Bethesda, Maryland, 02.15am EDT: After Philadelphia, my last stop – Washington DC. Or, to be more exact, a room in an apartment in Bethesda, a few miles outside, with crickets chirruping outside.
Getting my bearings earlier, I ran into a group of people protesting against Barack Obama’s healthcare reforms. A few of them were on my train down from Philadelphia. See what they’ve got in common?
Ah, what was it James Murdoch said about the BBC the other week? “[It] is incapable of distinguishing between what is good for it, and what is good for the country.” Right you are, then.
Threatening violence? Charming. It is easy to sneer, mind, from a European point of view – even most British Conservatives would struggle to get their heads around this lot.
The nearest equivalent I could think of was the fox-hunting debate, where hunt supporters felt the state was getting too deeply involved in a fundamental piece of their liberty. And there seems to be the same feeling of disenfranchisement, too. I couldn’t help but notice a complete absence of black faces among the roughly 900-strong crowd – a novelty in DC. One older black man stood next to me and watched the crowd… then walked off, shaking his head.
They’re in town for a demo on Saturday which is sure to enliven my sightseeing trips. “The cops are gettin’ nervous,” one man told me as we waited to cross the road. “There’ll be about 250,000 of us tomorrow – we’re gonna be an angry mob,” he added when I asked how many would be marching.
Just around the corner was an anti-abortion protest involving shoes and written apologies to unborn childen, outside the White House were some hunger strikers, and further along was some American Muslims marking eight years since 9/11. Yeah, just another day in DC, then.