hygenist, Colorado: My mom was a big supporter of Bush so when I told her I was coming, I expected her to lecture or pout. Instead she starts laying down this big thing about how I was named after this soap opera character on her favorite show and Tara was against the war and she was a painter and her boyfriend Phil had to go over to Vietnam and when she finally comes up for air, I say, "So you're okay with it?" and she says yes. See when, Bush loses my mother, and he has, he's lost the country. You've got the fact that she takes the office very seriously regardless of who is in it and then you've got the fact that she thought Bush was the nicest, most caring man in the world. Thought. That's over. It's over for a lot of people. I don't think he gets that. I think he thinks it's still right after he made that speech with the bullhorn and people are all, "I love Bush." That's not how it is now.

17) Keelan, 19, college student, Florida: I'm here because of Cindy Sheehan. She faced down Bush and he cut & run. He ended his vacation and high tailed it back here. Then she blows into town and he's got to run again. She's like Linda Hamiliton in T2. She's that strong. Because she's not just one mother, she's all mothers. She's got the other mothers who've lost children and who might lose their children behind her. And she's not backing down and George Bush can keep running, but she keeps marching. The change is that she can't be taken out. She's not backing down or wimping out like Tom Daschle or any of the other wimps. She's spoken her mind and she's not said, "Oh, I'm sorry, maybe I forgot to kiss his boots." She's spoken out and she's stayed strong. She's awesome.

18) Brendan, 28, substance abuse counselor: Have we had a better example of why dry drunks need to be in a twelve-step program? I don't know if he's replaced the booze with an addition to bombs and bullets or if he's just addicted to chaos. But he's caught in a cycle of lies and he's unable to take accountability for his actions. I'm here to do an intervention with our Congress that wants to wait and see what they should do. I'm here saying, "Bring 'em home." Now. Congress needs to get with the program. The change is that you're seeing people question the war, question Bush and demand that their elected officials hear them. It's pretty powerful.

19) Colleen, 42, teacher, Oregon: I'm here because this is one of those moments you either seize or you to live regret. This is the sort of the moment that ends up in a history book by Howard Zinn. You can sit on the sidelines and say, "Too bad no one's listening" or you can make yourself heard. I think we're doing a great job of making ourselves heard today. I think the change is that no one cares anymore if they're attacked. No one's trembling about what Bill O'Reilly or Rush Limbaugh might say. Two years is a long time to hold your tongue. America's got a lot to get off her chest.

20) Patricia, 35, homemaker, mother of three, Maine: I'm here because of Cindy Sheehan. I took the attitude that the people in Washington knew what they were doing. I graduated high school and that's pretty much it besides raised my kids. And what would I do if I was in Cindy's shoes? My oldest is 16. Two more years more and he could be in Iraq. How do you justify him dying for a lie? My whole family's here. I tried to get some people to come from my church and my pastor said to me, "Bring the troops home isn't a plan. What's your plan?" What's my plan? What's my plan? Excuse me but nobody asked me for a plan when they decided to go to war. Senator Susan Collins didn't call me on the phone and say, "Hello, Patricia? This is Susan, look we're thinking about going to war. I was just wondering how would you do it? Do you have any plans in your pantry?" They're the big geniuses, they're the ones who are supposed to know what they're doing. My plan's real simple, start bringing our sons and daughters home. How? You put them on flights out of Iraq and get them back to their families. My plan may not be fancy but it's not based on any lies. They can't say the same. The change, for me, anyway, was seeing Cindy Sheehan on the TV. Hearing her story and knowing that could be me. That could be any mother. It made me think and it made me really ask questions that I hadn't wanted to ask.

21) Manuel, 35, Portland, Oregon: I am here because they can't tell us why we are over there. They have a reason this week, another one next week. And they never add up or fit together. They say it is not about oild but they won't release the minutes from Cheney's energy meetings even after all this time. What we have seen is the maps and those were just maps drawing up the oil fields. It's not about oil? I think if we do not speak up now and say no to war for oil, it is only a matter of time before we go to war with Venezuela or some other country. I think we have all changed in this country as we have seen the lies revealed and I think we are changing to a people who expects answers and accountability.

22) Dana, 19, college student, Conn.: I am wearing a t-shirt that I made myself. On the front is a yellow ribbion that says SUPPORT THE TRUTH. On the back, it says SUPPORT THE TRUTH BRING THE TROOPS HOME. It is a pink t-shirt because I am a huge fan of CODEPINK. We have a weekly study group that we started as an actual study group in the fall of 2004. Now it's really more of a time for us to just get together and talk about what's going on in our lives an din the world. And we noted how a number of organizations backed off from calling for an end to the war when the media was inventing "value voters" and dividing us into so-called red states and so-called blue states. A number of organizations who should have been leading got scared by all the hype so they shut up about the war. CODEPINK didn't. There's even a website that wouldn't run a piece against the war and now they try to act like, "Oh we were always against the war." Yeah up until November then you were silent until the polls showed this huge shift in opinion. CODEPINK doesn't poll. They stake out a moral ground and they defend it. Those women are my heroes.

23) Naoko, 32, stock analyst: I'm just sick of the lies. I think everyone is. I think we want the war over and we want the lying to stop. We acted like it didn't bother us and we were willing to delude ourselves. It's like this guy I was dating. For weeks, I knew he was cheating on me. But I'd tell myself that I was just being suspicious. After awhile it was so obvious that I couldn't deny it. That's where we are now. There's no denying what's so obvious.

24) Christopher, 28, firefighter: I wasn't in NYC when the towers went down. But after, when they were calling for assistance a few of us flew up. What we heard about was stuff like the radios didn't work and they couldn't communicate inside the towers. And there was George Bush saying he'd fix things, saying he appreciated the fine work and he didn't fix anything. Firefighters were just a prop. It's the same thing with the military. Where's the body armor?
I mean that's so basic. But it wasn't a concern. Getting his picture taken holding a fake turkey was a priority. Doing anything to protect the troops wasn't a concern. It's all about the photo-op. And think about this, everyone seems to have forgotten, but think about it a minute, we sent our troops over there without the equipment they'd need if they did face a chemical attack. Now we know that Bush knew there were no WMDS so he wanted to be cheap and knew there was no risk. But explain the fact that they weren't furnished with body armor? You can't. It's because he will say anything to look good but as soon as he looks good, he moves on to the next photo-op and forgets every promise he made at the last one. The change is that people aren't looking the other way. He's been exposed for the fraud he is.

25) Kiera, 24, office assistant, Kansas: The thing, I think, that made me show up was knowing that if I didn't, I'd still have to look at myself in the morning. How can you know something's wrong and not speak out then face yourself day after day? I couldn't. So I'm here and the thing that was most surprising was how supportive everyone was when I told them what I was doing. I wasn't expecting that. But the mood of the country has changed and we're not all buying the baloney anymore. We've really reached this point where it's like, "What's the lie today?" It's not even a surprise anymore. It's like George W. is this little kid who can't stop lying and every day he's going to tell another whopper and you expect it and wish he'd get taken over the knee and spanked but I mean, look at the mother, saying that the evacuees of Hurricane Katrina were better off in a stadium and sleeping on cots, like they never had it so good. That tells you about that family. Tells you pretty much everything you need to know.

26) Viktor, 47, Tennessee: I am here with my brother and we're both pretty sick of George Bush. In the same week that former president Jimmy Carter says that are native son was the winner of the 2000 election, things aren't looking good for George Bush. The fact that he has to high tail it out of the White House makes him look like a coward. The change I see is that no one's saying, "Don't say that" anymore. I mean, maybe on TV and all, but face to face with real people, you don't get that anymore. Everyone's pretty much disgusted with George Bush.

27) Tatum, 24, grad student, Florida: It's like there was this really embarrassing moment and now he can't put it behind him. I don't know if it was the memos [Downing Street Memos] explaining that the war was a campaign of lies to trick the American people or if it was that he wouldn't go face to face with Cindy Sheehan. Maybe it's a combination? But it's like he showed up at school with a big tear in the seat of his pants and you could see his dirty drawers. Everyone pointed and laughed and there's just no come back. He can wear clean shorts tomorrow and every day after but he's still going to be the guy that day who had skid marks in his shorts. This isn't something he can't put behind him because it's like this huge thing that everyone's seen. That's what's changed. Not just that people are more active, but also that his stock has dropped and it won't go up because he's not the guy from September 2001 anymore. He's the guy with skid marks and no one takes him seriously.

28) Max, 30, computer specialist, Iowa: What got me here was wanting to be sure that we had a crowd of voices speaking out. Something like, "I looked over the White House lawn and what did I see, coming for to carry me home . . ." Of course George left town. Cheney's having surgery. Who's minding the store? That's the big money question. He's hiding out at his little ranchette and we're a peaceful group. I mean what would happen with a real crisis? Guess we saw that on 9/11 when he was flying here, there and everywhere. Or with the hurricane that he didn't do a damn thing about. The thing is, this is a man who sued, who took a case all the way to the Supreme Court because he wanted to be president but he never wants to do anything, does he? I think the change is that we're here and we're saying no to war in this huge crowd that's got to be one of the biggest crowds ever to march on D.C.

29) Kai, 20, college student, home Hawaii, going to college "on the mainland": This is wild, completely wild. It blows your mind to realize that so many people could come together with one purpose, to bring the troops home. It's a powerful message, stop the war now. I think you're seeing a real experiment in democracy as we speak in one voice to go up against policies that we don't believe in. I think that's about as American as you can get. I don't know what the change is but it's like it's in the air now and you breathe it in and just take power from it.

30) Minda, 29, Oklahoma: I am here because this is a war that should not have been started and that needed lies to trick the people. When you build on lies, no matter what else comes after, it is all a lie. I am seeing a change that is we the people saying this is our country and we will have our say and we will be heard. I think this is the beginning of a journey and not the end. More feet will be added to the march and not just today but over the months to come.

31) Alejandro, 27, Washington: You want my opinion? No one ever wants my opinion. Well, give me a second . . . Here's why I'm here, you are taught to tell the truth, you are taught to stand up and be brave. If you are doing what your parents and teachers taught you, then today you are here. The change is that we know right from wrong. We were confused with lies but now we see things clearly and we are taking action.

32) Filip, 40, New York: People showed up because this is about the only truth left in this country. George Bush has debased the country and disgraced it. We are trying to wash away the lies. It's like rain coming in. Like the hurricane that broke up the levees? This is like that. The levee of George Bush broke and all the lies came floating out. More will come. This is the start of it, not the end of it. The change I see is looking at the crowd and seeing that it includes this huge variety of faces, of colors, of ages, of ethnicities. This is a mass movement.

33) Hannah, 60, retired, Delaware: I am here because in 1974, I never thought we would see worse than Richard Nixon but that is what we have now. One of the men from Watergate [John Dean] even wrote a book called Worse Than Watergate. I think a lot of this has to do with Iran-Contra. We turned a blind eye to it really and made comments like, "Oh the country can't take another impeachment." The result is that democracy took a hit and a lot of the same people involved in that, the same people who should be in prison but got away with it, are now in this administration and they're convinced that they're untouchable. They got away with it in the eighties, now they're back and thinking they can get away with even more. The nature of hubris. The change I see, and I don't think this is what you meant, but the difference I see is that we don't have a working press today. We did with Watergate. Today we've got a bunch of people acting like the sky is green and the sun is blue. They won't tell the truth because they're scared or they are on the payroll. Watergate was exposed because the country had the press it needed. By Iran-Contra, we were already in trouble and today I don't see any real reporters at any of the big papers. I see a lot of people who write "This person said this and that person said that and I'm not going to tell you anything because I'm an umpire." It's like they all think they're John Roberts.

34) Luca, 18, college student, Florida: I'm here because of The Simpsons. I ain't joking. Last year, Bart got his shorts chewed off by a goat and the whole family ended up being thrown in the detainment centers. That's a cartoon and it's braver than anything you see with real people. If a cartoon can speak out, so can I, you know? And since cartoons can speak out, tell me what we got in Congress because we can't find any strong voices there. I think we are like, "Okay, we've had enough, we're not going to be silent." That's the change I'm seeing.

35) Paige, 21, college student, communications major: Where's George? I'm here. Where's George? Oh, look there he is! Nope, just another guy in a George Bush mask. So what, he's on another vacation? What is it, his 500th and what day of vacation in the last four years because it's not even five years in office yet. We must be doing great, you know? We must just be sailing along smoothly, with the economy soaring, peace everywhere and all. Wait, that's not happening, is it? That's why I'm here. We've got a president who thinks the main duty of office is to go on vacation. The change is people aren't afraid to make jokes now. They're not afraid to say, "Emperor, you're naked!" That's what he acts like. He doesn't act like he thinks he's the president, he acts like he thinks he some royal ruler who inherited the office. So my change is that I have had enough and I came here today to say enough is enough, now bring the troops home.

36) Eddie, 26, IT tech, Texas: I'm here because I was one of those idiots who voted for the idiot and I have to do something to make up for that. I voted for him in 2000 and he probably didn't win that year but he grabbed the office. Last year, I voted for Kerry. But we still got Bush. He's like a monkey playing with his own feces. He's not going to clean up his mess so we have to. That's why I'm here to send a message to Congress that we are not pleased with the way things are going and that we want the troops home now. They can stand with us or not, but if they ignore us, they'll be in for a few surprises in the 2006 election. That's the message we're sending out today. We want the war to stop. We want the troops home. It's pretty simple.

37) Annis, 33, New Jersey: Here to say we're suffering, Iraq is suffering, when does this madness end? How long are we going to kid ourselves and how much can we pretend that we're wanted over there or that we're helping anyone? We're helping a lot of people get rich. Hallibutron's making money hand over fist. What about the troops? They're getting to guard the Halliburton contracters. Guess that's their "reward." It's not fair and it's not right. I thought Republicans believed in "free markets." Guess "free markets" require the barrel of a gun to be "free." Rifles must be being held by Adam Smith's invisible hands, huh? I'm saying that if you want to profit, you'll do it somehow else, not off the back of our troops, not off the backs of Iraqis. While the rest of us were all dreaming about growing up to be ballerinas and cowboys, guess a lot of the scum were dreaming about growing up someday to be war profitteers. They should be behind bars. Congress needs to stop this no-bid contract b.s. But, hey, they won't stop the war, so why should they stop anything else. Besides isn't [Diane] Feinsteain's husband making some money over there too? I guess it's bipartisan cronyism. Maybe that's why Feinstein's such a big rah-rah on the war?

38) Dennis, 40, banking: I wish I knew. Look, I'm no peace activist. I'm a lifelong Republican. I didn't vote for Bush in 2004 because I couldn't. Didn't vote for Kerry either. Just left the top of the ticket blank. I spent the 90s listening to Rush and others scream about Bill Clinton and nodding along while I listened. I believed that we don't send our troops in to do anything other than war. I voted for Bush in 2000. I gave money to the campaign. Then he gets in office and suddenly our boys are in Iraq. I was willing to look the other way when everyone was swearing it was going to be short and brief. Then we captured Saddam Hussein and I was sure it was over. But it's not. We're still there. I'm here because I don't approve of what he's done and I'm not going to be a hypocrite and act like it was wrong when Clinton sent the military everywhere but it's okay for Bush to get them trapped in Iraq. There are a lot of nice people here and I will join with them in calling for the troops to come home now. I'd probably even support impeachment at this time. But I'm a Republican and I'll always vote Republican. In the next election that may just mean I vote for my city and county officials because I will not vote for anyone who tries to keep this war going. It's over. We need to bring them home.

39) Keith, 42, Michigan: I'm here because black people are opposed to this war and I wanted to be sure that we took part. I know that economic conditions prevent many people from all races from being able to travel here or to take the time off to travel so it was important to me that I come here. Both to say no to the war as a citizen and to say no to as a black man. It's especially important that this happen because we've got a lot of brothers and sisters who see the military as the only way out of the economic hell that so many are trapped in. The change? The change is that war is now something Bush has to defend. He's not running all over the country squealing, "I'm a war time president!" anymore, did you notice that? He's now having to defend his position. This is the man who had a convention where they never presented any real ideas or offered anything but attacks on the other party. Now he's having to regularly defend his position, that's a pretty big deal and I don't know that people are really noticing that.

40) Blake, 18, college student, Maryland: I'm here because we're not afraid and we won't keep quiet. I mean, Bright Eyes. Conner [Orbst] on The Tonight Show, did you see that? He sang "When A President Talks To God." On the TV. I'm watching and going, "This isn't happening, I'm dreaming." But it did happen and the next week, we were all downloading it and watching it over and over. That song should have been read into the Congressional record. And that was like a toe in the door. And then like Downing Street Memos let us get a foot in. Then along comes Cindy Sheehan and she kicks the damn door in. Bush can't face her. He runs when ever she shows up. He cuts his vacation short, he's not in D.C. today. He's scared of her because he knows she has people behind her. He knows she is the face of everything he's hidden from, the true cost of this war. That's the change and why I'm here. Sometimes I think, if he had met with her, it would have killed everything. If he had gotten his big butt down to Camp Casey, it would have let him spin some happy talky out of it, you know? But he didn't do that. He couldn't face her and wouldn't face her. And now it just shows the disrespect he really has for the military. Casey Sheehan died serving his country and Bush couldn't take five minutes to meet Cindy Sheehan. He wanted to hide behind, "I already met her once." Like she's some autograph hound and not the mother of a guy who was killed because George Bush decided to lie us into war. It's his guilt that kept him from meeting with her and now it's revealed to everyone.

41) Mignon, 63, New Hampshire: You stand up and say no when something's wrong. If you don't, you're a coward and a traitor to your country. This war is wrong. The fact that George W. Bush ordered it doesn't make it right. He's not infallible, he's not the Pope. He's just a man who is supposed to be working for us. He thought it was okay to fool us and that he wouldn't be found out but the truth told him. Now he's got to face some ugly reality. Jesse Jackson was speaking earlier and I wish I could remember his exact words but there were so many wonderful speakers. His point was that when we pull together we are strong enough to take on the government and to bring about change. That's always been true but sometimes we forget it.
We need to remember it and we need to use that power.

42) Kip, 27, Washington: I'm here with my wife. We just got married. I'm not kidding about just. We were planning the wedding for February and all the details were just too much to deal with. So Wednesday, she says, that's her over there, she says, "What do you think about eloping?" I make sure she's serious and I'm all for it. So we tell our bosses to get Friday and next week off and then yesterday we're in Nevada getting married and we're looking at each other after like, "Did we really just do this?" And it hits us that we planned to take the week off but we didn't plan where to go. When we were getting married in February, Valentine's Day, we were going to go to Jamaica. She didn't want to spend her honeymoon in Las Vegas and I was trying to figure out where we could go. Her brother's in the military and she's talked back in August about us maybe coming here for this. So finally, I just asked her what she though about coming here and then maybe going on to Niagara Falls. She loved the idea. So here we are. The thing that changed is that people like my wife, two years ago, they were just in shock. Like the way it is if a doctor tells you that you've got a fatal condition. You just sort walk around stunned. And then after a bit, you want to know about it and you want to know how you got it.
Well like two years ago, she was just focused on praying that her brother made it home safe and sound and now, in addition to that, she's asking questions like, "Why is he over there in the first place?" I think a lot of people are doing that and they're noticing the losses and they're feeling like something has to be done because it really is like the luck of the draw for what happens over there. You either start speaking out or you deal with that fact that you didn't when it's too late.

43) Melissa, 17, high school student, Rhode Island: I'm here because my parents are so cool. I wanted to be here and I gave them the civic duty speech and all this other stuff and they said, "Let us think about it" and that usually means they hope I forget about it and that way they don't have to tell me no. But they really did think about it. They said, here's the deal: "We'll go, we'll visit your brother Friday night, we'll be in D.C. Saturday, we'll leave Saturday night and that's that. No 'Please let's stay longer.' That's the deal so take it or leave it." And I couldn't believe it because it's a great deal. All my friends were like, "No, really?" And like Bree, my best friend, wanted to tag along so bad but her grandparents have some big anniversary today and she knew her mother wouldn't say she could go. So Monday, at school, I'll fill everyone in on what I saw. And we're really paying attention to this. I don't know when that started. Like last year, no one really talked too much about it at the start of the year. But by the end of the year it was probably second only to who was dating who. Probably has a lot to do with all the recruiters pestering everybody.

44) Carly, 39, self-employed, Alabama: I traveled here because this means something. We live in times where nothing seems to matter. You hear the names of the dead and then you go to a commercial. Nothing seems to carry any weight. Nothing seems to be all that important. I'm talking about the way it's portrayed on TV. Then Cindy Sheehan comes along and reminds us of how very important this is. I am opposed to the war and I believe the troops need to be brought home. I firmly believe that and I'm here for that reason. The change is that, even with a lazy media that doesn't seem too interested in Iraq, Cindy Sheehan broke through with her plain and real message. She reminded everyone that even if we don't see the coffins or the bombs dropping, death is still death. People still mourn. People still have very real losses. That's the change.

45) Linda, 25, New Mexico: I'm here because my grandparents came to America from Mexico so that they and their children could have a better life. I was born here, I was taught what this country is supposed to be about and what I'm seeing isn't what I'm taught so I'm here to say give me back my country, give me back the sense of pride I once had in being an American.

46) Benji, 21, college student, interdisciplinary major: I'm here because the media told me this was important and these actions mattered. I don't mean the corporate media that can't report anything of value but has plenty of time to fill me on Michael Jackson, I mean the media that matters, the independent media. Democracy Now!, Pacifica radio and The Nation. The others, the corporate media, hasn't been interested in real news for ages, so why even bother to watch it anymore? You want reality, you go to independent media. That's the reality of the world today. If it's real, you won't read it in your paper or see it on your TV from the corporate media. They're not interested in news, they're interested in entertaining you with scandals that don't really matter. Janet Jackson showed her boob! Brad and Jennifer broke up! They're all a bunch of gossips and you watch someone like Matt Lauer and wonder why he's not "reporting" while wearing a house coat and curlers. It's not news. It's gossip. They've degraded ourselves and the nation.

47) Eric, 66, retired police officer: I think your questions all wrong. I think the question should be who's not here? I don't see Cokie Roberts. Cokie None That Matters Roberts. I don't see George Will. Or Michael Savage. Or Thomas Friedman, David Brooks, Tim Russert, Mara Liasson, Peggy Noonan, Bill O'Reilly, Diane Sawyer or any of the other ones who talked up this war. Do they still feel the same? If they do, and if I were president, I'd put their butts over in Iraq right now. And to really make them suffer, I'd make AWOL George be the commander of their unit. That would really put them in danger. That would really let them see how awful things are and how awful things could be. Hell, I'd toss G. Gordon Liddy in their unit too even though he'd probably end up fragging one of them or getting fragged himself. And when they were willing to admit they were wrong, I'd put them on TV and get Amy Goodman to interview them. She'd ask the hard questions no one else would so I'd let her ask what she wanted with one exception. I'd ask her to ask Diane Sawyer, "Aren't you ashamed? These were citizens of the United States. They're dead now. Aren't you ashamed?" And I hope she'd ask it over and over just like the plastic Barbie doll kept asking those three country music girls [The Dixie Chicks] if they were ashamed over and over. That's what I'd do. I think that should be the question, who's not here and why should they be?

48) Jack, 53, electronic repairman: I got 15 year-old, twin grandsons. I'm here for them. This war has to end or all our kids and grandkids will be over there. The change, for me anyway, is that it's not abstract any longer, it's not something that we think, "Oh, these young adults." We're starting to realize, after we hear that we'll be over there for ten years, that it's not just the ones who are there now but the kids who aren't even dating yet that are going to be asked to give their lives for a war of choice that was built with lies and that has no real goal other than to secure and control the oil fields of Iraq.

49) Martin, 41, municipal employee: I am here because the only requirement is that you want to stop the war. This is different than a lot of the things lately. Before the war, they wanted anyone who would say, "I'm against this war." Then they started getting skittish and acting like you had to be this type of person or that person. And if you were controversial, they didn't want you. I remember this organization that I won't name who practically declared war on CODEPINK back in March, for instance. They, and people like them, thought they could stage manage the movement and all they did was depress people and take away their hope. Then along comes Cindy Sheehan and she doesn't play that game. You've got people trying to air brush her and act like she's not against the war or she's not angry that her son's gone. They tried to act like she wasn't for bringing the troops home even. "She's just a mom." No, she's an angry, grieving mother and that's what woke up the nation. On her face, in her words, the cost of war is present. You can't turn away from her truth because it's so real. I'm noticing that the gatekeepers who thought they could stage manage the movement aren't here today. That's a good thing. This is massive and it happened inspite of the people who tried to dictate what was allowed, not because of them. They should either learn to take part with the rest of us or get the hell out of the movement because they nearly killed it before Cindy came along and woke it back up. The only requirement this weekend is that you are against this war, you want it to stop, you want the troops home. You don't need to say, "I'm sure George Bush means well but . . ." You just speak the truth and if someone's truth's a little different than yours, as long as they're speaking from the heart, that's fine. I'm seeing real people and that's really important to me. Last rally I was at, I had come straight from work and was wearing my work clothes which means a suit and tie. That was too fancy when a reporter was talking to me and I get pulled aside. I'm looking over as this guy in jeans and t-shirt says he will talk to the media but he's not fancy enough for them. They were playing Goldilocks and I was asking, "Who are these people?" I found out and I'll just say they need to learn to participate and not control or they need to find a new cause because they turn off more people than they could ever reach. This is real and that's the difference.

50) Shelby, 24, Atlanta: There's a reporter for The New York Times who wrote all these stories that were what the administration was claiming but the reporter [Judith Miller] presented them as fact. She's in jail now for another issue but it's like they hauled her off but not before she could spawn and mulitply. It's like "truth" is what ever the administration says it is and the press just jots it down and repeats it. I didn't think that was the job of the press. I thought they were supposed to dig in and go after the story like a dog after a bone but that just doesn't seem to be the case. So it's up to people like you and me to talk about truth and to dig. And I think this is what we're doing here. We're digging in and the speakers are talking about what we were told and what was true, practically nothing, and what wasn't. I think it's a moment that people will look back on and say, "That's when things really changed for George Bush. That's when the people came alive and said no more."

51) Diane, 58, Florida: I'm here because this is the most incompenent adminstration I've ever seen and like unruly children, they need an adult to step up and say, "Enough!" Otherwise, they won't make any changes, they won't bring the troops home, the war will continue and the costs, physical and financial, will continue to mount. I've never been active politically until this war. It was probably when I watched Jessica Lynch and saw that tiny girl speak about how she was used, how Rumsfeld, Bush and everyone lied about her. How they just used her. All that time when she was being talked about but wasn't being seen, I was worried and thinking she was hurt severely and they just weren't telling us to give her and her family time to deal with it. Then it turns out they were just keeping her under wraps because she wouldn't play their game and pretend like she had gone down in a blaze of glory and then been treated horribly by Iraqis.
What they did to her was so disgusting and so vile. She seemed like a really kind person, even after all they'd done to her. Made me start thinking that if they'd use someone like her, they'd use anyone. They'd use you or they'd use me. That's when I started getting active and each month it seems like I'm doing more than the month before so coming to D.C. for this march and rally may seem like a big step to some but for me it was the next step. I see changes all around and more than I could note in a sentence or two. I'll boil it down to this: people my age are not just waiting for Bush to fix his mess, we're demanding that it be fixed. It crosses party lines and you can check with anyone serving in the Congress and they can probably back that up because we're pissed off and we're not keeping it to ourselves.

52) Caleb, 17, high school student: I'm here because this is an issue that's become one of the big ones in my life and most of us at my high school, all our lives. You can't help but follow the war now because you got recruiters bugging you on the phone, bugging you at school, bugging you when you're just trying to cruise the mall. They've put this war front in center in our lives. And a lot of us wouldn't be thinking about it probably. I'm going to college. If I don't get an atheletic scholarship, my parents already have it figured out. So I guess I could just float on through high school and be thinking, "Man, that's pretty screwed up, all the bombs going off in Iraq" or whatever. But when you got the recruiters breathing down your neck even when you're saying, "Not interested, quit calling," you start paying attention and like I'm not any good at geography but I can list probably ten big cities in Iraq and I can show you where it is on the map. That's all stuff I wouldn't have paid attention to if it weren't for the recruiters. I guess I thought, "You signed up for it, you're over there doing what you agreed to." But I mean, I've heard stuff from cars to special bases where you just file papers and get suntans and it's really made me think about what other people get promised and it also made me face how not everyone's going to be like me where they can say a strong no. There are people who don't have that option and when some recruiter comes along with the moon towed behind him and he's telling you that it's all yours if you sign up, I don't think they get what they sign up for. So that's had me thinking and other things have come up and I might not pay attention to them if it weren't for the recruiters. Like Bush lied. That's something that really caught my attention. We're over there for no real reason. So the ironic thing is, if they weren't trying so hard to pressure you to join and all I probably wouldn't be paying attention and my friends and I wouldn't be talking about it and following it.

53) Licia, 19, college student, journalism major: I went back and forth on signing up. I wanted college but I didn't think there was any chance of that because my mom couldn't afford it. Then I told a teacher that I was probably going to sign up and join the military. She asked me to give her four weeks. So I waited and right before the fourth week was up, she had this scholarship that I was eligible for. I applied and she wrote this really amazing letter. I wasn't even close to her. It was just one of those the bell rings, you're walking past the desk and the teacher says something like, "Are you feeling okay?" and I ended up telling her what I was thinking about and why. She could have said, "Oh well, good luck" and just walked away. She didn't do that though. And when some friends said they were coming up, I asked to go along because I don't want to be one of those people who says "Oh well, good luck." So I'm here. And I guess the change is that . . . we know there's no change. We're not still thinking, like we were in November, okay, elections are coming up, things will calm down then. Things didn't calm down. If the Constitution passes or get approved or whatever, things won't calm down. There's not a phase that they're going to enter in Iraq where things calm down because we're over there saying, "You'll do this" and I mean, we're pretty bad, but like look at what happened in Basra and the whole time we were thinking like the British, they're calmer than we are, they're more resonable. That's not the case. It's making everyone do crazy things and that's what happens when you're trapped somewhere. So I won't to do something that frees our soldiers from the trap and gives them back the normal lives they had before Bush lied us into war.

54) Craig, 42, Idaho: I'd say I was here to stare down George Bush but he's out of town again. He seems to spend most of his time traveling and vacationing but I guess when you can't face your guilt, you need to stay mobile? Change is that someone like me who never did more than vote is here in D.C., a long way from home, participating in all these events to end the war.

55) Barney, 67, retired: I'm here because when our founding fathers met in Phialdelphia to structure this government, one thing they knew was that America didn't need a king. They didn't need an all powerful ruler. So they gave Congress the power to declare to war because war should not be decided by one person. Now we've reached a stage where we've got a man who thinks he's got a right, an entitlement, to do whatever he wants and we've got a Congress that's scared of him. He works for us and so do they. But everyone seems to have forgotten their basic history and I'm here to say I remember and I will object. The change is that things have gotten so bad that I don't have any more excuses for standing on the sidelines.

56) Mia, 18, college student: Well you look at what's going on, how it started and where it is, and the obvious fact is that things are not changing and they probably won't be. So you have to ask why are we in Iraq? That brings up why were lied to and once you travel down the rabbit hole, there's nothing to do but emerge on the other side realizing that we need to get the hell out and we need to do that yesterday but since that won't happen, we show up and ask for the troops to be brought home now. The change is that the truth is no longer hidden and the only way can miss it is if you refuse to look.

57) Marco, 39, salesman: See the question, I don't like it. It's like, "Why are you here?" implying that I shouldn't be. The question should be, "Why isn't everyone here?" I think the answer is that a lot of people refuse to believe that a president would lie to them. I think also that a lot of people have a vested interest in denial because they attacked people who spoke out and said we didn't need to be going to war. That's not me puffing up my chest because I wasn't one of those people. I wish I were. But they kept talking about "the evidence" and I figured if everyone was talking about it, it must exist. I know now that Colin Powell's speech was full of holes but I read a paper, I watch the TV and no one was telling me that then. What I learned from all of this is that you can waste a lot of time reading a paper and watching the news on TV and never really learn anything. So that's the change, the personal one for me.

58) Jean, 60, retired secretary and widow, Ohio: What does it take before people say enough? For me it was watching George Bush strut around when he barely won the election and watching him act even more dismissive of people who disagreed with him. It was seeing that the campaign tactics of only allowing "loyal subjects" to hear him speak were now part and parcel with this presidency. It was grasping that he wasn't just a dumb president or a bad one, but one that was hell bent on remaking the United States into something so far from what anyone but the fundamental fringe wants. He's played a game with them where he offers them a crumb and they grab at it and think he's one of them. But now they're feeling just as cocky as he does and they're calling in their markers. I don't think anyone's safe. Not the people living on Social Security, not the poor, not the children, not the gays and lesbians, and not the military. We're all
either photo backdrops or expendable. Every president has had a problem because none are perfect but this one's biggest problem is that he thinks he is perfect, that he thinks that God is approving every move he makes and that he thinks if you're not in agreement with him, you don't matter. I voted for John Kerry because I believed he would be a better president. Back then, I wrote George Bush off as a little dumb and a little nutty. Now I see him as someone really dangerous and I pray that Congress will find the strength and the guts to stand up for the people. That is something I pray for each night. I've never before in my life, even with Nixon, felt the need to pray so hard for my country. I do know because this administration scares me.
That's the change and that's why I'm here all rolled up into one and I think Cindy Sheehan just gave a great speech so I'll say that to.

59) Barbara, 54, Iowa: I believe in helping someone. I believe that if we're asked for help, we help out. That's my family, that's my country. But the point people seem to be missing with this war is that what we're being asked to do, by Iraqis, is to leave. And if your presence in my backyard meant that bombs were going off and people were being kidnapped, I'd ask you to leave as well. I wouldn't want to hear you say, "No, I'm staying the course. Let me fix it for you." I'd want you to get out right away. I don't know that there is a real change. I think more people are thinking about what's going on but I think that's to be expected as we get closer to year three of the occupation.

60) LeRoi, 21, college student, English major: They're going after high school drop outs now! The whole "few bad apples" defense, which I never bought, was about how they didn't have well trained, well vetted people working in the prison. Now they're lowering the standards instead of raising them and that's because no one wants to sign up. They can't meet their quotas and they're behind for the year. So what's going to change? You think when we hit the fourth year of this quagmire people who've said no way are going to change their minds and say, "Okay, when it was a quagmire at two, I wouldn't sign up but now it's a four year quagmire so I'm all jazzed!" We get out or we get a draft. Maybe a draft would wake a lot more people up but it would probably also mean a lot more going over there because you don't start a draft to meet your minimum requirement. You don't reinstate something that controversial just to do the bare minimum. So a lot more lives will be at stake. And every month we get more deaths so you have to start asking, "Where does this end?" I think it ends here. Not by sunset, but when we all carry back our stories to our friends, when we're all sharing with the people we know who weren't able to be here. The change is this, we've got the seeds in our pockets, we just all need to go home and plant them.

61) Hunter, 26, waitress, part-time college student: I don't believe you can tell someone, "You are now a democracy." You're only a democracy if you want it and you're willing to fight for it. It can't be handed to you or forced on you. I don't think we really want Iraq to have a democracy. If we did, how come so many of "our guys" keep popping up in charge. Doesn't it bother people that the leaders were on the CIA payroll? Chalabi, who is he to determine the fate of Iraq? Accused of theft in Jordan, on the payroll of the CIA, all these years living out of Iraq. If I were an Iraqi and I was being told, "You're going to have a democracy" and everytime I turned around another exile was being put in charge, I'd be pissed off. While they were living all over the world, I was living under Saddam's thumb. And now they're going to be put in charge? It's like if we won the revolution and instead of choosing George Washington as a leader, we sent out a request to Canada to provide us with one of their guys to be our president.
The change is that people are asking questions and when people ask questions, it's good. Even if they're given bad answers, it's good because lies do come out and when they do, you know what you're dealing with. We're dealing with an administration that will stop at nothing to decieve the public. We know that and then some now.

62) Jan, 50, Georgia: Maybe it's because the uneasy feeling that we all had about the war from day one is something that's been confirmed? I'm not very spontaneous, it takes awhile for me because I like to mull things over and toss them around and maybe talk about it some, think about it some more, never been the one to be accused of making snap decisions. So there was a lot to think about and a lot of new stuff too like them memos and the continual deaths and then that woman asking President Bush to speak to her but he was too busy vacationing to like walk a few yards over to where she was camped out on the side of the road so that probably put some fire under me and made me think some more. I think a lot of people putting on their thinking caps this summer and I think that's what changed.

63) Andrew, 29, food industry: I was appalled at the response to the leaked memos from England. I can only believe that any rational adult would have looked at the disclosure and demanded answers if they felt there was any accountability left in the government or, for that matter, the press. The fact remains that no apology came forth from the administration. Is it at all surprising that all around people are dillusioned with their government.

64) Nancy, 30s, Kansas: It was so sad seeing Cindy on TV. It was so sad. She was waiting and she just wanted a word but President Bush couldn't make time for her. I remember thinking, "What if that was me?" I could relate to Cindy and that's what changed.

65) Richard, 27, photographer: The outrage has landed. That's the big difference. They set up a war that was all computer simulated graphics and peppy, breezy, go-get-em reports. Probably would have worked if it had been a quick in and out but when it wasn't and people kept picking up the papers and seeing new names of the dead listed every day, they realized they'd been had and this summer they just had a shit storm gather and rain down on them.

66) Hector, 30, retail: I think we just got immune to everything because the war's so sanitized and so removed from our lives. It took one person to remind us that this is a war and that we are paying with our humanity. I wish, and I include myself in this, that there was a face on the Iraqi victims, because it is easy to find yourself speaking of "the American losses" but the losses in terms of sheer number are far greater for Iraqis but there's no face to their suffering. The sheer number of casualities is so high that it boggles the mind. The reporters, the embeds, they don't seem to have learned anything about the Iraqis. You've got people over there in Baghdad and it's like they've never spoken to one Iraqi because there's no one with a story to tell that they've found. They can find puppets for the Bush regime to say, "I am so happy to have freedom" but the puppets are the only ones we ever see and we rarely see them. Iraqis are still just numbers so we've got nothing.

67) Tanya, 33, college professor: People got that there was death and there was riches and one group died and one group got rich. Most people aren't wealthy so Bush's "you're either with us or you're against us" really hit home with the average person realizing that Bush's "us" didn't include them. It's been five years of soft shoe, tap dancing but the routine's not so cute now. His base doesn't include the average Americans and we're seeing such vast corruption with people leaving the administration and raking in the big bucks so you've got another Teapot Dome scandal brewing. There's genuine outrage. People are expressing it. It's really amazing to see this many people saying no to lies and standing up for themselves. Long time coming.

68) Reese, 19, college student, Virginia: I was one of those people who thought George Bush cared and was in it for me and it's not true and a lot of things, not just one, made that clear. He does his phoney routine and acts like he's just a regular guy but he's not and it's the regular people that suffer. I've been looking at a lot of the policies that I just heard about before. There's a magazine called Mother Jones and I started getting it and reading it. So it's just a lot of stuff I've been absorbing and, really, stuff I didn't think about before. I was worried about high school stuff before and that was like the center of my universe but maybe I grew up a little and what I found when I did was some really disgusting stuff. I don't know why it changed. I hear a lot of people talking about Cindy Sheehan and she put the conversation front and center so that you couldn't turn your head or close your eyes. But I think it was all the stuff just emerging and she can became a focal point for the country because of everything that had been going on for a long time.

69) Sean, 34, Wisconsin: Did you hear Cynthia McKinney speak? I think that's a big part of the story. After 9/11 Bush was untouchable. Someone like Cynthia McKinney could lose her seat in Congress. You had strong people like her and you had weak people. Then in 2004, and Tom Daschle drove this home, you had the the fighters come back, the people who spoke their minds and then didn't turn around and apologize. But the weak ones who kept cowering like Daschle were gone. There's a message there. Cynthia McKinney's back in Congress without ever saying, "I am sorry for questioning King George." Daschle tried to have it every way, he tried to stand up, then he'd say he was wrong. People are sick of that. They're sick of getting excited and thinking, "Alright, get fighting" only to hear the apology a day or two later. Cynthia McKinney, that's the road map for how the Democrats come back. Fighting, standing firm and standing with the people. There's been too much cozying up to big business, too much trying to be Republican lite. I don't know if the message has sunk home in Congress, but that's the message.

70) Leeza, 23, college student, Illinois: It was all about the oil, George admitted it. Karl Rove did talk to the press about Valerie Plame, we know that now. Any statement they make, you wait long enough, and you find out that it's a falsehood, a lie and it's just this sense of, "When are they going to be called on it?" I'm here today for responsibility, acountability and to call for justice. The occupation has to end. Bring the troops home!

71) Gil, 34, travel agent: Who knows where this will end? Something's started, that's for sure. I hope people are in this for the long haul because this is a battle and you're going to need to be strong. Showing up for one march won't change anything. I think most people realize that. I think the country's turned the corner and won't fall back into knee jerk postures. But I worry about some of the people here and hope they realize that when the sun comes up tomorrow, George Bush won't be holding a press conference to announce the war is over. This is a powerful moment but we need a series of them. We've got elections next year and we can force this issue if we keep the heat on but I hope everyone gets that keeping the heat on means more than just showing up today. I was talking to this one guy and I was asking about who was speaking for him in Congress and he said he'd written off his senators and representative because they were in favor of the war. He needs to be calling, he needs to be writing, he needs to be visiting their offices and getting his friends to do the same. The pressure needs to be put on so that people up for re-election know this issue matters.

72) Harvey, 51, geologist: When peak oil's making it onto the business pages, there's a need to examine why we are really in Iraq. There's conversation we need to be having and as long as we accept the lie that we're there for democracy, we're putting the conversation on hold.

73) Terri, 40, mother of two: "Mothers unite! Stand up and fight!" That's my cheer. These are our kids. Because they signed a paper, George W. Bush has the last say? Don't think so. We carried these kids, we gave birth to them. That trumps the thirst for oil and war on the part of the administration. If every mother, no if only a portion of them, if they said, "You are my child and this is wrong. You should not be sent overseas to fight a war with a reason that changes every other month" the war would be over in a matter of minutes. "Mothers unite! Stand up and fight!"

74) Ivan, 62, Michigan: I think today is great and am thrilled with the turnout. I protested against the war on Vietnam and there it took us years to get the momentum going. What I worry about is where are the people? I don't mean the protestors, I'm really encouraged with the cross-section today. But, okay, you've got Cindy Sheehan. Great spokesperson. Ralph Nader's here and maybe he can make up for the recent past or maybe not, but he's here. The actress from Tootsie and Cape Fear, right Jessica Lange. She's here and I didn't remember her name but she really did give a great speech. I'm glad those people are here. But we need more.
And in my day, the people had others. Yes, we had Jane Fonda, Fred Gardner, Joan Baez, Tom Hayden and others front and center. But you also had people backing it up. Like Bob Dylan. I think he went to one protest with Joan Baez for civil rights. But his songs backed up what his actions didn't. Or you turned on Dick Cavett or David Frost and there was an author or singer or someone and they weren't at the protests but they'd put it on the line and they'd say, like John Phillips [Mamas and the Papas] that the war was wrong. I caught Jane Fonda on David Letterman, when her book came out. And he asked her about the war and she said she was against it and the audience just went crazy with applause and cheers. But are there younger people doing that? Is it just people my age? Maybe there are and I just don't know them. But part of the reason the movement finally did end the war is that our cultural heroes were willing to speak out. You hear a lot of that sneering "You're a celebrity, shut up" talk and that's really fearing the power if they do speak out. With Vietnam, and this isn't a full list, just names that come to mind, you had Joan Baez and Jane Fonda front and center, but you also had Phil Ochs, you had the whole Mamas & the Papas, you had John Lennon, Mia Farrow, Tim Hardin, Laura Nyro, Peter Fonda, Crosby, Stills & Nash, Joni Mitchell, Jim Morrison, Janis [Joplin], the Rolling Stones, Grace Slick and the [Jefferson] Airplane, this whole list of people. And you had people my age and younger and we weren't that different from kids today, we thought about what was in front of us. So when you have these people that you watch or listen to talking about it, it put it front and center. There were a lot of priests and a lot of Quakers and a lot of really solid activists who worked and gave their time to ending the war. But what kept it on the front page was a) real reporting with real photos and b) the fact that you couldn't escape it. You turned on the TV to escape but there was some entertainer talking about it. It was front and center. Now maybe there are people doing that today. I don't watch much TV now. Maybe if I turned on Letterman every night, I'd see some young people coming on to talk about a movie or TV show and I'd hear them speak out against the war. But I really don't get the sense that's happening.
The right spent a lifetime demonizing Jane Fonda. There's a reason for that. They want to make sure no one else is tempted to use their power. They're scared of what would happen if entertainers really started throwing their weight around and making the people buying tickets or records think about this war.

75) Lila, 55, Iowa: I know your site. "Make Room For Bully" said it all. We've got a Bully Boy administration that's bullying the world and we'll be paying the price for it long after the Bully Boy leaves the White House for some prime spot on the board of Bechtel. It's all about the money and the greed and the power. We're seeing a change in that before it was okay that Bully Boy sent Americans to die to help his friends make a few more millions. People didn't want to think he was anything but the "compassionate conservative." Now they know better. He's a valet to the modern day robber barons.

76) Victoria, 30, bank clerk, Maryland: I feel like we had no control of the election and I still wonder about Ohio. Bush says the vote means people were voting for the war and I don't agree with that. So anyway I can make my own voice heard to say this war is wrong, I will take part. A lot of people are alive now because of Downing Street Memo or Cindy Sheehan and that's all great but my reason for being opposed has always been about the fact that the war is illegal. You have just wars and you have unjust wars. These are concepts that predate this nation and they're beliefs that I take seriously. It wasn't just a war of choice, it was a war of lust. Choice implies that there were two options: go to war with Iraq or don't. Like a coin was flipped. But this was lust. A desire not just for war but for war on everything humanity has been based on and built upon.

77) Oliver, 21, journalism major: Because I want to see it before the press lies. The press will lie. They've got a lot vested in this. It's not just Judy Miller of The New York Times who lied. Go through the archives of The Los Angeles Times and not all the unnamed sources claiming links between Iraq and al Qaeda. A lot of people are covering for a lot of unnamed sources. I think the press should go through and name every "administration source." I think a good project would be for every journalism class around the country to pick one newspaper and go through their pre-war reporting from September of 2003 until the invasion starts in March. Go through, count up the unnamed sources, note the claims, see how much was wrong and then demand that the people who gave out false information deliberately under the cloak of anonymity be named publicly.

78) Stan, 57, musician: I'm here for the new Howard Levys. Howard Levy said no to war. These days you got Kevin Benderman and Camilo Mejia and some other but you don't seem to have the same force behind them. Where's the Ramparts of today? Don't tell me online. Everybody online is interested in schilling for a party. We need to resist the occupation and we need to applaud those who resist. I'm real sick of "liberal" radio with their Al Franken and his war cries no one ever calls him on. He's a war hawk. Now that he's too old to serve. It's the Democratic Radio, it's not about what's right or what's wrong but what position they can sell you. I look for brave voices and I don't see any. Maybe this will change that.

79) Doug, 48, Penn.: Because I am excited. I think that this is a battle we can win if we fight. I don't know about the environment. I'm an environmentalist and people seem to be so disconnected to the realities of how our actions have impacts now and in the future. I'm depressed. I hear some press report about how "clean" nuclear energy is and I think, "Didn't we fight that battle, and win it, in the seveneties?" It's depressing in a lot of ways. You don't stop. You keep pressing forward. But you lose the zeal and hope you had. You do what you do because it's important and accept that maybe you'll be heard and maybe you won't. But here, today, this is exciting and it gives me hope because when people gather together to say no to war, it gets them thinking about other things. And I really love the way Hurricane Katrina is part of this. It's talked about, you see banners. Maybe it will get some interested in the environment and maybe they can inject some life into the environmental movement.

80) Hope, 24, San Diego: This is an American nightmare. On levels we don't even grasp. The lies are so much deeper than getting us over there. It includes Abu Ghraib, it includes Falluja. The troops are touched by the inhumanity, we all are. And the criminal isn't Lynndie England, it's George W. Bush who gave the orders for this war, who has encouraged the destruction of humanity.

81) Devon, 33, postal worker: Arizona: Because this war has been staged managed and the illusions have crumbled. We spent, my money and your money, $1 and 1/2 million dollars to create this press center over in Qatar and the whole purpose was so [Vincent] Brooks could hand out one lie after another and the press would hang around there and not get the real stories. Now we're shooting at journalists and I don't buy that it's an accident. There's reality and it will get into the news at some point. When it does, the entire nation will be calling for impeachment.

82) Beau, 30, production: When you realize that "bunker busters" and all the other new weapons are reported on dryly and that most people aren't getting how dangerous the new "family" of weapons is going to be . . . It's put up or shut up time. You say no to the war now or you get ready for the coming wars that will be so much worse. "Mini-nukes" will be on the horizon. Hiroshima will become common place.

83) Nikoli, 21, college student, Texas: My church is against the war, my family's against the war. Coming here might have been a hard thing to do in March, now it's no sweat and that's the change.

84) Fred, small business owner, farmer: It's a prarie fire. It's this one little spark that hit the dry area and it just lit the whole country. I'm from a small town. Bush probably thinks it's Bush country, but you got people facing bills and they got kids they won't be able to send to college and things aren't better after five years, we're getting screwed now more than ever. I own a feedstore and the old boys hang out there drinking coffee and just shooting the breeze. They're retired and they should be Bush people. They started off that way but it's changed. I don't know if we were right or wrong to go war but I know it sure should have ended a long time ago. I'm here with my daughter and two of her friends because this is the first thing she's ever really been interested in other than drill team. I like seeing her think for herself. She's against the war and thinks we were wrong to go over to Iraq. Like I said, I don't know about that. But I do know we've been there too long. It's one country and we took out Saddam so what are we still there for? We can agree on that, me and my daughter. Bush's father sent a message to Saddam but Bush seems to want to own Iraq and I think that's wrong.

85) Art, 32, New York: Ralph Nader's here. Ralph Nader's talked about our oil consumption for years and how we've been held hostage by it. This war is about oil and Nader's here because he should be. I'm here because this is about truth. And to applaud Nader.

86) Vira, 60, South Carolina: War is needed when you're attacked. You defend yourself then. Iraq didn't attack us. But we attacked them. I came up from South Carolina in my Dodge to be here and to say that the war is wrong. If Bush don't want to hear it, that's his problem but the war is wrong and the troops need to come hom.

87) Benny, 17, high school student: For the first time it feels like maybe a difference can come. We're studying about government and it really seems wild and out there but it's about us and I guess Cindy Sheehan drives that point home to me. So I am here for that reason and the change is that people wake up and you can see it in my class. We're debating and discussing what does free speech mean and what are your duties to be an American and stuff that I have never taken time to think on and it just seems real and connected to me. Maybe it's selfish and all too because we got the guys on campus goin, "Sign up and we'll take care of you. Free college." All these promises and you ask about war and like injuries and they don't talk about it. They brush you off or say, "You just watch out for yourself and you're fine." And I bet the 1900 men and women who are dead were watching out but that didn't save them. So it's just a lot to think about and maybe having government this year drives it home.

88) Megan, 20, college student: I am the anti-Cokie Roberts. That's what my button says. I do not "lose" it over a man with ribbons on his chest. I don't think it makes him "Mister America" and I certainly don't want to sit through the swimsuit competition on that. My button focuses on Cokie Roberts. I think we all need to adopt a media person. A lot of people have Judy Miller [New York Times reporter] but I feel like Cokie should be just as popular as Judy and maybe more popular because she's a big liar. Sometimes she's honest. Like when asked about opposition to the war and she responded "None that mattered." Or like when she gushes about those men with ribbons to David Lettermn. I picked Cokie because she's the uglier Howard Stern. She's queen of all media, print, TV and radio. My goal is to make sure everyone I know hears of Cokie and that we can end up with her off the air at some point. And then, when she breaks a leg and the vet shoots her, we'll all be able to say, "Stop the tributes, she was a horrid woman." This came to me two weeks ago and I've already gotten two other people to adopt a "news" person. Juan Williams [NPR & Fox "News"] and this guy who lied on the battle in Falluja. Yeah, Dexter Filkins! I didn't even know who he was. But my friend Tabitha said she'd pick him and now she goes around explaining that Dexter Filkins was in Falluja, hiding behind the G.I.'s, peeking between their legs, but never saw any of the innocent people who got slaughtered. I think we all need to adopt a media person. We could make a deck of trading cards, like the Pentagon with Iraq. Only we should be cooler than that and make it like Pokemon or something my little brother would play with. Like Cokie would have the jowls of death, she already has the jowls, and that would be her power. And we could play the card game and get the word out at the same time. I think the media is responsible, as responsible, for us being in Iraq as George Bush. I think we need to call out those in power and we need to make sure that three years on down the line when they're offering more "information" we're there screaming, "You lied before! You lied before!" I really think we can bring the troops home but I do worry that they'll just end up being sent somewhere else. The way to stop that is to call out the war propaganders and make sure people know. I've been stopped by about 30 people this morning asking why my button said, "HI, I'M THE ANTI-COKIE ROBERTS"? So I think it makes a difference. I think liars need to be outed. And if we did that, if we really did that and not just focused on Judy Miller, I think the next crop would think twice about schilling for the government. Sure, it would get them "scoops" quickly but they'd realize that there was a cost to lying for the powerful.

89) Brody, 19 :More people here, more chance this could get some attention from the lazy media. Didn't want to sit at home complaining about how it wasn't covered when I should be down here attending, adding one more body so that when it's in the papers, I can not just say, "That ain't how it was" but I can also say, "I was there, they weren't."

90) Ben-Ak, 27, activist: To fight the power with truth and tear down the lies. The system's corrupt, they just know how to market it better. Fight they hype, fight the spin. Need the sunshine of reality for that. You got the sun shining here. You know what they do at a boys school if they have an outbreak of lice? Take all the mattresses, hose 'em down, sit 'em out in the sun. Know why? Kills the lice. Lot more sunshine needed to stop all the lice in the system.

91) Ethan, 28, California: They ignored us before the war, but we're back and we'll keep coming back. They thought they could dimiss us as "poll groups" and steamroll their war without any consquences but that's not been the case. Their own "poll groups" now demonstrate that America has turned against the war. This isn't niche, this isn't fringe, this is what America wants, bring the troops home.

92) Nadia, 34 :Because Bush has given away my future and I don't want us to be stuck paying the costs forever. I think we'll be paying the cost for three or four generations. The costs will be the huge debt we're running up to fight this war, the hostilities we're breeding in the international community that will haunt and harm us, and the costs to the environment. For instance, I can't imagine that if fumes from cars hurts the ozone that all the bombing we're doing in Iraq helps any. I want kids and when my children are adults and ask me how did all this happen, I want to be able to hold my head high and say that I did my part to stop this madness.

93) Johnny, 25, law student: The Pentagon gets $400 billion and we always have money for war, we just don't have money for peace. Now we're seeing we don't even have the money to tend to the wounded. We do a lot of lousy things but I've never heard of such a desire to screw the returning soldier. Talk to my girlfriend.

94) Debbie, 24, law student: Thanks. Johnny knows this is my big gripe. What does "support the troops" mean to all those people blindly mouthing that slogan? It looks like it means, "Don't you criticize my president!" It doesn't mean demand that the wounded are treated, demand that the families of those serving have a decent life, it doesn't mean support the guy who came forward with the photos of Abu Ghraib. It's attack, attack while waiving their "support the troops" signs and ribbons. The only meaning that slogan has is "Support the President." People should be ashamed.

95) Jamie, 28, publishing: Well it's all hitting the fan, isn't it? I wanted to take part. There's a feeling that things are about to change. I work with people who wanted to be here but didn't think it prudent so they're awaiting my "from the front lines" report. I'll tell them the crowd was large, motivated and focused.

96) Gaylen, 22, free lance illustrator: Because somebody pulled the plug on the media after it spent a decade in a coma or chasing down sex tales. You'll get more truth and information here than sitting in front of CNN for 24 hours straight. People are starting to realize who they can trust and who just claims to be looking out for them.

97) Matt, 32, trucker: Ready to draw a line in the sand. Finally. Sick of all the lies and sick of hearing Rush Limbaugh and the rest lie and get away with it. I'm on the road, I hear all the shows and the lies get deeper and deeper and the attacks worse and worse so I'm hear drawing the line and saying where I stand. Change is people have had enough.

98) Helen, 77, former accountant, 5 children, 12 grandchildren: It's about saying "Charlie, you ain't fooling me" and standing up the way everyone my age should be. We're old. We know the score. We've seen it all before. I see some people my age but not enough. No excuse for more of us not to be out here.

99) J.T., 15, high school student: To be part of a new America where we get back to what we are supposed to stand for, that's my reason for being here. I'm here with my sister Jessica and her boyfriend and we are really excited that this not just like a day but a complete transformation where people will start saying to the government, "You work for me and don't you forget it."

100) Tami & Rhonda, 17, 16: Oh my God!
Tami: This is so exciting! It has been so wild since last time! Our parents are all against the war now!
Rhonda: My father.
Tami: Right, Rhonda's father. My parents, her father.
Rhonda: My mother's still drinking from the Kool Aid. But we're here with my father and her parents.
Tami: So keep it down low about March!
Rhonda: I can't believe it's been a year.
Tami: Six months.
Rhonda: Go count on your fingers, I'm talking about serious stuff. My father is completely against the war. This is my weekend with him which is how come we're here. He asked me Wednesday what I wanted to do and I was hinting around that Tami and her parents were coming and not really expecting much, you know, so when he said we could go, I was just blown away.
Tami: She couldn't stop squealing over the phone. So let me tell you about my parents. My mother, wait. Let me explain that Downing Street Memos changed everything in my house. My mother tries to play it like it was no surprise to her and I'm all lilke, "Rewrite history, why don't you?" but not saying it out loud, you know. But my father --
Rhonda: It was like something out of The OC! You won't believe it.
Tami: Back in April, my older brother Heath mistook the mall parking lot for bumper cars. It was raining, and he totally creamed this parked car, the whole side just caved in. So he calls and we all have to go up there because what if he's hurt? So we get there and Dad gets one look at the car Heath hit, then one look at Heath's car and he hits the roof. I have never seen, what do you call it, what do you call it?
Rhonda: Chords on the neck.
Tami: Chords on the neck bulge like that. I mean he was furious. And that was the worst I have ever seen my father when he is angry. So like, in May, Dad's heard the Downing Street Memo thing on the radio at work. And he comes home and he is just not saying a word. Mom goes, "Dinner's ready" and Dad's all, "I'm not hungry, leave me alone." He's just sitting in the living room and like the TV's not on or anything. He's just sitting in there.
So Mom's all, "Heath, what have you done this time?" And Heath's all, "I didn't do a damn thing." And Mom's like, "Don't you curse at my dinner table!" So Mom goes that she's going to go talk to Dad and we should just stay in here and eat our dinner.
So we're trying to hear and I'm picking at my mac & cheese and we can hear Mom whispering stuff and we have no idea what. And then all the sudden we hear Dad scream, "They fucking lied, Beth Ann!"
Rhonda: Which is so weird because her father never curses. Like one time, he hit his thumb with a hammer really hard and it was bleeding and all he said was "Oh my, oh my" over and over and you could tell he really wanted to finish that but he didn't.
Tami: Right. I mean it was so freaking wild. Heath and I were just sitting at the dinner table with our mouths wide open! We were all, "Did Dad just drop the f-word?" Then Dad's hollering for us to come into the living room and Mom's telling us to stay at the table and Dad says, "No, get in the damn living room." F-word, damn, it was just like I was in someone else's house. So we go running into the living room and Dad is pissed. I mean like more pissed than when Heath wrecked the car. And he is marching all over and his face is all red. He turns to Heath and he goes, "Do you know about DSM?" And Heath is all, "I don't care who said it, I don't have a sexually transmitted dieseae!" Heath is my brother but he is so out of it.
Rhonda: He's so stupid. But he's so cute.
Tami: Ew! He is not cute! So Dad has to do this whole remedial ed thing for Heath to bring him up to speed and then Dad tells us that the government lied to us. He goes that is a very serious thing.
Rhonda: And your dad voted for Bush.
Tami: Don't. Remind. Me. So he is like that if someone lies to you like this, they do not deserve your respect and they have betrayed the country and betrayed the office and betrayed the citizens. It was so intense.
Rhonda: Her life is like The OC!
Tami: Well not all the time. I mean usually it's just all, "sit up straight," "turn that music down," and "it's too late to be on the phone, young lady!" But oh, it was something that night.
Rhonda: So now it's like everything has changed.
Tami: We can't believe it. And here we are at another rally and this time we didn't have to sneak out and our parents actually brought us. Road trip!
Rhonda: And we think that's like reflective of the country at large.
Tami: So true. It's like everybody just woke up all the sudden!
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