Riding the pussy-hatted rollercoaster

A co-worker asked me today if I’d gone anywhere on my long weekend, having been absent Friday and Monday. I’m sure he already knew where I’d been; I hadn’t exactly made a secret of where I was going, and you know how word gets around. But when I confirmed that I’d taken part in the Women’s March on Washington, he laughed, long and hard. Truthfully, I’d already started to come down a little from the emotional high I experienced during the march, but the Trump Troll punched my ticket to the sub-basement.

img_1870And therein, my friends, lies the challenge — how do we maintain the unity of purpose felt by more than a million people during marches and rallies held all over the world, including Antarctica.

When I arrived Saturday in our nation’s capital, I was an angry man, still outraged that Donald Trump had won the presidency, and dreading the havoc he would wreak during his term. I was also a little afraid, worried that packed marchers might be an inviting target for some deranged right-wing pudknocker wearing an NRA cap and carrying an assault rifle.

But by the time I left the march, though physically exhausted, I was spiritually at peace. I felt that I’d been at a family reunion, but better than that, a reunion with half a million men, women, blacks, Asians, whites, young, old, Christians, Muslims, Pagans, Atheists, and everything in between — all parts of the same giant, dysfunctional, multicultural family.

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You might think being packed cheek-by-jowl in a confined space would lead to some hostility, but I didn’t witness one harsh word directed at a fellow protester. Sure, people sometimes had to push their way through the crowd, but it was all good natured, all brothers and sisters, all watching each other’s back. Our hot-button issues weren’t always the same, but there was a tangible spirit of unity I hadn’t felt for a very long time.

img_1901img_1880It’s an oversimplification, but to me, the Republican Party is the party of ME, while the Democratic Party is the party of WE, and that feeling was so much in evidence that you could almost touch it. We were not all Muslim, but we cared about Muslims. We were not all Jewish lesbians, but we cared about Jewish lesbians. We were not all environmentalists, but we didn’t mock the science of climate change. We were not all white or black or brown, but we cared about people with skin colors different from our own, who worshiped gods different from our god, or no god at all.

img_1893img_1903Driving home the next morning on a jam-packed I-95, it was fun to look inside the cars surrounding us to see how many people were still wearing their pink “pussy hats,” and I couldn’t help thinking how many of them, like me, were headed back to some rural backwater to again be surrounded by ignorant Trumpkins, braying hate at the altar of their Peroxide Antichrist.

Yes, the march provided stark contrast to the debilitating reality of being surrounded by racist louts the other 364 days of the year — people who laugh about a poor Hispanic man riding a bicycle through a snowstorm for a minimum-wage job nobody else wants. Yeah, build a wall, because that guy is exactly your problem, and President Trump will definitely settle his hash!

As great as the march was, I wish I could bottle the emotional high because we’re all going to need to drink from it, and drink heavily. Organizers are already sending out notices for the next round of actions, but today, with all the pink hats scattered like seeds to the four directions, I ask myself how much will take root, and how can we, the seedlings of dissent, thrive in the cold-hearted wind of their laughter.

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* Video taken by my daughter, Rebekah Ray

 

 

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13 Comments

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  1. Rose Fritzky-Randolph January 24, 2017 — 1:46 pm

    Thank you for sharing your experience. I too wish I could bottle up the emotional high of the day and carry it with me for as long as possible. No matter what, I plan to stay active and informed, and I refuse to let the ignorant Trump supporting muggles get me down. Keep fighting the good, compassionate fight.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. We absolutely have to keep the faith. To keep believing that love trumps hate and rejecting the politics of hatred and division.
    One of my old school friends chided her son on Facebook, “your white privilege is showing”, which I thought was rather wonderful. I have seen the usual “You lost- get over it” as well as a lot of “What’s the point of protesting here in the UK?” type of comments but in my view if a person doesn’t get it then they are part of the problem and I need to stand in my truth even more solidly.
    And don’t get me started on “alternate facts”!
    Great video!

    Like

  3. Glad to hear that all went well and how peaceful it was all throughout the world. I wasn’t aware of it happening in London until I saw some protest signs being carried by people in a busy shopping area. And from the looks of what has been happening in the first few days of his presidency, I guess we all need to bottle up that energy and use it from time to time.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Nice. I’m glad you got to go. I think the momentum is there. Of course, Trump will be around to stir it up, least somebody forgets. Thanks to all that went. You families must be very proud. I am.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Love love love! There is a saying don’t know who to credit: they tried to bury us, they didn’t know we were seeds❤❤❤

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thank you for sharing this. It’s been amazing and inspiring to read about people’s experiences at these marches ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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