Reflections on returning to the scene
I am blogging from the Starbucks at Pioneer Courthouse Square in downtown Portland via WiFi for the first time in a long time. I filed some dispatches about the protests against the war in Iraq from here the last times I used this location. The atmosphere is totally different today. Not only is it summer in the Pacific Northwest, which folks go gaga over because of the bleakness of fall and winter weather, it is Rose Festival time. Most people in the rest of the country would probably say 'Pasadena' if they were asked what the Rose City is. But, it is actually Portland, which was the site pf the original test gardens for rose horticulture. Each year that status is commemorated with weeks of festivities, culminating in the crowning of the Rose Festival Queen. Downtown becomes crowded. Children, which there are few of in my singles neighborhood, appear in droves. Sailors, too. That is what I am experiencing now.
So, what about the protesters? I find myself wondering how many of the shoppers and celebrants were also protesters. Now that the war is a fait accompli, have they lost interest in Iraq altogether or compartamentalized it? Back when I was writing about the protests here, which were some of the largest in the nation, someone chided me for juxtaposing describing demonstrations with a trip to the Gap. I considered both venues part of the same story. While in the mall, I observed the heightened security and the smaller than usual population of shoppers. That was as much about what was going on in America during March and April as the people being arrested on the Morrison Bridge was.
Still, I had been too oriented toward my writing and my blogging to bother with a shopping trip until today, despite a shortage of summer clothes. Does that make me less concerned about the fate of Muslim immigrants and accused terrorists in America or what may become colonization of the Iraqis? I want George W. Bush out of office and the Iraqis in control of their country. But, I needed some shorts and tee shirts. That is the way real life is.