Sunday, January 21, 2018

Women's March, 2018

City Hall, January 20, 2018
Last year’s Women’s March in downtown L.A. was one of the most validating events I've ever experienced. A half-million protesters joined together to alert the newly inaugurated White House occupant that we would be watching and weighing everything he did. The march was spontaneous, joyous, and exhilaratingly hopeful. We took our despondency over Hilary Clinton’s loss and turned it into positive collective action. I insisted that we march again yesterday, one year later.

Yesterday's protesters met at Pershing Square with the goal of marching to City Hall, several blocks away. Even though the actual march wasn’t scheduled to start till 10AM, participants were advised to arrive early to attend the pre-march rally and get fired up.

On the train to downtown L.A.: me in my 

Tim and I boarded the eastbound lightrail at 7:45AM. Most seats were already taken by (mostly) women, wearing pink “pussy hats” and warm clothes. Except for a handful of coeds, who got on at the USC stop, the great majority of riders were from the westside. We amused ourselves listening to them describe their recent trips to Europe and complain about managing their rental properties in Venice, CA. One woman’s mother skyped her as we approached downtown. “Hi, Mom,” she chirped. “I’m on the train to Los Angeles to march. Look, here’s my protest poster!”

We arrived at Pershing Square by 8:30AM and staked out a spot to stand. Occasionally, the crowd would cheer, but we didn’t know why because we couldn’t see the speakers or hear what they were saying. It was a colder-than-usual morning, so we tried to stay warm, while more and more people arrived, carrying signs and wearing pink hats. 

Lots of vendors this year—better prepared than last year
Several themes dominated this year’s march. Although there were many signs in support of the Dream Act and the “Me, Too” movement, most protested the current occupant of the White House and his recent rant against immigrants from “shithole” countries. The general consensus was that he should be impeached and that Congressional Republicans should be voted out of office next November. We wholeheartedly agreed.

"How to spot a dictator . . ."

Human march and "Spank Him Mueller!"

Who's a shithole now?

Some pro-abortion signs, too

Several of these . . . 
As the clock ticked past 10AM, the crowd started to grow restless waiting for the march to begin. Finally, we spotted a group of mutineers, pushing their way back towards us from the front of the crowd.

“Everyone is gridlocked,” they reported and so were trying to find another route to City Hall. A few minutes later, I looked over my shoulder and saw people behind us starting to march toward Broadway. We quickly joined them and were on our way.

Marching down Broadway
Suddenly I forgot about being cold and was soon chanting along with the marchers. “What does democracy look like?” someone yelled. “THIS IS WHAT DEMOCRACY LOOKS LIKE!!” I screamed back and almost started crying with joy. It was truly wonderful.

We marched and fist-pumped our way down Broadway to City Hall. Even though this was not the planned route, Tim was happy to see several entrepreneurial street vendors selling bacon-wrapped hot dogs and so stopped to grab breakfast. Protesting, after all, can be hard work!

Grabbing breakfast from street vendor

Bacon-wrapped hot dog (gag!)
Thousands of people were already in front of City Hall by the time we arrived. We basked in the fellowship, took photos and then turned around to walk back down Broadway in search of restrooms. We missed the celebrity speakers—Olivia Munn, Natalie Portman, Viola Davis, et al.—but felt we had done our civic duty and so were now heading home. The lightrail was blissfully uncrowded.

Protesters at City Hall: "HISTORY IS HERSTORY"

Spotted on the way back home: Channel 7 news van with a
hand-scrawled note on pink paper, saying, "THIS IS WHAT 
DEMOCRACY LOOKS LIKE!" No fake news here. 


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