PHOTO ESSAY: Bloomington 4th of July Parade — a big, welcome surprise

I saw this article in the local paper a few days ago, and loved it!

Bloomington’s Beanpole a random but reliable surprise at July 4th parade


Nathan “Beanpole” Cambridge will be participating in this 20th Fourth of July parade in Bloomington this year and was at his parents’ home preparing his float in Bloomington, IN., Wednesday, July 1, 2015. Chris Howell | Herald-Times

So I made sure, this morning, once I finally managed to find a pliers to help me wrench the cap off my front bike tire so that I could fill it up and then ride the two miles downtown, to check out Beanpole’s float before the parade began. Here’s the only picture I managed to get, of the car with its sign “Beanpole — the god of pointless behavior,” that would pull their float.

beanpoleThat was one of a number of pictures I took before the parade started, lots with little kids —

little kidsand marching bands, including this young drummer —


— who let me take a closeup of his music sheet.


Here’s a Scottish band, the “Southern Indiana Pipes and Drums,” standing near the head of the line on the street, waiting . . .

pipes an drumsJust in front of them, also waiting, the usual flag-waving 4th of July propaganda . . .

God bless our heroes

— backed up with dark military vehicles (I counted four of ’em,) standing in the wings down an alley.


On a lighter note, Mary Poppins made an appearance, via the Cardinal Stage Company

Mary Poppins Mary Poppins again(In the background of these photos, the west end of Indiana University campus.)

On an even lighter note, a group that reminded me of Beanpole’s frothy attitude, though the Sitcom Theater was subtler, more ironic: notice the word “PARADE” (in quotes).

sitcom theater

Oops! Time to stop taking pictures and find my group! What group? Well, last year, my young friend Maya and I walked with my corporate flag behind the Move to Amend octopus (called “Octi” for short), a local organization that has now changed its name to “Reverse Citizens United.” I decided to do that again, since we are obviously allied. I hoped to find someone extra there to walk my flag with me.

Oops again! No takers. Everybody either had an “octi” arm to lift or too many signs to carry already.

OctiAnd BTW: this year I wasn’t the only one with a corporate U.S. flag! So we decided to travel in tandem, behind Octi, one on either side.

He had his flag on a pole. I didn’t, but luckily, a sweet woman also named “Anne” (but with an “e”) found a bamboo pole and duck tape and carefully taped it on horizontally. YES! Here she is, holding the flag on its new pole.


Interesting side note: of all the activists at that end of that parking lot waiting for the parade, she happened to be the one who, at first, didn’t understand my flag; thought I was “spoofing” her, that it was a joke! I had to explain that it was a very serious joke.

Which brings me to the parade itself, and the real reason why I now realize I was so determined to go again this year — even though a part of me felt lazy and just wanted to skip it and stay home. I went because I would discover that whereas last year maybe one out of a 100 of the thousands of people along the one-mile parade route grokked my flag (and waved, and nodded yes, looking somewhat furtive and embarrassed, and maybe clapped a bit), this year at least one of every ten people got it, grokked it. Plus, not just one person here and there, but this year waves of people, all of whom got it, and waved, and yelled, and clapped, sometimes loudly and prolonged.

We in the Octi contingent were excited to recognize the sea-change that has taken place within this town in only one year. And we’re not talking about university types, so much as a typical “4th of July parade crowd,” i.e., young couples, some with kids, and old folks — many folks looking very countrified, like they drove in from rural areas to “see the parade.” They got it too; not all of them of course, but 10% (I consulted another person for this estimate, since I do tend to exaggerate). All along the parade route, people grokking that indeed, corporations have taken over this country, this world; that corporations are NOT people and it’s time we grab our world back.

Lots of grateful, welcoming faces, to see us coming. Lots of smiles, and knowing looks, almost haunted, some of them, glad to find a community of fellow travelers in this amazing world of ours where the relentless forces of centralization, corporatization are strongly at odds with the increasing urge to decentralize and ground here, now, here, locally. Yes, two powerful forces in dynamic opposition, pulling us both ways, forcing us to wake up and smell the fear — and the love.

For it is the love that I noticed especially this morning, and that I felt. That love waved through me and my flag, and and through others; that love held us in its wonderful communion on this perfect summer day for a parade, not too hot, or humid, and not raining either. We were, and we are, blessed, to be alive during such a momentous struggle for both the soul of human kind and the health of Mother Earth.

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5 Responses to PHOTO ESSAY: Bloomington 4th of July Parade — a big, welcome surprise

  1. Jean says:

    Thank you so much for pictures of the parade my daughter called to tell me about. I’m in Vermont while she and family are enjoying Bloomington and its farmers’ market and festivities such as this.
    Maybe I’ll be there next summer.

  2. laurabruno says:

    Sounds and looks like a good time. I am curious, though, why they want to REPEAL the 10th Amendment? Isn’t that the one that keeps everything from going completely federal, top-down? I would think that people wanting more local control would be pleased with the 10th Amendment, or are they wanting to replace it with something even more local than state level as protection against federal overreach?

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