Gotta’ hand it to the kids. Tens – hundreds – of thousands of them are marching for an end to gun violence in the US today. I was going to go to the Boston rally, but have been battling off a cold all week and decided to take it easy for a change. I’ve been following the action on social media. This is a big one, folks, and one that will definitely have an impact on public policy.
I’m really proud of these young people. They’re standing together and have that fire-in-the-belly vibe that makes me really, really happy. And they’re not just marching. They’re talking about specific policy changes they want Congress and the President to enact. They’re saying if they don’t get the protection and common-sense gun reform they need, the eligible ones will vote the naysayers out of office this November.
The young people are joined en mass by adults, many of whom have spent years banging their heads against a wall trying to get our government to do something – anything – to change our insane gun laws. Black Lives Matter was out in force and no wonder, given the black male death rate by guns. I also saw a sign that read “Docs Against Glocks.” Saw lots of folks from Everytown for Gun Safety, too.
Common sense seems to have finally arrived, at the hands of women (at the Women’s March last year) and children (at the March for our Lives). And why not? Weren’t they the first to get into the lifeboats as the Titanic sank, while the rich, white males stayed where they were and eventually drowned?
When you’re ready, we’ll still be here (Occupy Wall Street)
Another weekend, another march. Another recess, another packed auditorium. There are cracks in the wall and I hope they get big enough for reason to squeeze through.
The only silver lining I see in Trump’s election is that it has – finally – woken up the American electorate. Stay woke, folks. And don’t forget, this is the culmination of so much that came before.
Remember Occupy Wall Street? Ever wonder why it was shut down so quickly? No one batted an eyelash when the Tea Party was out in full force. But the Occupy movement, the one that burned around the world? You can blame the protesters for being disorganized all you want. That movement got shut down because it was real – a real movement and a real threat. The tents came down faster than you can say “threat to the government.”
All that energy had to go somewhere and it has – right here and right now. But Occupy Wall Street’s memory is not the only force behind the resistance. Michael Brown. Trayvon Martin. Eric Garner. Tanisha Anderson. Tamir Rice. Just the tip of a monstrous iceberg that’s been gunning down people in communities of color for generations.
Of course, Black Lives Matter was the first thing in Trump’s line of fire. How insane. How obvious in its racism. Would you see the above picture during a drunken white student-break riot in Florida? No, I don’t think so. Music has followed this struggle, from hymns to rap. It’s been that long.
The more things change the more they stay the same. Death televised and no convictions. What’s wrong with this picture?
This video is from 1989. Actually, I thought about naming this installment of resistance music, “Fight the Power.” I first heard this song when I went to see Spike Lee’s “Do the Right Thing.” Good film, but I still felt like a white bystander. Watching videos of black men and women being killed in front of my eyes finally made it real. That and the cops dressed up like soldiers in Iraq. Like all good liberals, I’ve tried to understand and incorporate the notion of white privilege. I think Louis C.K. nailed it for me during one of his comedy routines. “I’m white, right? Yeah, it’s great! Are you kidding? I mean, c’mon!” In other words, no cop is going to arrest and then kill me for driving with a broken tail light. Are you kidding?
And native people. The bad guys in the John Wayne films and the heroic martyrs in more recent films. I’ve been getting a good look at a culture that was here for thousands of years before anyone else bumped into it. I’ve learned a lot in doing the research for this series. I guess the Dakota Access Pipeline was the final straw at the time it was also one of the first public stands against pipelines. Thank you for putting your bodies on the line and taking the beatings and arrests when they inevitably came. You did that for you, but you also did that for me. I didn’t have the courage you did.
“Who protects the people from the police?” Even US military veterans apologized for hundreds of years of repression, but the pipeline had to go in, didn’t it, Donnie? On their fucking land, what little we ceded to them.
Almost time to get off of my soapbox. I’m not crazy about rap or hip hop, but it seems to be a universal protest genre. I’ve heard it sung in cultures everywhere – rappers in Turkey, in Germany, in the Middle East.
But the group Donald-the-pussy-grabber brought out in droves and droves and droves? Women. Ladies, we’re leading this fight and no one’s going anywhere until it’s done.
I can’t keep quiet. No, no, no. I have to do this.
I’ll end on this one, in my own little baby boomer tradition. Who doesn’t love Aretha? Sing, woman!
I’ve participated in American democracy primarily by voting, at least up until now. I voted when I turned 18 and still show up for every election in the many, many years since. Like many of us, the election of Donald Trump has suddenly turned me into an honest-to-God activist. I’m calling my representatives in congress, writing letters to the paper and will be meeting a member of my Congresswoman’s staff this Friday. My Congresswoman will still be in DC. Otherwise I’d be meeting with her in person. I’ve been watching videos of town meetings in other parts of the country, where hundreds or thousands of people have been turning up to protest and let their elected reps know they’re on notice.
Republicans, alas, control both houses of Congress so there have been setbacks. We have a Secretary of Education who knows nothing about public schools or college education. We have a Secretary of State (Jeff Sessions) who was condemned by Coretta Scott King back in the 1980s for his support of racism and segregation. My Senator, Elizabeth Warren, was shut down by Republicans before she could conclude her testimony against Sessions. As a result, #she persisted is now a viral meme on the internet.
The Supreme Court nomination process worries me. These are lifetime appointments and we have a split court. It’s been rightward-tilting up until the death of one of the judges and the Republicans held up Obama’s nominee for an entire year. Right now we have four liberals and four conservatives. Another conservative could set progress back for generations. Trump’s nominee will need 60 votes to pass, which means some Democrats will have to vote for him. At the very least, there’s a great deal of pressure on them to delay or defer that vote. A lot of people are saying that the seat was stolen by the Republicans’ refusal to consider Obama’s candidate for so long. Maybe we’ll just have to wait, at least until 2018 when we might be able to get the Senate back, this time with forward-thinking, progressive Democratic candidates.
It’s been an amazing time. Massive demonstrations and mass actions everywhere. It feels different, like we’re on the verge of a revolution. All the energy that went into the Occupy, Black Lives Matter and other movements feel like they’ve come together into one, huge, uproar.
And maybe the women will lead. The Womens March, Elizabeth Warren and the rest may be at the head of the line this time, leading us to change.
I made history yesterday, along with several million people all over the world. I participated in the Boston Women’s March for America. We were 175,000 people strong. By the time we got to the Boston Common, the area was so crowded that we couldn’t hear the speakers, only clapping and roars from the crowd closer in. It took us over two hours just to get from where were stood at the center-rear of the Common to the street where the march commenced. I was surrounded by energy, love, diversity and hope.
I came with 16 other people, organized by my good friend Michele. She gathered family and friends, many of whom came in from other New England states to participate in the march. Some of those same folks left that same night. I applaud their energy and enthusiasm. We represented all ages. Michele (as well as many of us) is in her 60s. She was joined by siblings, nieces, friends of nieces and more. We had a family tree on its way to Boston Common!
It was an amazing day. Our numbers were far higher than anyone had expected. The same was true of marches in other parts of the country. We were a sea of pink pussy hats yesterday and we sent a message, whether or not our new “president” deigned to hear it. Everyone else did.
I’m still floating today. Every news source was full of stories and pictures of millions of people demonstrating and marching. There were marches in Antarctica, Europe, Asia and Africa. The DC event was the largest protest march in history. Our election put our own people as well as people in the rest of the world in danger. As an American, I have a responsibility to rectify that. Donald Trump was not elected by a majority, but by an antiquated electoral system that did not serve the interests of the American people in November.
I feel empowered, for the first time in months. And, I don’t intend to stop here. The marches were just the first volley in our second American revolution.
I’m doing my own little version of a boycott tomorrow, by turning off my radio, newspaper and social media feeds until this travesty of an inauguration is done. Perhaps I’ll work on my drawing skills, or finally get back to the novel I wrote that’s sitting on my floor, awaiting edits and rewrites. This is not so much a protest as self-protection, as watching or hearing the event would only result in depression, fear and anger. There are better ways to respond, and I’ll be doing that the day after, on the Boston Common.
The Womens March on Washington will be mirrored in cities across the US and the world and Boston will be no exception. The Boston Womens March Facebook page indicates that 38,000 people have responded “yes,” to say that they’re coming while a total of 40,000 say they’re interested.
I’ll be going to the event with several other people I know. A good friend of mine is the main organizer of our group of 16. That number includes young and old alike and not a few business people as well. We all have something to lose and at least 16 of us are going to let Washington know that we’re watching to make sure our democracy remains intact.
Evidently, this march is happening in other countries as well: London, Helsinki, Nairobi, Tokyo, Athens, Capetown and more. I am humbled by this global show of solidarity and sisterhood, also embarrassed and angry that my nation has forced this crisis on so many who have had nothing to do with us or our policies. The US is a huge economic and military power and what we do carries consequences word wide. So, we march and we protest and we do the most we can to stop this wave of extremism that has so traumatically washed up onto our shores.
I’ll take pictures and share them here. If you’re marching elsewhere, please do the same!