The fact that Donald Trump was going to be president never quite sunk in during the months after the election. His inaugural address didn’t temper my anxieties. It was a harsh nationalistic speech that left out any semblance of bringing the country together and moving on. He gave a campaign speech directed at the 46% of people who voted for him leaving the other 54% simmer in fear and disgust. The Women’s March was the first attempt to organize the majority of the country together as a movement against President Trump. Over 3 million people across the country participated, making it the most attended one-day protest in USA history. To the chagrin of President Trump the crowds greatly out numbered his own inauguration. He spent the next week showing how small he is by obsessing about crowd size, and lying that his inauguration was the biggest in history. The man needs to be seen as the biggest and the best, even if it requires a bold face lie.
My wife and I attended the Women’s March in Los Angeles. It was a joyous day full of cheer, dissent and a sense that everything is going to be ok. Marching with the thousands of people in downtown Los Angeles I felt connected to something bigger for the first time since the election. The election left a dark feeling that the bad guys had won and that the country I love was different then I had imagined. The marches showed how large the antipathy towards him is and the forces that will resist his chaos over the next four years.
I had spent the day before the march making two posters. One was about how the values of inclusiveness and diversity, values that are at the core California in 2016 are also American values. President Obama represents so much of what is possible in America. Donald Trump has advocated a different path, one focused on white nationalism and “America First”. The other sign was a riff on a Paris May 1968 poster. It is a hammer smashing “HATE” on an anvil. The poster is a scream to not normalize the divisiveness that has defined the last couple of years.
We showed up to the march two hours late but luckily found a parking spot close to the starting point. As soon as we got out of our car a family of five asked if we would take their photo. They all radiated joy for the photo as they held their signs. The event was a celebration of tolerance. The signs I saw were equally about women’s issues and protesting trump. There were so many creative signs. Some looked like full paintings. Others created elaborate costumes with Trump puppets. All adding to the previously mentioned feeling of celebration.
Walking with the sea of people from our car down Grand Street we reached a point with drummers and dancers. After a point the crowd was all you could see. On top of a parking garage I saw a small child with a megaphone shouting, “Donald Trump has got to go.” Out of apartment buildings people hung huge banners to show support. The horizon line in every direction was people. We marched to city hall were a large stage was set up and various speakers riling up the crowd. When we were there a number of Democratic state senators were speaking.
Before the march I felt a bit lost with the current state of politics and our country. After I feel a great sense of pride and a feeling that everything is going to be ok. Good decent people will take to the streets, mobilize and organize to stand up for what is right. There are many potential next steps, getting people to stay involved, coming up with clear goals for a movement and organizing to win future elections. While this is just the first step, I am glad I was a part of it. I am sure it will be the first of many protests during the Trump years.