Last 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.
Some 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.
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.
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.
So, 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.
[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