1) Now as the world knows, I'd much prefer to be engaged in our nation's political processes from the comfort of my own home. "But," as Boris Lermontov memorably said in The Red Shoes, "I'm afraid that great pleasure must be denied me." I felt strongly enough about small children being separated from their families by Immigration and Customs Enforcement that I needed to "vote with my feet," and be present at today's rally on the subject.
1a) It's worth adding that the announcement of Justice Kennedy's retirement from the Supreme Court, while unrelated to immigration, also motivated me to attend.
2) So equipped with two bottles of water, sunblock that may have expired, and my uncle Bill's 60-year-old Doctor Zhivago paperback, off I went to Haymarket.
3) Waiting for a friend to meet me at Boston Public Market (the "safe" version of Haymarket for suburbanites, where the artisanal is worshiped to veneration) a good omen: very brief chat with a passing professional colleague who is an Old Hand at This Sort of Thing.
3a) I deliberately chose not to latch on to a group (e.g. GLAD, ACLU) to give myself freedom of movement.
4) My friend Alan and I ankled over to City Hall Plaza, completely innocent of shade on one of the hottest days of the year so far. We first stood at the very back under the trees near Government Center Station. But it was so difficult to see and hear that we ended up moving down Congress Street to the end of that pergola thingie. And from there we had a not unreasonable view and the audio was better.
5) So for me, a relative newbie (in my entire life I've been to <10 such events) it was interesting to see the different roles members of the crowd took on. For some people the most important thing for them to do all day was hold up a sign to show their support for the cause . . . and block the view of the speakers for dozens of people behind them.
5a) But really, it didn't matter what photo I wanted to take. Someone would suddenly be holding up a sign to block it.
6) I had heard that Senator Warren was going to be there, but I had not heard that Senator Ed Markey was going to be there, OR Congressman Joe Kennedy!
7) Probably the most touching moment for me came when one of the immigrant speakers (I must say, the audio was NOT great and I don't know the name of who was speaking) said "I believe in #civility." Civility has taken such a beating in the last week . . .
8) So . . . comes 11:45ish, and the crowd should be setting off toward Boston Common. Feeling the heat, I turned to my friend and said "I think I've heard the speakers I came to hear . . . and I don't feel any pressing urge to march" And we ended up going to lunch. Call me a slacker . . .
8a) On the way out I saw an elderly lady on a gurney receiving medical attention. Probably the heat. But there was a VERY impressive number of senior citizens out representing.
9) After lunch, I did head over to the Common for Part Two, but saw people with signs already leaving. Roaming about I saw folks sitting gratefully in the shade along the Common, and standing in the blazing midday sun listening to speakers reiterating the same points from the morning. So I headed off.
10) But on my way home I found the best QUOTE OF THE DAY in Doctor Zhivago:
"You were saying, what is a nation? . . . And who does more for a nation - the one who makes a fuss about it or the one who, without thinking of it, raises it to universality by the beauty and greatness of his actions, and gives it fame and immortality?"
THAT is something worth pondering over.