The balls of my feet bounce. Da da bump, da da bump, da da bump. I’m appalled. At myself.
Everyone’s in multicolor. Waving flags. Pink flags, blue flags. The hum of music is audible a kilometer away. Rainbow knitted caps on their heads, bright red t-shirts for the first day of spring, dazzling blue pants. Orange and yellow, green and purple streak the clothes and signs of the smiling people. It’s a messy swarm of color and conviviality. A giant crowd right in the busy cross of Rue de Sèvres, Rue de Babylone, and the Boulevard Raspail. Clogging the streets, partying, celebrating, whooping around and blowing whistles. Everyone is smiling. Happy parents are holding their children’s hands and milling about the crowd. Teenagers and young adults chat excitedly among them in cliques.
This is a family. They may not be related, but they’re related by the purely manifested belief that what they’re doing is right. And they’ve never been more genuinely ecstatic to share their message. What is right in the end will come to pass. This is, after all, they remind us, a democracy. They do, after all, have a voice. They do, after all, have rights. Or they should.
A few in the crowd are holding up familiar signs. They read: “Manif pour tous.”
The joyful demonstration is almost ruined by a group of teenagers dressed in black mobbing around the north side and hurling chants at the people in the crowd. Some of them have black bandanas covering their mouths, and they jump around each other in a feeding frenzy. Things seem like they’re going to get violent in the sunny afternoon; a perfect Paris Spring demonstration marred. Until out of nowhere three waves of French riot police looking like giant hockey players with riot shields come charging at the black-clothed hecklers, chasing them down the tiny Rue de la Chaise, followed by journalists, and safely canning them a block away. A wave of relief sweeps over the colorful crowd.
Phil Rudd, drummer for AC/DC, starts playing over the stereo system again. Eighth note high-hat clicks. Click click click click click click click click. A cheer goes up in anticipation.
And here comes the beat. Back in Black. One of the catchiest hooks of all time soars across all the noise, chunky bass hooks and drum lines snake through the legs of the crowd. Cars honk as they pass and whistles blow constantly. The buzz is dominating. The spirit is inescapably stirring. It’s the heartlift that comes from 400 united people voicing itself in new numbers.
Back in Black. I’m stepping to the music, almost smiling. I’m appalled. At myself.
There seems to be only love here. Only peaceful demonstrating, letting the message spread by example. Protect the family. Stop Hollande. Protect the family. Kill the marriage equality bill. Protect the Family.