What I Saw at the Anti-NSA Rally

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Oct. 26 2013 8:22 PM

What I Saw at the Anti-NSA Rally

I spent the morning with a few hundred people at the #StopWatchingUs rally near the Capitol. The location, next to the reflecting pool (the less famous of two on the mall), allowed a crowd to march dramatically from the rally point of Union Station and fill a space that, in the view of cameras, looked positively massive. And most of the cameras I saw belonged to foreign news organizations, which find it tough to resist a story of Americans rebelling against their own collapsing state. (One domestic journalist on site: Mike Isikoff, conducting interviews with non-Snowden whistleblowers, for NBC.)

Among the sponsors and speakers: 2012 Libertarian Party presidential candidate Gary Johnson, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the ACLU, Code Pink. Among the attendees: More than a few Tea Partiers and young, small-l libertarians, possibily equaling those who could be put on the left.

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Enthusiasm for the president was minimal.

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Police circled the event but went largely unnoticed.

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Jokes about the possible perversion of NSA snoopers were common.

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As were references to the Constitution.

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As were code jokes that I was too unsophisticated to get.

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But nothing attracted the press like a Code Pink protester in a papier-mâché costume.

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David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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