A Pleasant Sunday Afternoon Stroll

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A place of Tranquility, The Washington National Cathedral. © Raab 2009

I hate to mention the weather, but it has been nothing less than a phenomenal autumn with trees afire and brisk temperatures here in our nation’s capital.  I like to take abby and ted on a powerwalk to to the Washington Cathedral some mornings and all portended glorious-ity.  I don’t ALWAYS walk around with a camera but I needed to make some stock shots of the cathedral so I grabbed the 35mmDSLR.  Rounding around the side of the cathedral we saw some activity at the end of the driveway.  And who knew, YOU can protest outside the cathedral w/o permit just like the guy who is always protesting around the Vatican DCHQ over on Mass Ave.

I must confess to a bit world-weariness on the DC protest scene.  I’m happy for everyone to have their first amendment bits and all. But sometimes it is too much.  That is an understatement of the scene I witnessed yesterday AM around 10 on Wisconsin Ave in front of the Cathedral.  It was superlative on a few levels, and might I remind people that superlative does not only connote the postive.  Also, I assure you, it’s been a fair piece since I’ve been called a: “silly slut,” by one of my photographic subjects.  Apparently the Phelps-Roper Famille of Topeka, KS has earned a bit of press but remained unknown to me before our face-to-face encounter.  Two sisters and their children who were quite young stood of the sidewalk wearing offensive ignorant statements spewing hate.

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Family spewing Hate before Sunday morning services at The National Cathedral © Susana Raab 2009

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Getting the attention they deserve. © Susana Raab 2009

The saddest part was how young the kids were and how brainwashed and unable they were to have a conversation outside of reciting a script. When I asked how they liked Washington, I was given some speechifying and then when I tried to redirect the conversation by inquiring  about impressions of the city itself  as a landscape, for the architecture?  Well, I was subjected to some personal insults from the “aunt” of the young children basically insinuating that I do not spend enough time pondering deep and serious issues, and that, my friends, is putting it kindly. These people have no appreciation of loveliness so trapped are they by their fixations of hate and anger.

It was a bit of a spectacle with me (shooting), abby and teddy (impatiently observing with growing incredulity); another guy walking his terrier, Betsy, with whom Abby wanted to go agro; and this young high school student, Erik Klein, who had been observing these people’s activities for two years and whose HS (Bethesday Chevy Chase) will apparently be picketed by these seriously misguided people. Young Erik, full of righteous indignation, was soon filming and shouting expletives to and fro with the ladies.  I conferred with  Betsy’s dad from a safe distance regarding that quirky aspect of Washington whereupon one never knows just what sort of something one will run into out for a brisk stroll with the lil chappies.

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They felt they had seen enough, didn't like the energy there, wanted legal emancipation to the fence I had tied them up to; wondered what happened to the concept of frolicking down the Olmsted Path? © Susana Raab 2009

Security officers were watching us from a safe distance and soon a couple of police cruisers had parked in the driveway.  We talked with Erik about the importance of not degenerating the conversation into a loud cussing match versus abstaining from dialogue if it could not be kept civil and also I met one wonderful man, Uwhankebe Anana, originally of Nigeria.

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Uwhankebe © Susana Raab 2009

Uwhankebe, lately in the security industry, has been unemployed for several months and is distributing The Examiner in front of the Cathedral on Sundays and in the U-Street area during the week.  He was a very pleasant person and I’m sure will be a conscientious employee.

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Eric and Uwhankebe © Susana Raab 2009

Hate-Fighter Eric Klein, Senior, Bethesda Chevy Chase High School on the left.

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Sad is What I am When I see this Little Boy © Susana Raab 2009

So this young man apparently had enough of holding up the sign and after some negotiation with his mother was allowed to distract himself with something behind her.  I looked over and he appeared to be playing video games on an I-Touch, surely a symbol of hell and tarnation, if ever there were, do you not think?  So I sought to verify: “Hey is that an I-Touch you are using?”  Well, for the last time that morning I was treated with scorn and disgust, as I left soon after the scornful lad responded:

“No. It’s an I-Phone.”

Well, I can at least take comfort in the fact that they have to use AT&T.

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