Why I Marched
As a sane person, 6AM on November 9th kicked off what is turning out to be a prolonged high terror alert in my brain that shows no signs of quieting down. For me, the morning of January 21st was a way to respond in real life, in real time, to the terrifying reality of what had happened the day before. Three miles from the DC line, the transit platforms in Virginia were swarmed with marchers as I abandoned one Metro stop after another, unable to get on a train, and finally ending up just walking into the city rather than waiting. The crowds I saw headed to the Women’s March on Washington were pink hatted, in family groups and looking generally antsy and amateurish, so many tourists way-finding in unassertive herds. Did I see a lot of white women? Yes. But I also saw men, and women of color. They were also sporting pink hats and with signs in tow. Did I hear a young girl, Starbucks in hand and a pink hat, say to her father “Dad, an Uber is only like $50. Can’t we just get one?” Yes. A few blocks later, did I hear a young woman say, as we passed George Mason University’s Arlington campus, “That’s my school! It’s called the Antonin Scalia Law School now. We’re not thrilled with the name, I assure you.” Well, how gracious of you, my dear.
Now, did I then march for these young women, and their right to walk the earth in bodies unlegislated by an aggressive political agenda that subjugates and marginalizes huge swaths of humans in favor of a narrow, backasswards ideology of control and bigotry? Ya g-d right I did.
Downtown DC, the day before, I watched the blac block agitators swarm deserted streets, get smashy on some storefronts and bus shelters, end up in a police corral and then get loaded into waiting paddy wagons. The high noon Inauguration protest parade from Union Station to Mcpherson Square was decidedly not the roving mob of antagonists from earlier in the morning. It was a slow-moving city block of people who were young and old, men and women, all chanting and and sign waving. Two llamas and an alpaca were also marching, but they didn’t have signs so I’m not sure what political opinion they were championing. (I’m only slightly disappointed that I missed the second shift of agitators that showed up and set that limo on fire. But I’m one-hundred percent glad that I was watching the live news feed about 40 minutes later when the broadcast reporter threw to the footage of the burning limo and said, “They’re going to need to, uh, call someone for that fire situation.” Comedy gold. But I digress.)
Last Saturday, coming out of the Metro station and onto the Mall I felt purposeful, and hopeful. I wasn’t with a group, and I never was able to meet up with anyone because cell service was overloaded and conked out. The Women’s March on Washington was an amazing sight to see, and it felt good that I was speaking with my body, just showing up in solidarity for groups that have no voice in our political hierarchy. The stage was at 3rd and Independence, and the closest I got all day was on the far side of 8th, it was so packed. I squinched my way slowly through the crowd, and watched the speeches, read the signs, lifted my own, and wandered over a block, two blocks, then back towards Constitution in a swirling mass of people. The speeches were fast, inspiring and urgent, and the calm energy of the massive crowd was impressive in its cooperation. I remembered smugly the derisive comments I heard in the days leading up to the event – that it needed to find it’s mission statement quick or it would fail; that it wouldn’t be able to produce any real results; that so many women couldn’t decide which issue to get behind for the march and wouldn’t show up – and I knew, standing on 14th Street that afternoon, that those comments were meaningless.
I marched with the Women’s March on Washington because I believe in fighting the good fight for basic human decency, to acknowledge and condemn the systemic racial discrimination and persecution of people of color in America and to #Resist the extremist religious ideology that persecutes the LGBTQ community.