Voices on the Lawn

July 25, 2013

As I walked from one event to another yesterday, I passed two competing press conferences on the lawn of the U.S. Capitol. The first one offered a clear press conference design with a nice shot of the Capitol behind the speakers, some graphics held by activists near the podium, and little crowd other than journalists and gawking tourists (the first photo is one I took of the event). The primary flaw for the group came from the speaker system - or perhaps it should be said the problem was what did not come. The speakers could barely be heard over the noise of the lawn. That is unfortunate since the group gathered to draw attention to the problem of immigrants dying in the region around the U.S.-Mexico border, a serious moral concern that is increasing. A couple of congressmen spoke at the rally, which helped draw reporters. As I strained to hear the speakers at the event, I kept hearing shouts from another gathering across the lawn. So after a few minutes I moved on to check out the other event. This group, urging the end of the budget sequestration so that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development could again be fully funded, bused in a group of energetic supporters that gave their press conference more of a nice rally feel. They did not, however, place their event nearly as well as they were much further from the Capitol building and facing in a direction so that photos or videos of the speakers would not capture the Capitol in the background or the supporters at the rally (the second photo is one I took of some at the rally after a journalist set them up for a better shot while a speaker talked over on the distant left with just trees as a backdrop). Both of these press conferences offered different reminders about the importance of audio and visual messaging. And despite their drawbacks - and regardless of what one thinks about their policy positions - the two rallies also represent citizenship in action. It is nice to see people exercising their rights as they seek to make their communities, nation, and world a better place.


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