Activist Monday: The Women’s March and the Real Division in America
Posted January 23, 2017on:
GoooooOOOOOOd Monday all! Despite the inauguration of the Worst Mistake America Ever Made on Friday, it turned out to be a wonderfully hopeful weekend. Why? Because WIMMINZ!
All over the country and the world, millions of women, girls and supportive men and transgender stormed the cities with a peaceful, joyous roar of hope and solidarity. TW was represented all over Murca (did you know there was literally a protest in all 50 states?! Yeah baby, yeah!) Just as our Widdershins in San Francisco, Seattle and Noo Yawk reported feeling after their marches, the march in DC made me feel both inspired and empowered.
I flew out to National Airport in Virginia early on Friday morning, to avoid the crowds going into the city on Saturday. There was no one around – the most deserted I’ve ever seen that place. I thought, wow, no one is going to this inauguration! I spent the day with my dad and stepmom, and we made plans to go to the march via metro the next day.
Our first clue about how YUGE this thing was going to be was when my Dad and I were driving to the Vienna metro station. We were about 10 minutes away when we saw a sign over Route 66: “Vienna – No Public Parking Available.” My dad said, “I’ve never seen anything like that before!” We knew it was because there were too many people using that station to get into DC for the march. We made an alternate plan to go to Ballston (in Arlington, VA) and take the metro from there. Dad parked in the mall to avoid the crowds, and we walked the few blocks to the station.
When we got there, we saw a long line of people waiting for the bus. They said the metro station was so crowded that you couldn’t get onto the platform! So much for our brilliant plan.
We checked out the platform, and well, suffice it to say the line to get on the train was backed up to the escalator, which they had to turn off to avoid endangering the would-be passengers. THAT was a no-go! We eventually got on the bus, which quickly filled up with excited people carrying signs (and one particularly cute baby, who was passed around the entire group so Daddy could take a break from holding her). Oh, and when my Dad’s metro card didn’t work because it was slightly cracked, a woman on the bus offered him two dollars out of her own pocket. This was how everyone was: kind, supportive, generous and determined. Everyone cheered when we got underway, and when we arrived, everyone cheered again. I’ll bet that was the most enthusiastic crowd the bus driver had ever transported, anywhere.
When we got to Farragut Square, we were still about 20 blocks away from the march. We poured down the streets with hundreds of other people, heading in the direction of 3rd and Independence. It was chilly and a bit rainy, but it could have been much worse this time of year. I ended up wishing I had a hat after all!
Bizarrely, the streets of DC were completely deserted. There was no traffic, and everyone you saw on the street was obviously also going to the march, with signs, balloons, hats or t-shirts proclaiming their participation. I’ve been in DC on a Saturday before, and I’ve never seen it like this. Dad and I were super-excited, so we took a selfie.
As we made our way along the route, we approached the Washington Monument and were almost directly across from the White House. This was about 12 or 12:15, a full hour before the march was supposed to begin. I pointed out the new Museum of African-American History and we both remarked on how stunning it looked. All of a sudden, we heard this powerful, wordless roar of defiance from 500,000 throats. We saw the march coming towards us – this enormous mass of people chanting and holding signs amidst a sea of pink hats. There is truly no way to understand how big it was from pictures on the ground, but here are some of my and Dad’s attempts. This was one time I wished I could add a foot to my 5′ 4″ height.
We ended up, through sheer luck and lateness, being at the very front of the line. For those who were concerned that this was not an anti-Trump march, our first chant was “Hey hey, ho ho, Donald Trump has got to go!” The second was “This is what democracy looks like!” And the vast majority of signs referenced Hillary: whether it was “Nasty Woman” t-shirts or signs, HRC hats or the many, many times I saw the words “Women’s Rights are Human Rights.” So yes, it was against Trump…but it was also FOR WOMEN. That was the bigger message, We are against Drumpf because of what he represents, the deep-rooted misogyny in American society that caused a slim majority of white women (and a huge majority of white men) to vote for an admitted sexual predator and rapist as our nation’s leader. On November 8, I felt as though America had taken a giant sh*t all over my gender. On January 21, I realized that wasn’t true. Americans are on our side, and are appalled to their core that this disgusting creature is allegedly our nation’s leader. As this sign read:
We realized that we had reached the end of the march after about 3 minutes, so we turned and started going back around to where we would have started, had we come much earlier. (We left later because Dad’s feet can’t take standing for too long, so we didn’t hear the speeches…but regardless, we probably would have had to leave around 5 am to get to 3rd and Independence via public transportation.) The crowds streamed around the streets. The police presence was basically non-existent, but the few officers we saw were encouraging and positive. (The fact that they were African-American, and many people carried signs proclaiming “Black Lives Matter,” could have had something to do with it.) Here’s a photo of the crowd as we went away from the White House and back towards the meeting point:
Eventually we peeled off from the crowd and took the metro back to Ballston. There were many protesters on the train with us. We were all smiling at each other, tired but exalted and proud. My dad was really happy that he had stood up for his beliefs and made his presence known. It’s not as easy for some as it is for others, as this sign from the Interwebz stated:
So what now? the media kept asking yesterday. Obviously, a movement has been born. Younger women (and the men and transgender who support them) have awakened and realized they can’t take their rights for granted; that there are still dark forces in our beloved country that will happily and forcefully rip them away from us if we let them. So, we resisted yesterday, and will continue to resist: peacefully, vocally and en masse. It’s as simple as that. Whether it’s feet on the street, tweeting or keeping your congresscritter on speed dial, we’ll never stop until this nightmare is over. And when it’s over, it will be over once and for all.
Why do I say this? Well, in my mind, the real division in America is not political. It’s emotional. There are those of us who are passionately engaged by living in a factual reality (as many of us at TW have noted, the “critical thinkers”), and there are those of us who are passionately engaged by living in their own reality.
We, the reality-based, find it anathema to live in denial of what is happening around us. We understand what it takes to govern the country and follow national events with as much objectivity as humanly possible. We are the ones who voted for Hillary. Then there are the fantasy-based. These are the people who voted for #TheBernout, Jill Stein, Gary Johnson and of course, Der Drumpfenfuhrer. They are firmly committed to ideas that have never been tested by reality, because the people they vote for never have to govern based on those ideas. These people live in a fantasy world that allows them to vote for con men and women who make them feel great about themselves, even though their candidates are clearly not fit to run a lemonade stand.
The numbers of the reality-based and the fantasy-based, at least at the time of the election, were about equal, with about 3 million more reality-based voters than fantasy-based. But this is already changing, and in a bigly way. More and more regret is setting in as the fantasy-based see their candidate and their Congresscritters doing exactly what they promised to do. The Drumpf base didn’t listen to his actual words because they were voting with their emotions, and he made them feel good. The Mango-colored Meerkat now has an approval rating of about 32% – he got 46% of the vote in November. That’s his base running away screaming, as they realize their fantasy doesn’t hold up to reality. The media is now calling him out on his lies, directly, and people can see for themselves that his biggest concern, on a day of global protests was the size of his…inaugural crowd. And it’s only going to get worse and worse for them. The high was amazing, but the hangover is going to be a b*tch.
My sense is that if the Democrats don’t f*ck it up, and so far they haven’t, the numbers of the reality-based will have increased by millions and millions by the Congressional elections in 2018. If the feces-throwing baboon even survives till then, the House will flip blue and impeachment proceedings will continue. (I would say “begin,” but that’s already happened.) The grassroots movement to impeach Drumpf will only grow, too. Check it out here!
If we all live through this, we might end up seeing a silver lining from this deep, black cloud. January 21, 2017 could end up being the day that the deplorables began to wake up from their Fox News-induced trances, and realized they are human after all. Ken y’hi ratzon – so may it be.
This is an open thread.
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