Monday, May 08, 2006

Activist humor

On Sunday I participated in the annual Heart of the Beast Puppet Theater Mayday Parade. This is a mostly fun, hippy-type event, rather than a political activity. But after all the earth-friendly, puppety goodness marchers, there is a "Free Speech Zone" that political groups can join. Since it's an election year, lots of local politicians were there. But there were also various activist organizations included Military Families Speak Out and Veterans for Peace. I decided to march with the Anti-War Committee this year. They had flags from all over the world. I carried a "Free Palestine" flag, but we also had flags from Iraq, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Colombia, Mexico and a Rainbow flag.

There's always a huge period of waiting for the march to take off since we're asked to come early and we're at the end of the march. There's usually several thousand participants. We tried to practice a couple of flag routines, but we were too silly to pull it off. At one point we just started having fake sword fights with the flags.

All of a sudden a woman from an ethnic dance group came running up to us and said, "I see all this international fighting going on and I believe we need a represenative from the United Nations here. I shall be that representative and I shall stand here observing and doing nonthing productive. Carry on!"

She had us all rollling with laughter. What a fun, spontaneous thing to do! But that's really what the event is all about. A time to have fun and support our cause.

An odd thing happened this year, though. I've been attending Mayday parades for almost 20 years and this is the first year I've run into people I work with. They all gave me huge hugs. We don't talk politics at work, much, so I never know who is an activist and who is not. But I also believe that more people are politically active this year than in the past. And that's a good thing.