Don’t worry. The dissenters have arrived in D.C., and they were out in full force this evening, when Code Pink: Women for Peace hosted its first of several planned actions commemorating inaugural week. The group and fellow anti-war types gathered outside the posh Wardman Park Hotel to greet bejeweled and bedecked attendees at the “Black Tie and Black Boot Inaugural Ball,” which was hosted by the Texas State Society and which cost guests as much as $1,400 for a desirable seat inside.
Dozens of demonstrators – dressed in pink wigs, pink boas, pink coats, pink hats, pink scarves, pink purses, pink socks, and so on – lined the entrance of the Park Hotel to protest the “war profiteers” that stand to get richer during the second Bush term. Their primary target was Halliburton, of course, which they sarcastically referred to as “Hallibacon.” You know, as in oink, oink, pork, pork. In honor of Vice President Dick Cheney’s former company, protesters wore rubber pig snouts or full-fledged pig masks and strutted about to the grunting and snorting sounds of tape-recorded hogs.
They followed up this bit of light-hearted political theater with more standard protest chants: “Stop the Celebration! End the Occupation!” And “We love money. We love war. We love Cheney even more.”
Women in sequined gowns and stiletto heels and men in Stetson cowboy hats and boleros braved the protesters as they shouted “Shame on you! Shame on you! People are dying and you’re celebrating. Shame on you!” Most attendees hustled quietly along, their heads focused on the ground. Some cocky Texan men lifted their arms high in the air, as if in triumph. Others cursed under their breath or yelled out in disdain “Get a life!” One man wandered through the crowd with an empty cocktail glass, skipping and shouting, tauntingly, “John Kerry lies. John Kerry lies.”
Twenty minutes into the protest, a D.C. police cruiser blared its horn and pulled over to the side of the road, a constant reminder of the risk of arrests. The protesters seemed unfazed, as they threw fistfuls of dollars at the stretch limos pulling into the hotel’s driveways.
“You like money!” one man in a pink bandana called out. “Take the money!”
When a super-duper white Hummer pulled into the hotel driveway, the crowd went wild – voicing a collective WHOAAA! The man shook his head and offered up, to no one in particular, “You don’t need any more money.”