We knew Jason Bell, Mike Badges-Canning and the other members of Tour de Frack had reached D.C. a few days earlier, had done some lobbying at the Department of Energy, and we figured they were either resting (not likely) or (more likely) pitching in with preparations for STOP THE FRACK ATTACK.
So when I noticed the program schedule had changed a little from the original version, and that the event would end with a “march,” I thought oh, Jason and Mike do like them a march, and I figured that meant a leisurely stroll from the Capitol lawn across the street and down a block or two to a little gas company office near our hotel. I was WRONG, by a mile. Probably more like a mile and a half.
Event organizers had obtained the permits, arranged for police escort and traffic blocking, water and ice “drops” along the route, and all that goes with enabling a throng of thousands of very purposeful, but very peaceful citizens to exercise their right to demonstrate. Tour de Frack led the parade on their bikes, blocks and blocks full of us followed, filling the avenues and boulevards chanting, laughing, cavorting and having a wonderful time. A double-decker bus and a van with a canoe from the Delaware strapped to its top, closed ranks at the “end” of the parade.
Our ranks seemed to swell as we went along, perhaps with people who hadn’t wanted to be out in the sun earlier, but in some cases, by people who joined ranks from the sidewalk. People in stopped cars honked and waved their solidarity with our cause. Even a few of the police officers stationed along the route expressed gratitude for what we were doing.
We saw a lot of DC, and a lot of people in DC that Saturday saw and heard us.
Too bad none of the major networks saw fit to air any footage of this massive example of democracy in action. Too busy covering the Olympics perhaps, but you know what? Those athletes run on water just like the rest of us. And if people don’t wake up soon and start demanding protection of our water and air, athletic competition will be the last thing on anyone’s mind.