Here are some of the pictures that I took in front of the White House. With both the Witness Against Torture group and the Peaceable Assembly campaign, I spent quite a bit of time in front of the White House, both in good weather and bad. We mostly held up various signs calling for an end to the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Sometimes tourists wanted to be photographed with us. In one photograph, a former member of Pakistan’s Parliament stood with five participants in the Peaceable Assembly campaign. In another, Chinese high school students are seen busily taking pictures. One Chinese student is seen posing with Ceylon behind a sign that says, “Stop War Spending.” The Chinese students were in the United States to participate in a model United Nations. The White House also attracts characters, such as the man in the hat who is holding the stick. He puts on a regular, though wordless, performance, using that stick as a baton. I don’t know much about him. What message is he trying to convey? I have no idea. But he comes regularly to perform.
When I first started participating in the White House vigils, I saw a man dressed in a superhero type cape, who marched up and down the sidewalk. He was holding a sign and yelling about taxes or something to that effect. Unfortunately, I didn’t take his picture. He was a bit fashion challenged. I thought that his costume was a tad on the excessive side.
On my last day in front of the White House, the police announced that the sidewalk was “closed.” They enforced their “closure” by blowing whistles and yelling at hapless pedestrians who were too unobservant to notice the yellow caution tape strung at either end of the “closed portion” of the sidewalk. The startled pedestrians leaped off of the sidewalk like scared rabbits, causing the police to laugh hysterically. It was apparent that the police were having way too much fun. One of the cops asked a passerby if he had ever been in prison. I thought that was kind of an odd question to ask. The cop then told the man, “We have your picture. And we have the pictures of everyone who is here.” Um. Oh my. If that is true, the police have far too much free time on their hands. They need to do something more productive, such as mop and sweep the police station.
But, when we left, we told the police that this was the last day of our vigil. One of the police officers said, “We’ll see you later.” He was one of the nicer ones. I thanked him and he said, “Thank you.”