1/23/2017

Pictures from a Protest

I went to the Women's March in New York City on Saturday at my assigned time. The organizers had asked people to sign up and then show up at a time that matched the first letter of their last names. But when we arrived, around 1 p.m., it was obvious that things were overwhelming the well-laid plans. Essentially, the route was full, and it had already squeezed further back than it was originally supposed to be, up 2nd Avenue. Marchers were taking over streets that weren't on the route, which was supposed to go from 48th Street, down 2nd to 42nd, and up 5th Avenue to 56th Street and Trump Tower. We were standing for over an hour before we finally started slowly moving forward. A couple of hours later, when we hit 42nd Street, this was the view:


Yeah, we figured out pretty damn quickly that this had blown up from something big to something enormous. Most importantly, it was something bigger than any Tea Party day of protests had ever been, and look how that movement got to punch liberty in the face and hold it hostage. It was ostensibly a march to highlight women's issues, and the organizers tried to say that it wasn't necessarily anti-Trump, but that memo clearly didn't fly:





Women and men across the racial, age, gender identity, and ability spectrum were there. Sometimes they became leaders, as this little girl, Sophia, did while sitting on her older brother's shoulders. That feminist warrior raged loud and proud throughout the whole march:

video

And there were lots of uteruses and ovaries and vaginas on the posters, often with angry faces, lady parts ready to kick some ass.


Things were remarkably focused on feminist issues - reproductive rights, workplace rights, and more. I saw none of the usual "Free Mumia" or "Free Palestine" kinds of signs, righteous sentiments to be sure, but those dilute the message of the day, and that message was crystal clear. Donald Trump and his government need to keep their grabbing hands off all the pussies. And other things, as a certain princess reminded us.


By the time we made it to Trump Tower, the parade was over. It had been stopped from going right up to the doors of the ugly symbol of the ugly soul who has polluted the nation. Instead, the lingering protesters were made to chant across the street.


Lining 56th Street, in front of the barricades, a sign graveyard had developed, with marchers leaving behind their placards and posters in an orderly line right near the tower.


The signs were everywhere, plastered onto light posts, propped up in the subways, stabbed onto gates. Midtown Manhattan was awash in anger at this pretender, this fraud that, goddamnit, we knew well enough to try to tell the rest of the country, "Are you mad?" But no one listened to us, the city that knows him best. Even more insulting, no one listened to the women who were raising alarm bells and waving their hands.

As for what comes now, well, there will be the inevitable backlash on the left.  There is already one from some women of color who feel as if their issues were whitewashed, a not-unfair charge (says this white male with a full acknowledgement of his privilege). But it's also unfair to attack people for marching now or for the first time. When someone allies with you, you should educate them in your cause, not ask, "Well, where the fuck were you all this other time?"

We must stay unified while they seek to divide us. We will obviously get under Trump's incredibly thin skin. Next up may be a massive protest on his tax returns. Whatever it is, the energy of this past Saturday has to be fanned until election day 2018, when we can attempt to take back at least one house of Congress, which is seeming to be the only way to slow down this runaway, screaming train on fire.

Women put their bodies on the line this weekend, along with men who believe those bodies have agency. It's up to everyone to use their bodies and their voices, not just here, but in the actual bodied world to become roadblocks and a massive threat to those who would tell us all that the nation doesn't belong to us anymore.