THE ANGRY MOB
I didn’t really want to go, I’m not really that into politics. I figured I might get a few good pictures out of it, and that’s all it really takes to motivate me these days. “Hey Barry, wanna shoot this college graduation?”, me: “nah…it’s not my thing, I’m a Street Photographer.” them: “oh yeah? well you might get a few good pictures out of it…” me:awww… okay I guess…”
So going to my local women’s march this past Saturday was nothing political to me, it was just a chance to get a few good pictures. But something happened while I was there. The anguish of the people affected me. Their need to express themselves was overwhelming. Their fears about tomorrow, mixed with the resurrection of hippie objections, exploded into a global love fest where lost souls could comfort themselves.
I just walked around and caught as much as I could. I admit I broke down crying a couple of times from being among so many people worried about the future. The power of the masses mobilized in protest was an inspiring sight and an empowering event.
This message of “… don’t fuck with our freedoms won, because there are more of us than you…” was so powerful that all I could do is document what these people needed to have happen now. Document a little piece of what was going on all around the world on that day.
For some it was a party. A reason to meet for breakfast and a destination to go to afterwards on a beautiful sunny Saturday. For others it was a venue to remind the pollyanna public that some bad shit went down this past year…
I know this sounds a little weird, but my camera sort of had a mind of its own, capturing images in weird ways, with weird settings and odd displays. Part barbecue, part outdoor shopping mall, part stroll at the marina, and part protest, the masses gathered.
I saw this beautiful family entering the park where the protesters gathered before they marched. A serious family with a serious sign about how Black Lives Matter… entered just as I was there… then I heard them say, :…it’s still early yet… why don’t we go out for breakfast…” and they promptly tucked their sign under their arm, turned around and went in search of coffee…
Even the most rebellious of braless women needed to take pause with her protest in order to check her texts…
Older ladies from times gone by remembered the joy of flower power, and relished the opportunity to come out and play again. But at the same time reeked of the absurdity as they wondered why they need to do this again. Wasn’t this settled? Didn’t we make progress and move on since then?
Sure, there are lots of retired old hippies down in Florida. Though the statistics wiggle a little here and there, the general gist is that 10,000 baby boomers enter retirement everyday… and will continue to do so for the next 20 years.
At the same time new families are being made with new moms and dads worrying about the same things their parents fought for so many years ago.
And the part party, part protest continued as groups of old gals gathered on a bench to talk about things new and things old.
Classic Rock and Helen Reddy lyrics find new relevance at the protest picnic.
Occasionally I’d see a sign or a protester that would gut me. Grandmas marching for their grand-babies. White gals preaching the words of the Reverend Martin Luther King. All while wearing funny hats and shielding their faces from sun burn.
Mothers teaching their daughters to stand up for their rights made me cry. On one hand why should they have to do that. On the other hand the privileges of our freedom should never be something that one feels they are entitled to. If not nurtured, if not kept vital, it will atrophy and wither away.
The day reminded me to thank our villains and nemesis, for with out their provocation we will lose our edge, forget our drive, and roll over and enslave ourselves in exchange for someone rubbing our belly or scratching us behind the ear.
It was a good day. An intense day, but a good one. And yeah, I got a few good shots. But the exposure to the mob reminded me that even though power corrupts absolutely, a mighty crowd will mobilize in an instant in opposition, unless their voices are heard.