Times Square. January 18, 2010. MLK Day. Approximately 6:15 PM.
It's a Federal Holiday and foot-traffic is light at 46th and Broadway. People must be eating or at home...or whatever...but the smallish crowd made it easier to see the oddity called, "We Are Change".
Only had my cell phone. Have to remind myself that in Manhattan there's always going to be surprises and today was no exception.
Four megaphones (one quite large) and it seemed liked 5 video-graphers (going round and round) as their barkers worked the crowd . They had many 'diverse' themes and platitudes (like this one)...
Asked the two cops standing to the side what was going on? Did these guys really have a sound permit?
Not so sure they really did as the cops carefully informed me they themselves had not seen the Sound Permit, but their boss did. (But, he was no where around.) No barriers. No extra police (although two extra patrol cops arrived while I was there).
So, WHO (and WHY) give them a sound permit for this location? Now that Bloomberg and Sadik-Kahn have turned Times Square in to a Euro-Mall....South of 42nd St...that's where sound-permits are placed.
Here's a hint: once the "Changers" announced that "Free Speech" was still alive ( the police were not able to infringe upon their free-speech) well...I think we can all interpret that as "No Sound Permit".
An hour and 20 minutes later, they were still barking and working the crowd and the few police were just hanging around.
Think we could expect those same "Free Speech" rights in support of Israel or our troops or how about the protest against the civilian trial for KSM?? What IS IT with our police and the anarchists?
The confused public either laughs, shakes their head or keep on walking as the "Changers" are so committed to being funny first (message last). Guess that's agood thing...
A guy hawking tickets for a comedy club was yelling, "Comedy Show, get your tickets to a Comedy show" as the "changers" did their spiel (I enjoyed that.)
Do these guys take themselves seriously or are they just 'in it' for the entertainment value. They seemed more like an improve group than a serious protest.
Here's what I can remember of their public "out-reach"
Can I give you a Hug.
Smile. It's Okay to smile.
Don't be afraid to take a flyer from that person. Even though your name will be given to the FBI....that's okay.
There are no Jihadis.
There's no Al Qeada.
9-11 was an inside job.
Bush and Obama are the same.
Why did Building 7 mysteriously collapse late at night when it wasn't hit by a plane? Huh?
End the Fed.
Obama is a puppet of the banks.
(From the black speaker in their crowd) I voted for Obama.
Our first black President (well he's half white, says he)
Knew I made a mistake within two weeks.
Others would chime in: This isn't about Republican or Democrat.
(He continued with) Our Constitution is in shambles.
Founding Fathers would be horrified.
They didn't support a National Bank.
He knows they didn't write the Constitution with his 'black ass' in mind, but he still believes in a supports our Constitution.
Obama is a liar.
He managed to have a 'conversation' via the megaphones with another 'changer'. He'd say a negative about Obama and the white guy would say a positive. Definitely a comedy sketch.
Then out came a big McD's coffee board (ya think they STOLE it) as they went off on McD's (for a LONG time)
Get your free coffee.
Be sure to eat lots of McDonald's food.
Don't be a vegetarian.
Sock a vegetarian.
Ignore us, listen to lots of TV...ABC,NBC,CBS.
Sit down in front of the TV and go to sleep. Stay asleep.
This went on with very short breaks. After all, there were 4 megaphones. That way, one guy rested and another guy would take over.
The younger crowd passing by would run up and get the free-hugs they were offering (after all" Love is the Answer")
A couple of the women went over to the police cars and chatted up the cops ("Changers" are very nice, friendly people, after all)
Some of their signs:
Do you have a dream.
Love is the answer.
9-11 was an inside job
Everything is okay
The police and our military have been tricked. They get killed for lies.
Everyone is a victim of the government's lies.
"First Responders" verify 9-11 was an inside job.
Leading with a mocking question: Nine members of the Saudi Royal Family didn't get help...right after 9-11...right? Then "Don't worry, everything is okay".
The mocking tone is their style as they called out to people, to families as they were taking pictures in Times Square. Definitely confusing them. "Don't worry. Everything's okay."
There are no Jihadis..
No Al Qaeda.
And don't worry about those scanners at the airport. They can't really see you naked.
Used their well-rehearsed time very efficiently. Each theme would be a long-winded riff before they would switch to another topic of derision. Just wondering here, but why would anyone be interested in a sell like that? Certainly not the older passers-by.
Changers did a "commercial" for "We are Change" at one point. Said, "This message is brought to you by..." ( so cute) and closed their commercial with, "It's all of about Love. If we would just love each other there would be no wars".
Just wondering (again) Is this the same group that "sort of" has a connection to Niko Haupt, the jumper at the Dec 5 protest against the civilian KSM trial in NY?. (video is a refresher if you missed Niko the first time)
I hear they don't 'love' Niko. That Niko is too weird for these bizarros? (Go figure.... )
Do the changers actually believe in anything? Or is life just one big 'yoke'. They're all young...well...maybe not this young.(The next generation in training here? Though she's looking a tad doubtful)
Maybe we should be asking, "Is this a result of our colleges? Believe in everything...Believe in nothing."
In closing, this is from their website...the end of the mission statement which reinforces how bizarre thy are,
"As we establish citizens groups throughout the country and world, we wish to inspire a community of truth-seekers and peacemakers through creative campaigns with a commitment of nonviolence. We Are Change is not so much a group but an idea, an idea that “We the People" are the vehicles of these "ideas" and of the freedoms, liberties, and truths we are seeking all across the globe. An idea that captures the spirits of our forefathers who just desired freedom; that together, as residents of this planet, we grow like a snowball of truth and justice rolling down a mountain of tyranny growing bigger and stronger, recognizing the beauty in our differences and the diverseness of each other, but at the same time strengthening our cause because we learn and grow from each others individuality. Then as we learn to come together, that as one, you, me, him, her, us…will realize that WE ARE CHANGE. "
(I'd say LOL but it's really not that funny)