Support the Government!
Yep, Dorothy, we're definitely not in the '60s anymore. Forty years ago, nongovernmental groups and individual activists arranged mass marches to protest actions by their government. In the first decade of this new century, however, things are a little different. These days, the government itself arranges mass protests to support ... the government.
Wow, the times certainly are a-changin'. To exploit the anniversary of 9/11, the Defense Department organized a March for Freedom this last Sunday, apparently in support of itself and its employees. The event took place on the Mall in Washington, D.C. Thousands attended. Clint Black sang some patriotic songs. Donald Rumsfeld posed in front of an adoring crowd.
The Defense Department's America Supports You program, launched in November of last year, organized the event. Press reports indicated that the parade route was sealed off to vehicles and even individuals who had not registered with the department by the Friday prior to the march.
During the actual event, our Secretary of Defense said, "This is our first March for Freedom and by the size of the crowd, I suspect it will not be the last." A spokesperson for the event estimated the size of the crowd at approximately 17,000 people. Department of Defense materials indicated that next year the Pentagon plans to organize such marches in all 50 states.
It's the kind of thing you might expect in a place like, say—oh, I don't know—maybe Cuba? China? North Korea? What the hell is going on here? What a bizarre abuse of the anniversary of 9/11.