P.J. O'Rourke's description of September 11th in DC

By Ellen Thomas
10:39am Nov 6, 2001 EST Atlantic Monthly

P.J. O'Rourke's description of September 11th in Washington, DC, in "What Auden Didn't Know," needs some clarification.

She wrote, "That day, for the first time in 13 years in Washington, I saw no protesters."

She must not have been looking at St. John's Church on the edge of Lafayette Park, at 16th and H Streets NW, where the people who have maintained a continuous vigil outside the White House since June 3, 1981, 24 hours a day, moved when banished from the park for about 30 hours.

Her description of two of the vigilers at their signs was less than flattering - "old woman ... talking mostly to herself" and "aging hippie ... discussing his pet squirrels."

If she'd taken time to talk to the "aging hippie" (who takes offense at the description), or taken some literature from him, she might have described the vigil as something other than an "anti-nuclear ... sleepover."

These folks are risking arrest from the police every night, and choose not to go into hiding or stop speaking about issues which are even more important in times of war. Recently they've been threatened with arrest on numerous occasions if they happen to close their eyes.

I suggest P.J. O'Rourke extend her perceptions a bit and write something fair and balanced about these folks.

I suggest you go to http://prop1.org and read more about them and what they're proposing.

Ellen Thomas - prop1@prop1.org