In the FAR Future-verse, this episode & the last one are only a day apart, so I thought it would be proper to post them a day apart…
Tuesday, November 20, 2012
Words fail me, but I’ll try. I’m still way too worked up about what happened. I’m sure footage will get to YouTube or VideoNation soon — if you didn’t see it, you really have to. I’ll try to describe it here, but you have to see the video. You just have to.
Mrs. Fetched had the TV on — didn’t matter what channel; all the Atlanta stations were carrying this. The “militia” were camped out around the Capitol building itself, and up and down the streets — except on MLK Blvd, which tells you pretty much everything you need to know — and spilled into the parking deck. The National Guard blocked through traffic and let the militia camp in the middle of the street — one of the officers said they had consulted with the city government, and they agreed that it would be the best way to avoid disrupting a wider area. The reprehensibles weren’t bothering to come in; they teleconference most of the time like everyone else anyway, but some said they were “hearing the message.”
On the evening news last night, they interviewed street vendors who were selling food, drinks, sweaters, caps, even socks and underwear, to the campers. It doesn’t matter what happens, someone will find a way to turn a buck off it, right? A lot of the vendors are black, and they think the campers are bleep bleep and bleeeep, but the money is still green. I guess. The campers didn’t seem to care either way; they were just glad someone was making it easier on them.
Again, I digress. The counter-demonstrators convened at the Georgia State campus, just up the road, and planned to march down Courtland, around the square, then back up Piedmont to the campus. Some of the TV crews (including the news personalities) set up on the roofs of the Capitol Museum and the State Supreme Court building, but some camera crews put themselves right down in the action. One of the newsies said, “we’re hearing the counter-demonstrators are on their way now,” and everyone started standing up. The Capitol Police had cleared the middle of the streets to make room for the marchers, and the militia types were thronging the edges, trying to get a look.
Then they came, in their hundreds and tens of hundreds. Carrying luminaries and singing, “God Bless America.” Go find the video — it was just stunning. Not the marchers themselves, but the effect it had on the militia. You have to remember, these guys were brought up on God and Country — and whatever beef they had with the latter, they hadn’t been completely de-programmed. Some of them stood at attention, others sang along… and they all put down their guns. I hope you get to see the clip where one red-faced yahoo started chanting whatever they’d planned on, and everyone around him turned and stared him down until he just left. There’s another clip where you can see some of the guys shouldering their arms and… well, changing sides, joining the marchers. Mrs. Fetched and I both teared up, and so did a lot of the militia guys. The leaders were camped in front of the Capitol, across from the Supreme Court building, and the crew across the street got a “priceless” shot — those guys looked like they were watching their best friends wearing pink tutus and practicing ballet. The newscasters were somehow imbued with a clue, and just let the cameras roll. Or maybe they were choked up too.
It was over in 15 minutes. The marchers went through, crossed MLK again, and headed back toward the campus — still singing. The militia guys started packing their stuff. The reporter found his voice and said (I taped it & am transcribing): “This is surely a historic moment. I — I don’t have words to describe what just happened here today, and I’m not sure I could add anything to what we’ve just seen. It appears that the ‘Citizen Militia’ is dispersing — most of them are packing their things and some of them are following the marchers up Capitol Avenue, possibly to the Georgia State MARTA station.
“Wait… we take you now to the militia’s Field Headquarters, in front of the Capitol building.”
They cut over to a young black woman (pretty in that way that transcends race, a must for urban TV news) interviewing one of the leaders. He was already talking: “—a success, overall. I have to admit I was surprised at the tactics of the counter-demonstrators, but the Assembly has received our message and I expect we’ll prevail when it comes to a vote.”
And just like that, the magic faded back into the banality of a typical live newscast.
Unfortunately, the Secession Question doesn’t appear to have been answered — or maybe now it’s less answered than before. The evening news opened with it tonight. A lot of closed-door discussions have been going on over the last week, in violation of who knows how many sunshine laws, and (being run by goplets) probably off the transcripts entirely. Debates are going on across the Old South, at least from South Carolina to Louisiana, and in parts of the mountain west. More rumors, some online, others officially denied: Congress is negotiating with various state reps about home rule; the Guard in certain states are being put under national command; the Navy is stationing task groups out to sea but close to certain seaports; the pipelines could get nationalized or shut down. Despite what happened today, we’re not much closer to holding hands and singing Kumbayah than we were before.