They came, as one participant said, to support freedom of the press, to express solidarity with Denmark, and for the prospect of free herring.
In one of the few U.S. rallies to date to demonstrate support for the Danish people since a dozen cartoons in one of their daily newspapers became the pretext for weeks of riots in the Middle East and bounties on the cartoonists’ heads, perhaps a hundred people stood outside the Danish embassy in Washington, D.C. Friday.
They waved flags, ate Danish pastries, chanted pro-Denmark slogans, and held signs aloft with slogans like “We are all Danes now,” “Submit to Havarti,” and “Kierkegaard Rules!” Another held aloft a sign that said “Free Speech” written in Legos.
“My children helped me with it,” its owner said.
While it didn’t match the size of the mobs in the Middle East — for one thing, this particular rally lacked any government’s backing — those who did show up did manage to get their point across cheerfully and peacefully.
Several flew in just for the event, including one fellow from California. It was invigorating for those itching to do something in response to the uproar over the cartoons.
“I studied in Denmark. I still have friends there,” said Jonathan Shore, who wore a Danish Flag as a cape and a Carlsberg T-shirt to the event. “They’re all shocked by what’s happened. 100% shocked… They’ll be especially happy to see something like this.”
Signe Wilkinson, an editorial cartoonist with Philadelphia Daily News, said she came to express solidarity with her fellow cartoonists.
“I just want the right to draw what I want,” she said.
As one participant noted, it was all done without burning down a single embassy or causing anybody’s death, so the day could be considered a success.
The event was organized and hosted by writer and professional “contrarian” Christopher Hitchens, who called the uproar over the cartoons, “The worst possible collusion between dictatorship and mob rule.”
He first announced it in a Slate.com column just three days before. Conservative and libertarian bloggers helped to spread the word. Not a bad turnout all things considered, he said.
“It’s a citizen’s initiative for Denmark, our ally, a democracy, a fellow member of NATO who was kind enough to send troops into Afghanistan and Iraq that has been disowned by our craven, pathetic State Department, which rather than denounce outrageous violations of diplomatic immunity, which is its job, comments on the cartoons in a paper in Copenhagen, which is not its job,” Hitchens said. Karen Hughes, he added, should resign.
Asked if he thought the event would cause the White House and the State Department to “alter its thinking” on the matter of the cartoons, Hitchens pounced on the interviewer.
“Alter its what? Thinking? I thought that’s what you said. Well, I don’t understand the question,” he said.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?
H/T to National Review Online