What Good is a March?

Catherine Breese

PoleroidLast Saturday I got to hang out with about a half a million like-minded people, many in crafty little pink hats[i], in Washington, DC. Did it change the world? For a moment, yes. Did it change me? You betcha.

500,000K is a scary sized crowd, especially if you’re claustrophobic or in any way afraid of trampling. Kindness, however, was the rule of the day. Even as we were trapped at a bottleneck, nose to nose with winter coats and signs and people of all shapes and sizes, no one chirped a complaint, and each person waited patiently as a way out was orchestrated.

lockedpottiesSome other things about the Women’s March on Washington: Yes, there were rows and rows of locked port-o-potties. I have my investigative team on this story, but it was a major inconvenience. Scenario 1: they were all full after the inauguration—seems unlikely. Scenario 2: they were locked as a cruel joke—Where do half a million women urinate? Not in these port-o-potties. Scenario 3: The organizers only paid for a certain number of potties and the rest were locked by the company. This seems as likely as not. Also, totally not cool.

No matter. I waited with my friends and my daughter and we waited and waited. Women are talented at many things—one of them is waiting in line for a damn toilet! No pity necessary. The women in my line talked and danced and passed out tissues and hand sanitizer. Friends were made. men of quality

Bikers for Trump, yes, they were still there the day after the inauguration, with their kick-ass sound system playing loud Southern rock (hey, only some of those songs are racist and sexist). My pink-hatted co-marchers took pictures in front of their sign, chatted with them, and danced to the music. A good time was had.

iwontshutup

 

 

Speeches? I watched them all on YouTube. We couldn’t get anywhere near enough to hear the speakers.(Check out Ashley Judd’s and Alicia Key’s–they are inspiring.) The fact that we couldn’t get near the speaker stand is testament to the size of the crowd. And we were not entirely without speeches. We were entertained by a woman speaking impromptu on the edge of the Capitol Reflecting Pool. She was bragging all about the size of her sign, the ability of her sign to make America great again, the tremendous beautiful people looking at her sign, and how her sign will pay for the wall. I adore you, funny lady at the reflecting pool.

pinkforgirlsSo, what good is a march? Marches embolden the people who attend. Marches also send a message, “Hey, you’ve got a lot of unhappy citizens out here and we are going to make our voices heard against your flimflammery.” Thomas Jefferson said in his first inaugural address these words: “All, too, will bear in mind this sacred principle, that though the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail, that will to be rightful must be reasonable; that the minority possess their equal rights, which equal law must protect, and to violate would be oppression.”

I encourage those who stand befuddled (this is the word Kellyanne Conway used) at the three million women across the county who came out of the cozy homes, dressed for winter weather (Alaskan women, you showed up like a blaze orange purse at a black tie ball! Thousands marched despite falling snow in Anchorage and -19 degrees in Fairbanks) to chant slogans in the streets. Please keep in mind Jefferson’s caution against oppression. Yes, majority rules.[ii] But there is the ever-present duty to defend the marginalized people of American society. That duty is ours. Poleroid


[i] Samantha Bee got it: You’ve got to have a craft, if you want white women to come out and march.

[ii] ”Hey, ho, gerrymandering has got to go!” Catherine Breese

Low Yellow Dirt*

by Catherine Breese

*What is the opposite of Alta Blue Skies? Low Yellow Dirt.

Trump stay tunedI have officially, I guess, decided to resurface. On November 8, 2016, I found it necessary to go deep undercover. Operation: It Didn’t Happen involved staying entirely away from all TV news, Internet news, Twitter, Facebook, podcasts, newspapers, and all fellow humans conducting any conversation that didn’t involve banalities such as tire tread wear, weather prediction (avoiding any reference to climate change), recipes that are made with beer, just beer, and the Netflix series Stranger Things. These I could handle. The bulk of my human willpower was busy burying down deep a mélange of depression and anxiety for which written language is entirely inadequate. I was all Sound Garden and Alice in Chains. The color chartreuse. The smell of fermenting garbage at the landfill. Globs of wet sand in the bottom of my bathing suit.

And finally there was the wholly horrible lifting of the veil.

Don’t misunderstand…I was completely willing to pretend for the next 1459 days that Donald J. Trump was not elected as President of the United States. I would take up ceramics, do yoga, write a fan fiction novel set in Yoknapatawpha County, join a committee at church, refurbish furniture, train for a half marathon, get my guitar out of the closet, and make scented soy candles. I would do anything other than think about America and Americans.

trump lemonUntil a few days ago that is.

Lee Camp straightened me out. I was listening to Redacted Tonight podcast that was a couple of months old (before Trumpocalypse). Camp was telling a story about going through TSA security screening. He refused to go through the full body scanner used in this particular airport. Full body scanners are those giant silly machines that travelers stand inside of creating a rather naked-ish picture of their body and objects on it. This picture is viewed by an underpaid TSA agent and recorded by the government, thus clearing the traveler of suspicion of terrorism and relieving him also of the human dignity he brought with him to the airport. Lee Camp simply refused the machine, which you are allowed to do. If you refuse, you submit to a personal full body physical pat-down and wanding. Anyway he refused. And when asked why, he said “…well, because…fuck them!”

When I heard this story I laughed so hard that I broke the bucket of sand in which my head was shoved. In case the connection is not obvious, here it is. Trumps vangogh

Just because I have taken an ice-water bath and opened my eyes after to admit, out loud, that those whom I previously believed to be of good will were instead vindictive; that white nationalism is still a thing; that some people will vote off their nose to spite their face (West Virginia, please, I’m not defending you anymore); that some people really DON’T CARE about integrity, honesty, or the planet earth; that America is comprised of an actual voting majority[i] of idolizing lemmings, calling themselves proud Christians while worshiping not Christ but a fascist, narcissistic, sexist, racist, wrinkly orange television reality-show star who will show his followers not the love of Jesus but the sharp sword of Wall Street-humping plutocracy…and just because I have recognized the veil as lifted does not mean I have to be okay with who I see.  I can say, well, fuck them.

So, I shall.

I’m not transformed or anything. I still believe that we can all get together and agree on a bunch of stuff and maybe save the world from nuclear destruction. That’d be nice. Amen and Kumbaya and Hare Krishna and gesundheit.  But I’m saying now that Alta Blue Skies is going to the left, to the left, everything you own in a box to the left.

So. Yah.


[i] I’m well aware that the popular vote went the other way by roughly 3 million. But that’s not how you win elections in America. The Electoral College is a problem, but probably of less significance than the absurd primary systems of both parties, questionable security of the voting system itself in various states including mine, gerrymandering of voting districts, and the omnipotent corruptive power of money in our elections.