Sunday January 22, 2017
Day 1: A View from Inside the Women's March
I felt better yesterday than I have at any time since Nov. 8, 2016, when Donald Trump, with the help of Russian dictator Vladimir Putin and FBI director James Comey, as well as 63 million sad excuses for Americans, won the presidency. Yesterday was his first full day in office. So why did I feel great?
That's from inside the march. You can see great, overhead, footage from King 5 TV here.
I'd heard there were going to be a march, a women's march, but initially I wasn't thinking of going. I thought it was their thing. But Patricia was going with her friends Sullivan and Melanie, and Ward, so I jumped. Any chance at protesting that fuck.
You got a sense it was going to be big even as we stepped outside the Old Colony at 9:15 a.m., Patricia, Ward and I, waiting for our neighbors, Adam and Justin, so the five of us could walk to the starting point, Judgkins Park, nearly two miles away. Because there were already folks walking past us in their pink pussy hats and their homemade protest signs. Again: the staring point was two miles and two hours away. And the closer we got the more people we picked up, until it was a near protest march just walking to the protest march. We camped out on the south side of the park, as Adam and Justin went to hook up with friends at the skate park there. Though phone/text reception was almost nonexistent due to the crowds all phoning and texting each other, Patricia managed to get word out to Sullivan where we were, and she and Melanie arrived about 10 minutes prior to the offical start of the march, and when people began to move we moved, too.
We left the park on Ingersoll, about six blocks south of Jackson, where the real march proper began, and it looked like a good move ... until halfway through Ingersoll, when everything just stopped. For a long time. The edges of the crowd flowed a little better, so we went along there, then went off the official parade route to other residential streets. Some part of me was assuming a Seattle moment at the logjam: someone ahead of us, politely waving everyone else in. But it was just the size of the march. There were just too many people.
What a beautiful feeling.
When we finally made it onto Jackson, it was a sight to behold: huge throngs of people filling the street ahead of us; huge throngs of people filling the street behind us; the pussy hats everywhere. We were in the middle of the beast, so we couldn't fathom the size of the beast. It went as far as we could see in either direction. It didn't seem to have a start or an end, just a mass. Which we were part of. This. This was our power.
I didn't have a sign. Justin and Adam made some, and, of theirs, Ward chose the cheetos sign with NOPE on it, and a pink sign with a uterus and the phrase NONE OF MY FUCKING BUSINESS. P had the cheetos sign. I didn't have any, figuring I'd spell Patricia occasionally, which I did, but all the great handmade signs I saw (we have the artists on our side, yo) made me wonder what I've would put on a sign:
JAMES COMEY CAN GO FUCK HIMSELF
COMEY AIN'T MY HOMEY
I liked all of the signs that made reference to Trump's Russian alliances. That shit's unforgivable. I'd like signs that shame the patriots who support Trump, and the Christians who support Trump. But I thiink I would've gone with something like this:
STOP THE BULLSHIT
Then I'd include the names of the worst media offenders: Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, Alex Jones, Matt Drudge. We only have two media in this country: corporate media and right-wing media. But the right-wing media keeps claiming we have a “liberal media,” which, in turn, makes the corporate media turn ever more to the right. You couldn't get a Trump without this dynamic. And if this dynamic stays the same even after Trump, we'll get something like Trump again. Or worse.
The march route went down Jackson, through the interntional district, and then up 4th into downtown. We stopped off at a very harried Starbucks for coffee (buy local), then kept going, all the way to the end, the Seattle Center, the Space Needle, where people hung out on the grass, in the drizzle, or went their separate ways. P, Sullivan and Melanie went to find a bar, I stuck around a bit, ran into a few more friends, watched the crowds just stream in and stream in. It was never-ending and beautiful.
I've seen estimates of 130,000 to 175,000 for our little walk. Worldwide, the estimate is almost 3 million. That's also Hillary Clinton's margin of victory in the popular vote. (Crazy what you could've had/ Crazy what you could've had.) The organizers themselves estimate there were 4.8 million in the sister marches.
One thing? I was a bit disappointed there wasn't more to do at the end of the march. I wanted the next step. I want to turn this people power into political power.
This morning, my friend Erika shared a link on social media about the next step: 10 actions in 100 days. I don't know if the march was the first or the uber step—the one that made the others possible—but the next step is simple: “Write a postcard to your Senators about what matters most to you - and how you're going to continue to fight for it in the days, weeks and months ahead.”
My postcard will probably begin with protecting the ACA/Medicare/Medicaid and go from there. I would love to see us outlaw all of the Ciitzens United dark money that is ruining our democracy, and calling out Mitch McConnell when (not if) he tries to protect his beautiful dark dollars—the only reason that asshat is still in office. Above all, I'd like accountability. If you have accountability, you don't have James Comey as FBI director, and Betsy DeVos isn't a nominee for Sec. of Education and Rex Tillerson isn't a nom for Sec. of State. You don't have Mitch McConnell. I would like an investigation into Russian influence into our election. I would like an investigation into why James Comey acted the way he did 10 days before the election.
There's no end to their malfeasance. But this is the beginning of our fight. Yesterday, in the march, cramped in with tens of thousands of like-minded people, at times unable to move for the mass of humanity surrounding me, I was able to do something I hadn't been able to do well during the last few horrible months: I was able to breathe.
Me and Ward get ready to step out.