I'm in Washington DC with Duane this week and a shower curtain seems to have gotten into my suitcase. Uh oh.
So far, we've been to the Capitol and the Supreme Court with the "GAY MARRIAGE THREATENS NOTHING" shower curtain. It's been a long time since that one's been out of the trunk. We had no trouble at the Capitol, but a little in front of the Supreme Court.
As it turns out, according to the Capitol Police, I wasn't supposed to unfurl my shower curtain while at the top of the first row of steps leading to the Supreme Court, however, the bottom of the steps was just fine.
I complied with their wishes immediately. They really didn't seem to want us there at all though. They asked how long we would be there. I told them just long enough to get a picture. On Sunday morning there really wasn't anyone around anyway.
I was hoping to slip away before we wound up in Guantanamo but a young woman was filming with a video camera a few feet away and asked if she could film us holding the banner. Of course, we agreed and then we asked her to take our picture with our camera so we could both be in a shot. She was happy to oblige.
The woman, Kristin MacCary, a filmmaker from Vancouver Canada was making a documentary about the ignorance and arrogance of Americans, as perceived by Canadians, and about the failure of America's "representative" government to represent the people. She asked us if we would care to comment on film about these issues and, of course, we did. So much for escaping.
After several minutes of filming, we were done and then began filling out the release forms for the woman. Suddenly, the cops were around us asking for our names and addresses. I asked why they wanted them and they said it was because we were there protesting without a permit. So I asked, "so if you have three hundred people out here protesting, you go around and get everyone's name?" Well no, they said, but they would have the names through the organization that got the permit. Right. We told them our names anyway while we finished the release forms and gave them to the woman. Then I turned to the cops who were still hovering and said, "so that's it then?" They said, "we also need your date of birth, height, weight and eye color." I just looked at him, incredulously, then Duane said, disgustedly to the cops, "you don't need that!" He touched my arm and said, "come on." We walked away and didn't look back.
In hindsight, I wish we hadn't given them any information at all. We were doing nothing wrong and they had no business asking us for our names. If we had done anything wrong they wouldn't have let us just walk away. I'm pretty sure they bugged us because they didn't like what we were saying to the filmmaker's camera. Apparently, if you criticize the government in this country, it is now a police matter.
Labels: Washington DC