Monday, January 23, 2017

Women's March on Washington

(Graphic by Hayley Gilmore)

Over the years, as other Boomers inexorably moved to the right, determined to hang onto all the toys they've amassed over the years (bad news, kids, they won't fit in the box when it's time to leave), my political views haven't changed.

Despite that lifelong lean to the left, I've never joined a protest before. I was a speck young for Vietnam--it ended before any of my classmates could be drafted. Now, with the Trump Administration holding majorities in the House and the Senate and likely appointing the next two or three Supreme Court justices, it felt like it was time to stand up for my beliefs.

Here are a few impressions from the March:

1) Standing in a crowd of 1.2MM people (estimate provided by DC police) in a space planned for 220K is like getting a 5-hour vertical full body massage from strangers' knees and elbows.

2) I got to see one of my real-life heroes, Gloria Steinem, speak. The woman is 82 years old and she is as incredible and inspiring today as she ever was.

3) At some points, when it got especially claustrophobic, I would practice breathing and remind myself it was just for a few hours. I felt bad for the kids who were there. If it was hard for me, when my head was level with or above most of the people there, what was it like for them, who had no view of anything but people's coat buttons? Shudder.

4) The signs at the rally ranged from clever to heartfelt to scurrilous (the man can't help his tiny hands, stop picking on them). There seemed to be 6 general topics:
  • ·         Reproductive rights
  • ·         Climate change
  • ·         Gay rights
  • ·         Religious freedom
  • ·         Civil rights/Black Lives Matter
  •       Healthcare

5) I assumed there would be vendors along the route where I could get snacks and beverages, but there were none within blocks of where the stands and the Jumbotrons were set up. So from 5 a.m. till around 4 p.m., I had no food or water. Other people brought sandwiches and drinks. That didn't actually work in their favor because the porta-potty/protestor ratio was on the order of 1:10,000--and you had to work your way through a packed mass of humanity to reach the few there were. Later, there were more along the parade route, but most of them were padlocked.

6) I love that the demonstration was so inclusive. I love that people whose agendas are not necessarily in lockstep could draw support from others with divergent interests. And I'm painfully aware that the very diversity that makes my party interesting and colorful is what makes it so hard to reliably draw Dems to the polls.

Demonstrations and protests, no matter how heartfelt or well-attended, won't take back our government. If we want some say in how this country is run (and we're perilously close to having none), we need to show up on Election Day and vote in the same numbers and with the same enthusiasm we showed Saturday. 

And I'm going to do what I can to make that happen.


  1. Amen, sister. I've never been to a protest too, but now I'm glad I went, and I'll be ready to go again if the call comes out. (There's supposedly an anti-Planned Parenthood rally in my town planned for next month, and you can bet I'm putting it on my calendar to stand there as the voice of opposition and reason.)

    I'm thrilled beyond words at how well this went, in every city across the globe. As the chant in Philly, went, "THIS IS WHAT DEMOCRACY LOOKS LIKE."

    I'll "see" you at the next one! Our voices will NOT be silenced!

  2. Jeanne, you touched on two things that I do not always read about--our party's glorious diversity. And, of course, how hard it is to actually get us all to focus on a few important things. NOW, especially, we need to focus and mobilize. The marches--just SEEING them if we could not march--inspired. I DO believe it has inspired us to DO something, too. And how our generation seemed to just switch, once we were in the work world. I saw it through the eighties, especially, when many of us were raising our kids. The values we were questioning seemed suddenly to be put on steroids--get ahead, make sure your children do all "the right" things so they can get ahead even more. And then blaming the poor for being poor and the homeless for being homeless! Remember when "the welfare queen" became a catch phrase. And a president talking about hobos and how a lot of the homeless like being that way. thanks. Thoughtful piece.

  3. We all have different voices, I felt that the women that marched did not represent me. If I did any marching it was to the voting booth last November to cast my vote.
    I cannot see why anyone would have taken children, and the crowd would have been way too much for me, heck I don't see that many people EVER...other than the grocery store I see less than ten people a week...and that counts the Oxygen Delivery Guy and the UPS driver that delivers medications:) I am glad you went Jeanne and I enjoyed hearing your view and I respect your opinion :)

  4. I could not march but I viewed as many marches as I could, including streaming video from the speakers stage in DC. The day was fabulous, and I love the fact that the founders have created a program to capture the excitement and help people engage in the political process. I don't have the link right now but the effort is called something like 10 actions in 100 days.


    I am an American man, and I have decided to boycott American women. In a nutshell, American women are the most likely to cheat on you, to divorce you, to get fat, to steal half of your money in the divorce courts, don't know how to cook or clean, don't want to have children, etc. Therefore, what intelligent man would want to get involved with American women?

    American women are generally immature, selfish, extremely arrogant and self-centered, mentally unstable, irresponsible, and highly unchaste. The behavior of most American women is utterly disgusting, to say the least.

    This blog is my attempt to explain why I feel American women are inferior to foreign women (non-American women), and why American men should boycott American women, and date/marry only foreign (non-American) women.

  6. For some reason, I only got emails for half of these comments. Thanks to all for popping by!


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