Uprising, Part I: Washington

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The last two weeks (the first of the Trump administration) have been like dog years, a swift and startling onslaught of executive orders attacking all that is dear to us.

I started this post in the heady afterglow of the Women’s March on Washington. I still feel the buzz of it and am heartened at its momentum. So, about that march…

Representing:
I met marchers from all over the country: A mom from California marching with her 9-year-old son, a group from Atlanta who had slept on an overnight bus to get there, people from Idaho and Kansas. I was texting with a dear friend who drove up from North Carolina. My friend ventured off and met Alaskans. I saw small groups of Canadians marching in solidarity.

We Win: The signs were brilliant: clever, funny, smart, hand-drawn and artistic. If I were undecided, I’d pick our side for the humor. For wit, #trumpbookreports was only the start. Agree with us or not, you’ve gotta admit, we’re sharper.

Favorite Signs:
“Ignore the tweets. Follow the money.”
“I can’t believe I am still marching for this shit!”
“Tweet others like you’d want to be tweeted”
“Resistance is my cardio”
“I’m with her” (8 arrows pointing in all directions)
“I’m with her” (photo of the Statue of Liberty)

Lots of kids and husbands marched. Women of all ages and backgrounds. People in the crowd were so generous to each other at every turn, I cry as I type the words. Nothing but kindness among us.

Marching Moms:
Need a tissue? Some water? Someone offered it before you could ask. I had bandaids and wipes in my clear plastic backpack, and I was surely not alone. After 4 hours of standing at the rally, there were offers of ibuprofen and snacks in the crowd. This is civility. When I offered a new friend a rubber band for her poster, she accepted it with awe. I just laughed. “Yeah. There are hundreds of thousands of moms on the mall right now. If you need anything, just ask.”

Small Acts of Grace:
The mom and her daughter sitting on a curb near JFK with a hand-lettered sign that said WELCOME
The woman in her front yard handing out granola bars to marchers
The church with its doors and bathrooms open to marchers
The National Guard members who looked on with smiles
The police and locals who thanked us for coming
The protesters who thanks the police and guard for their service

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Celebrity Distraction:
Somehow we ended up behind the stage, in front of the speakers’ hospitality tent. It was hard to hear speeches, but we saw all the speakers. Had no idea we were effectively on the march’s informal red carpet until someone yelled “Oh my God! There’s Cher!”
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I did feel old when I had to ask repeatedly who people were. Lots of stars from Orange is the New Black. Katie Couric is tiny! So is Scarlett Johansson. And this nice woman named Emma Watson came by to shake hands…
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Favorite Swoon: Meeting Michael Moore, who went on stage in a baseball cap and returned in a pussy hat. He stopped to talk with the crowd and gushed to us that Alicia Keys has just hugged him; he was as star-struck and real as any of us. His smart speculation is that Trump will not complete his term. The guy’s been right before.
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I was thankful for a comfortable spot to stand with a sightline to the stage, though I was sorry to not be able to hear all the speeches. I heard enough of Angela Davis to cry. And I was lucky enough to miss Madonna completely.

Marching:
We were close enough to the action that organizers actually addressed us, explaining that they had expected a turnout of 200,000 but they were estimating we were over 600,000. Too many people to march! The march route was clogged with people, positively jammed!As we hit the potty line the plan changed (or maybe the organizers worked with police to close more roads?) and we marched down multiple roads to Pennsylvania Rd. We never did make it to the White House, but the fun was in the movement.

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Guilty Pleasure: Marching past the Trump hotel and waving our middle fingers in the air like lighters at a concert. I know, I know, but it just felt so luxuriously fun.

Favorite Chants:
“We need a leader! Not a creepy tweeter.”
“We will not go away! Welcome to your first day!”

The Aftermath:
Over a half a million protestors and not a single arrest. An activist friend marveled at how tidy things were in our wake: very little litter, rubbish stacked neatly next to overflowing trash cans. Compared to the many anti-war protests she has attended, she said the difference was stark.

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Follow Up:
I promised I would not allow myself the indulgence of blogging about this until I did 5 things to follow up. So here is what I have done in the meantime:

  1. Signed White House petitions asking Trump to disclose is tax returns and to put his businesses in a blind trust
  2. Marched in a Philadelphia protest during the GOP joint congressional retreat, attended by the Cheeto himself
  3. Asked Senator Pat Toomey to reject Betsy DeVos’s nomination as Education Secretary
  4. Attended a meeting of local activists to organize follow-up and next steps, for info sharing and midterm election action
  5. Joined the ACLU

The Women’s March set an important precedent. As protesters flocked to airports last weekend, I saw that this is the beginning of a time when ordinary people stand up for what is right, and that is what gives us power.

On this day, oh so long ago, we stood up against all that Trump represented. Now we march onward, in bigger numbers, in cities across the country, to stand against what he is doing: his lies, his policies, his attack on American values and institutions.

Our march has only begun.

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One thought on “Uprising, Part I: Washington

  1. pat szyper

    Well done, my dear, I love you with such pride in my heart! On my way out in search of yarn:) xoxo

    Also, will forward to some dear friends…..

    Reply

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