“Five hundred thousand people gathered on the National Mall beneath the five hundred-foot-tall Masonic phallus dedicated to the memory of George Washington…”
Five hundred thousand people gathered on the National Mall beneath the five hundred-foot-tall Masonic phallus dedicated to the memory of George Washington. They waved placards and shouted slogans calling for more government-funded jobs programs, the resignation of the president, and free money—and why not? The cronies had all gotten theirs. How about some cash for the great unwashed? These middle-class people were reeling; they were economic refugees from the unabated financial crises that had wiped out their savings, increased prices fifty times over, and wrecked their lives. Some hurled curses and raged, but the vast majority stood quietly and politely clapped as each speaker got up at the podium before the reflecting pond and actualized their “I have a dream” moments. No media was present and the demonstration was invisible to the rest of the country. When their permit expired at 8 p.m., battalions of Americorps and mounted police in riot gear converged, hosing the protesters down with skunk water and tossing flashbang grenades into the clusters of humanity. By 10 p.m., it was all over, and an army of migrant workers and garbage trucks was on scene cleaning up the mess left behind. Suffice it to say, the peaceful demonstration failed to convince the president to resign.