Marching on Washington (#170)

In case you missed it, there was a Women’s March on Washington the day after Donald Trump’s inauguration. (No, I can’t bring myself to call him President. Since facts no longer matter, I guess I don’t have to.) The organizers had a permit for 200,000 anti-Trump protesters.

Over a half-million people showed up, with pink hats and hilarious signs.

I was one of them.

*****

My Brilliant Blonde Lawyer Sister, who lives in the D.C. area, offered to host all her sisters for the Women’s March after Trump won the election. We took her up on her offer. I flew in from Los Angeles, the others drove in from all over the Eastern Seaboard. The traffic, especially coming down from New York, was insane. My sisters reported that pink hats and discussions on racial and gender inequities filled the restrooms on the New Jersey Turnpike.

The Women’s March was supposed to start at 10 AM. By 8 AM, the trains heading for the city were pretty full.

Here’s my video of the Metro station:

And this is just the metro stop. #march #womensmarch #pussyhatproject #arlington #resist

A post shared by Autumn (@westdateseast) on

 

The trains were not really full — not to New Yorkers like Singing Sister and DC commuters like Brilliant Blonde Lawyer Sister. They formed a wedge, pushing their way onto the train. The rest of us followed.

On the platform. (These are not the suburban Beckys.)

Howls of outrage from suburban women who only commute by Suburban followed.

“The train is full!”

“Well, I never!”

“You’re squishing me!”

I yelled, “This is nothing compared to Tokyo or Shanghai! Suck it up!”

One petulant pink hat complained, “Tokyo is orderly!”

Brilliant Blonde Sister retorted, “Oh, please! This isn’t any worse than regular D.C. rush hour!”

Cowed, they shut up. But probably only because we were white. I saw posts from women of color who actually got shoved in the stomach because suburbanites clung to their wide white idea of personal space. On a metropolitan subway, for chrissakes, when they should’ve made sacrifices in order to get all their sisters to the march.

Next time, I hope they Uber it.

Unfortunately, at the next stop the non-commuters wound up jamming the doors, possibly because they couldn’t bear such close contact with other humans. The train went out of service, the line stopped. For an hour.

So now WE had to Uber it — along with thousands of other women. Which is just one reason why I think Metro’s count of 1.1 million riders doesn’t really equate to the number of people at the protest. Plenty of protesters walked, caught taxis, or used ride share services. Some of us did all of the above.

Arlington Memorial Bridge, with the Lincoln Memorial in the background.

Our car got to the edge of the Potomac. Then we walked across the closed Memorial Bridge.

Our pink stream became a pink river, stopping next to the Hirshhorn Museum at 10 AM. We were nowhere close to the stage – we were at the last jumbotron, in fact. And we felt lucky, because hundreds of thousands of marchers came behind us.

After the speakers and singers, we were supposed to turn around and march back to the Ellipse (a park near the White House).

But we couldn’t. Marchers had covered the whole marching route. They spilled over from Independence Avenue to cover the entire Mall in front of the Capitol Building.

 

A favorite sign from the marchers way up on the Hirschhorn.

So the march turned into a rally, really. Linda Sarsour brought some badly needed Muslim perspective, Senator Kamala Harris was as inspiring as ever, and Ashley Judd’s performance of Nina Donnovan’s poem “Nasty Woman” was brilliant. I could have done without Scarlett Johasson’s looong piece supporting Planned Parenthood, and apparently the organizer’s agreed – they cut her mic. Finally.

You can see the full lineup on YouTube if you want. And your feet won’t hurt as much as mine did.

Eventually, the Women’s March inched its way to the Ellipse. Thousands of marchers left their signs against the White House fence.

We walked back across the river, because the Metro wait was hours long. As soon as we hit the path on the Virginia side, a pickup truck sped past our pink-hatted group.

“Whores!” shouted a few twenty-something white guys.

Brilliant Blonde Lawyer Sister laughed. “I feel legit now!”

The next three other cars full honked and cheered their support.

“Nasty women forever!”

“Smash the Patriarchy!”

“Yay!”

Favorite photo from a Los Angeles Marcher!

After our 5 hours of standing and 8 miles of walking, we returned to find coverage of the Women’s March dominating the news. Over three million people turned out on all seven continents to give Donald Trump the finger.

The news also had outraged discussions about Sean Spicer, Trump’s Press Secretary, lying about the number of attendees at the inauguration. I don’t know why anyone was shocked. Trump and his campaign lied about 78% of the time. Trump’s people even initially borrowed photos from Obama’s inauguration for his social media accounts, trying to make the Trump inaugural crowd appear less pathetic. Judge for yourself.

Park Service photo of inauguration Friday. See the sparse crowd on the mall and the empty Independence Avenue on the right?

And this is where the pussy hats – however you feel about them – truly proved their worth.

There is no way Trump’s people can ever substitute a photo of the Women’s March for the underwhelming crowd at his inauguration.

Because our photo has too much pink.

This is the Park Service Cam at the beginning of the Women’s March. By the end, we were packed in like sardines and could not even move. There were a few scary moments, but most attendees were very kind and polite.

 

Published by

Autumn Ashbough

WF writing about the humorous perils of life with Chinese-American significant other.

16 thoughts on “Marching on Washington (#170)”

  1. Absolutely inspiring, thanks so much for being part of a movement to bring hope back to a troubled country!!! Judging from the new administration’s ridiculous response, they are on the defensive and can’t win against the will of free-thinking American women and all people 🙂

    1. Thanks, Ray! I like to think they can’t win, but they control lots of local governments and will stop at nothing to maintain their power. Just look at those Republican Senators, formerly hardliners hawkishly against Russia, suddenly endorsing Tillerson, Putin’s buddy!

      It’s crazy. And so we fight. I hope all those suburban women don’t give up now that they have their selfies.

    1. I was proud, too, and it was such a balm to the soul to see so many people and so many signs. I’m glad you were there, too! We’d never have managed to meet up, though — impossible to find anyone. I mean, how many times did they do public service announcements for kids/ disabled persons separated from their parties?

  2. My son-in-law didn’t want my daughter to bring their eight-year-old son to the march. Then, seeing that other neighbor kids (In Rockville) and their houseguests from Nashville were going, he finally gave in. He made her promise, though, not to let go of his hand. For the entire Metro ride and march? Fat chance. And she did lose him once. She said he was only ten feet away, but the crowd was so thick, she couldn’t find him for quite a while. He got tired and a little bored, and he learned way too many “naughty” words from the signs. But it was worth it. This was a historic event. Now we have to fight on.

  3. I’ve been kicking myself for not taking the initiative and organizing a march in Johannesburg. I don’t know what I was thinking (or not thinking). Anyway, well done. Wish I had been there.

    And I totally empathize with your sister on the Metro frustration. I used to HATE dealing with Metro rookies back in my DC commuting days — especially the millions of kids on school trips to Washington who descended every April.

  4. You go Autumn!!! You were an integral part of American history on Saturday!!! I was truly humbled by all of the women’s marches… it also made me wonder why we have an electoral college, but still…

    I love the Cheeto Voldermort sign… haha

    Man, it’s only day #3 and Trump has already done a slew of damage and ruined my life (literally, his freeze on federal hiring has cut my job opportunities in half). Please god, impeach this man.

    1. Thanks, Mary. I am not sure how integral we were, but at least we wrecked his day and showed the world that Cheeto Voldemort does not have an American mandate (i.e., we do not agree with him).

      Also, all the portapotties no one used on Friday were still available for us on Saturday. Very considerate.

      Yeah, the federal government hasn’t been fully staffed since the 70s, I think — we’ve only added 2,000 jobs since then and created entire new departments. Instead, the Fed hires contractors to get the work done. Of course it costs more. Sigh.

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