It started with a stray thought on a Facebook page the day of the election. Teresa Shook in Hawaii invited some of her friends to go to D.C. to protest. Then came yesterday: marches all over the world. I was on-line early in the morning on January 21 sobbing over what had already happened and was still happening. To see that people in New Zealand and India and Austria were standing in solidarity. What sweet, sweet words.
I remember when the world stood in solidarity with us after 911 and our then president blew them off. Tough guys don’t need help. I was almost as ashamed of us then as I was on November 8 when we gave power to this very, very, very, very, very personality-disordered individual who, by the way, has the vocabulary but not the empathy of a third grader.
I feel so grateful to people who all over the world joined with America in a counter-inaugural, so to speak. An inaugural is a beginning yet the events of yesterday were more of a mid-stream explosion. Imagine Niagara Falls. And the river continues to flow. Joining the 175,000 who marched in Seattle was certainly the most dramatic event I’ve ever participated in.
I wanted to do the march with my friend Nancy who is my goombah for protest events as well as a weekly walk around Green Lake. Nancy wanted to start at the beginning at Judkins Park. I threw my lot in with her husband, Scott, to take the bus from their house in Wallingford and meet the march as it came up 4th Ave.
This was a calculated decision. Scott dislikes crowds and noise as much as I do. He knows the bus system better than I do. Worst case scenario: if I had to walk home, Wallingford is closer to Seattle Center than Greenwood. Besides, Scott is good company.
We joined a small group at the bus stop and boarded a bus that was already standing room only. It packed in even tighter before we burst out of it downtown. We caught the beginning of the march as it came up 4th Avenue.
I was immediately in tears and didn’t stop crying for half an hour. People packed the street like they had the bus, smiling and laughing with the occasional vocal wave that undulated through the crowd. Men, women, boys, girls, all ages, all races, all causes. The only thing that made it a women’s march was that women started it. The signs were as varied as the people. This is what a feminine sensibility brings to things: a jumble of love, an acceptance of differences.
I stood there with my little homemade sign and my (ridiculous looking) pussy power hat on my head and gawked for a while. Suddenly a man with a camera and another with a microphone approached me.
“Tell us about your sign,” Microphone man said.
I looked at my sign: Kindness Counts. What was there to say? I felt completely inarticulate.
“Well,” I said. “It’s alliteration.”
The camera zeroed in on my T-shirt, one of the official Women’s March in Washington shirts.
“Tell us about your shirt.”
Again, completely inarticulate.
“Get that thing off my boobs,” I said. Kindness Counts in varying digits, I guess.
The camera man smiled, I smiled, and finally I said, “This is the most dramatic thing I’ve ever been part of, who are you with?”
Any plans–and I had several– to connect with people via texting were soon thrown out. This was too big. Scott and I scanned the crowds for a while, looking for Nancy. Finally after an hour, we found each other and continued up 4th Ave.
It’s not sexy or provocative or attention grabbing but the sign that I think most reflects what a feminine sensibility brings to any discussion or policy or decision is this one: Women’s Rights are Human Rights. People all over the world know this. I know there are people who are ecstatic about the new president but I am not one of them. For five million-plus more of us, the outpouring today made the events of the 20th seem puny and whiny.