Wednesday, July 19, 2006

A day in Washington, D.C.

Outside the White House, equipment is set up for the next "photo op"

Participants in CODEPINK's "Troops Home Fast"

In spite of their obviously weakened condition, they had spent the day visiting Representatives' offices in the Sam Rayburn House Office Building. Their intent is to personally deliver their message to every Representative.

CODEPINK has been one of the most tireless organizations focused on extracting our troops from Iraq and ending the senseless bloodshed. We each must find our own way to participate.

At the CODEPINK "Troops Home Fast" in Lafayette Park

Seated in the center of the above photo (pink tank top), is Diane Wilson. A shrimper by trade, Diane has faced some of the biggest chemical companies in the nation, forcing them to stop dumping toxics into the Gulf of Mexico. She wrote a book about it, An Unreasonable Woman.

Since May 14th, Jay McGinley has maintained a vigil across from the White House in Lafayette Park.

Jay is protesting the utter silence from the Administration regarding the genocide in Darfur, Sudan. On July 4th, he escalated the vigil to a hunger strike, and when I met him on July 19th, despite temperatures hovering near 100, Jay had desperately undertaken a water-only fast. This is not the act of a fanatic, but that of an heroic individual trying to awaken some trace of conscience in the American psyche.

Opposite the White House, this "peace vigil" has been maintained for 26 YEARS!

(You may have seen this woman in Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 911.) It was over 95 degrees this day, literally baking on the pavement where she is seated.

I had first walked to the White house south side, near The Ellipse. When I asked a White House police officer where I could find the "CODEPINK demonstration", he responded "Oh, Jesus!" Then he reluctantly acknowledged "I think it's on the north side."

I then approached a Secret Service agent near one of the parking lot gates and, just for fun, asked him. With barely-concealed disgust, he vaguely stated "it's on the other side."

Walking around to the north, I was surprised to find fewer tourists here, and much closer views of the White House. Pennsylvania Avenue, barricaded along this block, is now open to pedestrian traffic.

The White House south side

Crowds of tourists near the White house are closely-managed.

This 50-yard stretch of fence offers the only view from the south. Though the street is closed off to traffic, visitors are confined by White House police to the narrow sidewalk.

The National Gallery of Art website tells us "Ginevra de' Benci would have been about sixteen when she posed for this portrait, which was probably commissioned by her family to mark her engagement. Her painter was the aspiring artist Leonardo da Vinci, then twenty-two years old..."

At The National Gallery in Washington, one of Rembrandt's most profound self-portraits

Rembrandt self-portrait (detail)


Jay McGinley said...

Hi friend!

Magnificent pictures on your site!

It is actually the silence of the people of the world that I am trying reverse - you, me, my fellow Americans. WE, our silence has ALWAYS been the reason for Genocide going uninterrupted.

Updates to the effort can be found at

The worldwide day of action for Darfur is September 17th. Details at, and

Agape, Jay

timtraveler said...

Thank you Jay for the praise, but mostly for your actions.

I may see you in September, as I may be back in the Washington area once again (hopefully for the 17th.)