Loyalty to the Nation all the time, loyalty to the Government when it deserves it” ~ Mark Twain
January 21, 2017. We started the day with bagels and coffee and a stop at CVS for poster board and magic markers. The shelves were almost empty. It was another sign the media was underestimating this march. All that was left was a package of ten small multi-colored poster boards and medium size red and black Sharpie pens. Our signs were pretty weak compared to the other signs we would see throughout the day. We decided at our next protest we will plan ahead and make better signs.
At the Metro the lines to purchase tickets were long. Yesterday I took the subway from Union Station to Tenleytown but only filled my card with enough money for the trip. Again, I should have planned ahead. I sent my cousin Ann to the head of the line to help all the out of town visitors purchase their tickets and our line began to move pretty quickly.
I managed to get an empty seat on the very crowded subway car and sat next to Claire, a college student who drove from Ohio and picked up a friend along the route then continued on through the night. She was holding a sign that read Pussy Grab Back in reference to Trump’s lewd remarks to Billy Bush that were caught on tape. A group of ladies standing by the doors started singing This Land is Your Land and moved on to This Little Light of Mine. Everyone joined in and there was a magical, holy feeling that we were setting off to make history.
Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance. ~ Robert Kennedy
Note to Trump and disbelievers of real news: I was on the planes, trains, subways and streets of DC on inauguration day and the day of the march. Traveling on the subway I sensed more than ever that this was going to be bigger than anyone imagined. Yesterday most of my fellow travelers were coming to D.C. for today’s march. As I made my way to my cousin Ann’s house the subways and streets weren’t nearly as crowded as they were today. I saw it with my own eyes. Donald Trump can whine like a small pouty child about attendance at his inaugural all he wants but eyes don’t lie. This is not an alternate fact.
We weaved our way through the throngs of people trying to make their way to Independence Avenue where the parade was scheduled to commence. Like riding a rip tide, people forged paths in different directions. Everyone was shouting and waving signs. A roar of voices raised in protest would roll along the streets like an ocean wave growing in size as it crashes toward the shore. People chanted. This is What Democracy Looks Like.
When we could finally go no further and were packed in like sardines, we could hear the speeches from large speakers lining Independence Avenue. Alicia Keys rallied the crowd and the speeches kept coming. And coming. Three hours later the marchers started to get restless and shouted “Let’s March, Let’s March”. Still carrying my package of posters and magic markers, I made signs and passed them around. We held them high and joined the chant, “Let’s March”.
Note to Democratic Party: Michael Moore’s battle cry “We need to take over the Democratic Party” spoke directly to me. It was exactly how I felt during the long primary battle and the summer of my discontent while Hillary hobnobbed in the Hamptons raising millions of dollars. I found myself asking, How did the Democratic party fail to capture the energy here on the streets of DC and in the marches across the country and around the world? My knees and lower back started to ache and we all needed to find the port-a-pottys. But the speeches kept coming and it seemed like a metaphor for the Democratic party of which I have been a member all my life. In recent days I will admit I often feel like a woman lost at sea. A woman without a party.
I hold it, that a little rebellion, now and then, is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical. ~ Thomas Jefferson
And yes there were celebrities and I did get to hear Madonna sing live while watching her on a Jumbotron we finally made our way to.
Note to Madonna: I did not appreciate you saying “Fuck you, Donald Trump” or telling us you fantasized about blowing up the White House. Not that I don’t dislike Trump as much as you do but I agree with Michelle Obama that when they go low, we go high. And more importantly, I knew Fox and other right wing news organizations would lead with your words and ignore the hundreds of thousands of us who made sacrifices to travel across the nation and march for the values we believe in. You won’t be losing your health insurance, Madonna. Your life won’t be on the line or disrupted nearly as much as many of us marching. This day was much more about us than you and you detract from the coverage of the real news when you draw attention to yourself like that.
And sure enough, there was Donald Trump’s tweet this morning.
But despite the celebrities and the tweet, that was not what this march was about. What it was about was the millions of women, men and children who traveled from across the entire nation to make it clear to our new president-elect how we see America and what our values are. The women who slept overnight on rally buses, took a day out of work, found babysitters for the kids and wished them a good day at school from the airports and train stations, or drove through the night so their voices could be heard.
Do you want to know who you are? Don’t ask. Act! Action will delineate and define you. ~ Thomas Jefferson
Throughout the day there was a camaraderie and sisterhood in participating in something bigger than ourselves. We had created a movement that could change the world.
I marveled at the older women in wheelchairs who were brave enough to get lost in the crowds.
Marchers were everywhere. Walking down Independence we could look across the side roads to fellow marchers on a parallel street that wasn’t originally part of the route. We fell in with a group of doctors who chanted “We won’t go away. Donald Trump. Welcome to your first day.”
I never found my friend on the rally bus or the group of friends from New Hampshire I had planned to meet up with. Our cell phones didn’t always work and even though I had my travel charger, after all the photos and videos our phones eventually died. We had been standing and marching for eight hours. We walked to Union Station where last I heard my friends were having a drink somewhere. We never found them or the bar but we managed to get on the first train that came by and once again, packed like sardines, we made our way back to Tenleytown station.
Everyone was running on adrenaline and sharing stories. One woman mentioned to her seat mate how some Trump voters don’t know the Affordable Care Act IS Obamacare. I turned around and said, “That’s true.” I told them the story about the Vermont healthcare woman I dealt with just a few days ago. We were on the phone for an hour and she was extremely patient and helpful. She told me this week alone she spoke to twelve people who have affordable healthcare and they said they were glad to see Obamacare was going to be repealed. “What you have is Obamacare. Obamacare is the Affordable Care Act,” she told them in disbelief. “Lordy, lordy,” she told me. “Those people aren’t going to be very happy in the days to come. They are in for one huge awakening.” Yes indeed.
Back at the house, I had a few hours to rest my weary legs on the couch while drinking wine and watching the news of history being made by women all across the world before we went out to see the 15th Street Band playing at an Irish bar in Bethesda. A young girl in a pink hat was standing next to our table. Her name was Isa and she’d been up since four a.m. organizing a Planned Parenthood relay then marching with 500,000 of us on the streets of the nation’s capital.
This is what democracy looks like. Yesterday I was proud to be a part of this human race.
***This was the inauguration of the protest movement. JOIN ME. If you attended a march send me your stories and I will share them here. #bebrave #speakup #nowmorethanever.***