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Friday, January 27, 2017

One Marcher's Message: A Guest Post From The Women's March On Washington

It's with great pleasure and many thanks that I turn over the Dept. today to a Guest Writer. Jill Meyer, a Dearest Reader and Subscriber travelled to Washington, DC, and attended the 2017 Women's March. She kindly agreed to write her thoughts and share them here with us. Jill wrote these immediately after the 21 January March, so keep that timeline in mind while reading.

Without any further preamble, here's Jill's account:


Many of you have asked me to write something about the Women's March in Washington, DC; my friend Elise and I attended on January 21, 2017. We went with her daughter, Sarah, and two of Sarah's friends who all live in West Orange, New Jersey.

Elise and I flew from Chicago to Newark on Friday, overnighted at the Marriott, and joined in on the West Orange group going to the March in DC. We left at 5 AM on one of the 14 buses organised for the group, and reached RFK Stadium parking lot at 9:30AM. The route down I-95 was jammed with buses, most of which we assumed were headed for DC. At that point in the day, I guess we assumed we would be among the 200,000 who were expected for the rally/March. That number went up and up as the day went on and people flooded the streets of DC around the Capitol. We heard that thousands of people were trapped in the Metro stations, trying to get up to the March, but the sheer number of people made getting out of the stations take up to 30 minutes.

When our bus - #14 - arrived at RFK, we quickly found Sarah and her friends. We couldn't decide how to get to the site; walking the 2 miles would take up to an hour and 15 minutes we thought, and we were by now hearing stories of people being trapped on the Metro. And this is when we caught a real break. We were directed to a nearby bus stop and told about a bus - free - that would take us directly to Union Station. We didn't have to walk or try the Metro and we jumped on the bus, amazed at our luck! We arrived at Union Station and walked the mile or so to the rally site.

By this time, the streets were filled with festive people of all ages and races. There were many men, both by themselves or accompanying the women in their lives. There were old people in wheelchairs and babies in strollers or carried by their parents, strapped to their chests or riding on their backs. Signs carried by many groups of families or friends identified them as rather varied; I saw one family group that proclaimed themselves "trans and gay, black and white". There were many multi-generational families, too.

And the signs! They were everywhere and were mostly handmade. Most were anti-Trump (along with a few anti-Pence) and ranged from fairly polite to downright scatological. I took pictures of a few signs; one was a drawing of Putin, naked and riding a horse with Trump's head. My fav, though, was a sign that read "Keep your tiny orange hands off my pussy", with a picture of a very cute looking...cat. Elise and I wore red baseball caps which read "Make America Great Again" -- in Russian. (We did verify the translation with a Russian speaker).

Our group of five managed to keep together for most of the afternoon, but at 2:30PM Elise and I walked back to Union Station and picked up our rental car. We had decided to rent a car to drive back to Newark because the bus we had come down on wasn't leaving til 7:30PM. We managed to pick up our Rav 4 before the Hertz office closed at 3:30PM and then - almost impossibly - managed to pick up Sarah and her friends! We made it back to West Orange at about 8PM, exhausted and happy to have survived the March - in all its glorious disorganisation and free-for-all fun. Elise and I flew back to Chicago this morning.

Here are my takeaways from the experience:

1. VOTING.  How many young women (and others) in the crowd either hadn't voted because "both parties are the same?", or had voted for a third party candidate? There's some statistic which states that in the three important states Clinton lost, the vote difference was 60,000 between Trump and Clinton (in Trump's favor) and an astounding 250,000 votes for third party candidates. What if those third-party voters had voted for Clinton?

2. SOCIAL MEDIA.  News of this March was mainly spread by social media. Supposedly, 500,000 attended the March. (The number may turn out to be higher, but for now, that's the number I'm seeing). How many of you remember seeing or reading about the Martin Luther King rally and march in August 1963? And seeing the pictures of what seemed to be hundreds of thousands of people? Well, according to Wikipedia and other sources, the attendance that day was between 200-250,000. That is half of what the numbers were from (The Women's March) yesterday. What a difference social media makes. I first became aware of this during the Arab Spring in 2011. And, of course, social media was responsible for the marches and rallies held all over the world. (A hat tip to Emily and Andy who took my grandgals to the Chicago March! Can't get started too early!)

3. NEWS REPORTING. I read several reports where the acts of violence done in DC on Friday night (20 January) were somehow included in the reports about the peaceful marching on Saturday. The Women's March had no violence whatsoever and at no point did I ever feel in any sort of danger. Why the disingenuous reporting?

4. THE NEXT STEPS.  What to do going forward? I don't have an answer to that, but I do think the world-wide marching and rallying makes it clear that people don't like the Donald Trump presidency and the working of the Republican Congress. All I know is that we can't stay silent and disengaged any longer. Maybe we borrow tactics from the Tea Party? They certainly went after what they wanted.

Let's try to make a difference in the days and months ahead. Organise, organise, ORGANISE.

--Jill Meyer

Note from Nance:  The Women's March website is active and moving ahead with some answers to Jill's question in #4.  And Activism remains what it has always been--getting involved, being heard, and making a difference on whatever level you can.  Don't let Them get comfortable.  This is Not Normal.  RESIST.

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28 comments:

  1. Thank you for this post. I have read many blog posts about the MArch and they have all been wonderful.

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    1. Mereknits--Haven't they? I've also enjoyed looking at the signs. I'm so glad Jill accepted my offer to publish her thoughts here.

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  2. "What a difference social media makes."

    Thank you Jill for telling us what the march was like. I watched from afar via social media and cheered all the marchers on to victory. Your statement that I featured above is exactly what I took away from this event. While the national news outlets may disregard &/or misreport what happens, people who are on the scene with access to social media tell a clearer picture of what's going on. This is a new normal I can embrace.

    Thanks nance for making this post happen. Great idea.

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    1. Ally Bean--I was so glad Jill contacted me about her participation in the March, and that she accepted my offer of a guest post. I know that so many of us were Marching In Spirit And Support that day, if not on foot with all the others.

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  3. Thanks for your notes, Mereknits and Ally Bean. Couple of weeks before the march I was talking to a guy and he said something like, "oh, hell, the news media will just ignore it", and I said, pointing to his cell phone, "with everyone in the march carrying these, the media won't/can't ignore it". I still know that we have to follow up.

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    1. Gammyjill (Jill Meyer)--Your point regarding social media is well-founded. And truly, cameras are everywhere as well. That's why the Crybaby himself has declared the Press "the opposition party." He may as well have declared The Truth as The Opposition Party.

      I think the Press learned a massive lesson after giving the Crybaby more than his share of media coverage during the primary campaign. They created his candidacy by over-covering it and legitimizing it. He was funny, shocking, entertaining. And look where we are now--a Kardashian Kountry. We are living a reality show. It's not funny anymore.

      Now the Press are asking tough questions and not letting his minions squirm away from them: I saw it on Sunday about the Inauguration Day crowd size issue; it produced the cringe-worthy "alternative facts" debacle. The heat is finally on; better late than never, but here we are.

      Now I hear that there is going to be a Science March on Washington, DC, to defend Climate Change and other science concerns. My hope is that the Marches never stop, and that the Crybaby tires of all the Unpopularity and goes back home to his big gold tower in NYC. Maybe with a police escort. Whatever works.

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  4. Thank you, Jill. You made a difference and that is no small accomplishment.

    Nance, I appreciate the link to the Women's March website and the encouragement to resist. We are all in this together and we must take action in whatever way we can. This man needs to be impeached ASAP!

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    1. Karen Schlesinger--You're welcome. I'm continually dismayed at the number of people I see interviewed on television who are blissfully content thus far with this neo-fascist administration. Reading any comments on news articles is even more depressing. Their coarseness and outright ignorant, blind acceptance of his duplicity and impetuous, reactionary pronouncements make me ashamed of this country. I've never seen such low-class sentiments in my life. It's truly disheartening

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  5. So proud of everyone who marched! Now, I have read that one of the biggest ways Democrats can start making a difference is by running for office, especially local ones, which Republicans do in much higher numbers. Which of course leads to disproportional representation. Whaddaya say Nance? School board in your future?

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    1. Gina--Goodness. Don't think I haven't thought about it. It's often a thankless job, that's for sure, especially in Ohio, where school funding is broken, and the State's Supreme Court has been in contempt of its own ruling on this issue for decades. And you're right--school boards on many levels are disproportionately republican (and male, and full of non-teaching experience).

      As I've said before, high-handed gerrymandering (another issue in Ohio being left abandoned by its legislature) has produced overwhelmingly republican districts that are ridiculously drawn. The link I've provided is an old article, but the map is still in place, and thanks to it, those districts (like the broken school funding) are going nowhere anytime soon.

      The Politics is broken. That sentiment is supposedly what drove this election and put the Crybaby in the Big Chair. Unfortunately, he is the King Of Crooked, and is installing a Puppet Government of crooks and liars. DC was built on a swamp over a hundred years ago; history repeats itself anew.

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  6. Running for offices small and large are how the Republicans got started. They play the long game, and it's come to fruition.

    The other major problem is Democrats who say they need to be "inspired" to vote. Well, maybe Hillary Clinton, Al Gore, and John Kerry weren't as "inspiring" as Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, but they would have made good presidents. I want to beat up the next 1000 people I read saying they weren't "inspired" by Hillary Clinton!

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    1. Gammyjill--Being "inspired" is right up there with "wanting to have a beer with", which was the big quote used with Bush 43. Look where that got us--which won't be hard, since we're still there: Iraq, Afghanistan, and fighting against the terrorists propagated by that war.

      Which leads me to another point: a big bone of contention was Sec'y Clinton's vote for the Iraq War, an action sold convincingly to a majority of Congress by General Powell, based upon selected intelligence briefings later found to be specious. No one seems to give a damn about the fact that it was the republicans who started this war despite the fact that none of the September 11 terrorists were Iraqis, nor did it sponsor terrorism related to September 11. No, they get all redfaced and sputter about Benghazi, but not about the 4515 deaths in the Iraq war or its 31,952 casualties. If you add Afghanistan, another 2392.

      Spare me. I'm with you.

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  7. I've read one interesting idea, and come up with a probably tongue in cheek idea that might work. The first is that we ALL join the republican party (ala tea partyrs) and change from within. My idea is wait a week or two, declare that the bilgiest wall EVER has been built and paid for by Mexico. IT'S DONE! WOW! And enough people would believe it we can move on. They can be shown existing parts of the wall as proof. My slightly passive aggressive part has the idea someone should paint a portrait of Obama on one section, a smaller portrait of donnie small hands next to it which would include a yellow water feature.

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    1. Sillyak--In Ohio, if I declare for the republican party, I can only vote republican in all primaries. (We have closed primaries.) I'm sure we're not the only state with this type of primary. And Ohio is already terribly gerrymandered to favour republican representation. Your idea only works if all faux republicans can run a candidate, support, and then elect that candidate. In 5-10 years, it might work.

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  8. Thank you, Jill, for the wonderful account of your day in D.C...I would have loved to have been with you but I am not able to do those things anymore.Thanks to you, I feel I HAVE been there,because your account was so
    informative and interesting.


    Here is the part I would like to respond to. (D of L,please forgive the preposition at the end of that sentence)

    You asked the following in PART 4..The Next Steps

    "What to do going forward? I don't have an answer to that, but I do think the world-wide marching and rallying makes it clear that people don't like the Donald Trump presidency and the working of the Republican Congress. All I know is that we can't stay silent and disengaged any longer. Maybe we borrow tactics from the Tea Party? They certainly went after what they wanted."

    In answer to the questions above, I submit that we should all remember the stirring words spoken by Michele Obama and change her thoughts just a little. From now on our motto must be "WHEN THEY GO LOW WE GO LOWER"
    As a famous dictator once said, "No more Mr. Nice Guy."

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    1. Nancy--I'm sure Jill has her own response to you, but I'd like to jump in, too.

      You bring up such a tough point for me, that of our response to the lousy tactics of the republicans and devotees of The Brat In The Big Chair. How much do we compromise our own character and morals? When we wrestle with pigs, do we just get dirty? They are already using the Bush-Cheney Playbook of ignoring truth and repeating lies often enough so that they become truth. Also, the old "I'm rubber, you're glue and what bounces off of me sticks to you" strategy (i.e., charging the legitimate media with "fake news"; accusing the Democrats of stalling progress with nominees; urging swift confirmation of a SCOTUS nominee as if the republicans hadn't forced an EIGHT member Court for the past many months, etc). It's unbelievable. The American public still forget who brought them the Government Shutdown, the Sequester, and innumerable stop-gap short term budgets, and caused our national credit rating to be lowered. I seriously cannot stand it anymore.

      How I love PM Justin Trudeau of O Canada! so very much, who is the very soul of wonderfulness. He is shaming terrifically Our National Disgrace. Do we want to slide into slime or rise above?

      It's a tough call. How best to fight?

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    2. Ive always thought the Democrats have NEVER fought low enough. The bringing of the knife (probably a butter knife) to a Bazooka fight is the Dems usual response. We have to tighten up our game - quite a bit. The "prognosticators" are already saying that we could win back the House in 2018 - BUT nothing will happen without good candidates and a huge GOTV.

      I also wish we could go back to Howard Dean's "50 State Strategy", so carelessly tossed to the side by Obama and Rahm. (One of the few bad things I can attribute to Obama!)

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    3. Gammyjill--I'm sure you know more than I do, but I know how hard President Obama campaigned in Ohio, in every little town. He had a campaign office in our teeny municipality (less than 50K residents) and had a ton of volunteers, me among them. I know Ohio was a major battleground back then, so perhaps that's the reason.

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  9. I would guess that the majority of people marching in the women's march voted. I think that reports of non-voters in this election are overstated, and are based on numbers before vote by mail and so on were included. Some of them may have voted 3rd party, but personally I do not blame them. I blame Clinton's team for not visiting states like Wisconsin, which should not have been taken for granted. I blame racism and mysogeny. And I blame voter suppression in many states. California has a very open voting system, with lots of options to vote early or vote by mail, and our voting rates were around 70%.

    We marched locally, and we loved it. It was a great day. I am thankful to Jill and so many others who travelled from around the country to march in DC. It was amazing. I was so impressed by the numbers of people in DC, and locally, and even more so by the numbers of people who protested in red states. I was curious to know if there was a protest in my old home town of Fairbanks, Alaska. There was. 2,000 people marched in 15 degrees below zero, in a very red state. Many of the marchers there do NOT consider themselves liberal, but they do not think this man is going to be a good President for our country.

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    1. J@jj--I'm not big on playing the Blame Game or Monday Morning Quarterbacking, as a rule. But when it comes to this election, I will say this about Voting In General: When a conscientious voter knew that the other candidate was a misogynist, a liar, a bigot, a fear-monger, and at the very least, someone of questionable character who had absolutely zero experience in government and demonstrated even less interest in the public good, voting for a third party candidate or abstaining from voting was throwing this country under the bus and he/she knew it. It was, in my own opinion, an abdication of their responsibility. Period. Yes, Hillary's team should have taken a page out of President Obama's playbook and made a much greater effort at a widespread grassroots campaign. Yes, she took for granted a level of intelligence and moral responsibility of the American Public that obviously was not there. But who would have ever thought that the citizenry would have been so base as to have elevated this individual to the highest office in the land? Pennsylvania and Michigan were a far bigger surprise to me than Wisconsin. It's devastating.

      I hope you write up your March experience over at your blog. I would love to read it. Thank you for Marching for all of us. There were Marches here in Cleveland as well as in Wooster (smack dab in Rural Red State Country); those were the two nearest me. I saw national news coverage of an Alaskan March, but I don't recall if it was Fairbanks. I was so gratified by it and all the Marches.

      I know this Preening Coward in the Big Chair is in all reality a child, driven by his need for power and approval. He has many fears, like most bullies. He is all about The Show. What really offends me is that the Supporting Cast of republicans are willing to allow so much collateral damage. They make me sick.

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    2. J@jj, a good friend of mine, Bonnie B, marched in the Fairbanks march.

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    3. There was also one in Anchorage and a few other Alaska cities.

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  10. Great story. I sure hope that this grass roots movement continues to grow. It is the only way we will ever get rid of The Prez and his henchmen. Especially now that he has appointed Steve Bannon to the NSC... well, just cue the Twilight Zone music. Many are saying that Bannon will rule and Trump will remain his salesman.

    My personal involvement will be through this organization: https://www.indivisibleguide.com/
    There is much to overcome to change the balance in congress: gerrymandering, voter suppression, voter I.D. laws, non-voters... about the only thing that ain't true is "dead people voting." We have to RESIST and overcome all of it. With the likes of Kellyanne Crapway and alternative facts, it will not be easy. But if we don't all fight, our country will turn into the worst sort of Orwellian nightmare. I fear, in fact, that Trumplethinskin has already set us on that path.

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    1. Ortizzle--Nice to see you, but sorry we can't speak of More Pleasant Things.

      It's stunning and frightening that so many people cannot see that he is batshit crazy. He's so far removed from Real Life that it has warped his mind. And the republicans are throwing us to the wolves. Truly the inmates have taken over the asylum.

      I've been over to Indivisible as well as many other places. Thanks for passing it on to my readers. RESIST.

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  11. Every time I read a story about the march (or the sister marches) I feel this huge sense of pride & hope. I couldn't participate (other than making a pink hat for a friend's daughter), but I really wish I could have. I already had something I had to do that weekend (for my niece) and it turns out that my hip is back in pretty bad shape (I see further hip surgery in my future). But oh man, this groundswell of female power (and the men who care for them) - it's just been amazing. And this week even lawyers have made me proud.

    I'm not naturally an activist - I don't write or call my reps. But this past week I sent a card to the orange one, and once we get moved to NC, I'll make my voice heard by my reps down there. I'm going to miss Sherrod Brown!

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    1. Bug--I've read a few blogs/news sites where certain people's supporters are saying that all the Marchers and protesters are paid activists. And one individual said she "doesn't believe any of this." It's true what they say: You can't fight Stupid.

      I was trying and trying to retire from The Politics. Oh well. Looks like it isn't going to happen after all. I was on the phone yesterday (called our dear Sherrod Brown's office XXOO), and the postal campaign begins anew.

      Here we go again.

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  12. Great to see that Americans still know how to demonstrate peacefully on the streets. The Women's march is the gold standard at the moment. If more protesters would organize themselves in the same way the country would be headed in a better direction.

    My Blog: http://sulfen.com

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    1. Aaron Ramirez--Welcome to the Dept. Thanks for stopping by. I think your comment re: the Women's March being the protesters' Gold Standard is a great analogy. Hope you stop by and comment again.

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Oh, thank you for joining the fray!

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