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Sunday, January 22, 2017


    Francesca and I were two of the thousands who took to the streets on Saturday in Washington, D.C. We were there to resist our country's new President in the "Women's March on Washington". A half-million activists gathered to tell our new leader, "Our numbers are vast and we will resist your evil, divisive agenda".

     By 7 a.m. we were on a subway already stuffed with excited, pink-hatted people heading to the march.               

                                             A colorful group from Gainesville 

 Our first stop was the Library of Congress where Florida's female Democratic congresswomen were hosting a "Breakfast for Florida". When we arrived there were already a thousand in line.
  An hour later we were inside sipping coffee with Debbie Wassermann-Shultz and Florida Senator Bill Nelson. 

The Grove Guy making a fashion statement in his "Protest T with Pussy Hat" outfit. Senator Bill seemed okay with it.

     I told the astronaut senator about our Progessive Miami group and he seemed pleased.
Today we ran into him again at the new African-American museum.  Bill looked like a tourist in his Teach for America jacket.  

    After Breakfast With Bill we hit the crowded streets and headed to the march. Five hundred thousand people did the same thing. At times, we were bunched up like cattle. Thankfully, we were able to slip to the perimeters of the growing multitude every time we got trapped.
     About five percent of the protestors at the Women's March were men. All of us wanted to be near the stage for the rally before the march. We wanted to hear encouraging words from our post-Obama leaders which included Michael Moore and Madonna. 
It was not to be.
    It took an hour of circuitous hiking to get a hundred yards from the rally's stage. Then we discovered, with ten thousand others, we were behind the damn thing. A huge curtain separated us from seeing anything.
   To heck with that. We barely squeezed out of that crowd to make our way to a place where we could see the entertainment.  
   That didn't happen either. There were just too many of us. The stage event was created to serve about 50,000 people and by now, ten times that number were pouring into downtown Washington.

    1,800 buses brought protestors from all over the country.  Forty-eight friends from the Coral Gables' Congregational Church drove 18 hours to experience this historic day.  We never saw them, too crowded.

They'll be back in Miami again this afternoon.

      Missing the rally was unfortunate, we later heard the speakers were terrific (except for Madonna threatening to burn down the White House).  While they were at it we were having our own rally with the colorful people and their signs that surrounded us.
   Our satellite rally was probably just as inspiring as the one we missed. Some of the world's greatest museums were all around us too. If we needed a break we'd step into one and check out the Picassos. 

It wasn't easy to get inside as museum steps  became bleacher seats to watch the grand affair. Everyone entertained each other with singing, chanting, and warm conversation.

                              A group of health care workers put on a show protesting Trump's attack on affordable health care. They performed it every ten minutes for the people passing by.

     At Saturday's march we were on our own with no way to connect with friends or other Miamians there. That's what happens when a million people gather in one place. 
    We were our own Woodstock, small fish in a sea of people carrying cell phones that did not work. I imagined a world with none of these hand warmers and it was good.

    We were very, very happy.  We proudly carried our signs as did everyone else. Francesca's connected us with many other teachers,

  and gave her the opportunity to be interviewed by Julie, a local high school student.

    At one point on Independence Avenue we encountered Miami friends, Cathy Martin and Paula Musto. They were bundled up for the 45 degree weather.  The happily sat on on a planter wall, rare seats for the passing parade.  

   When we veered north across the mall we saw Miami's Diane Atkins having a smoke. It was great to see her too. A few other Grove friends soon found us.

    There were energized  people all around and every few minutes, the massive crowd would create "sound waves" which flowed over the multitudes. They were similar to the ones in football stadiums without the flailing arms (our arms were holding signs! I saw one that said, "My arms are tired").
    As we stood outside the Museum of Modern Art I noticed a sound wave (people yelling in unison)
that barely moved. It's creators were excited about someone striding through the crowd.
I  headed that way and saw John Kerry walking along. 
      Twenty-four hours earlier he was our country's Secretary of State. Twelve years ago Francesca and I met working on his presidential campaign.  Yesterday he was one of us again wearing a smart leather jacket and his familiar gray mane of hair.  
    Kerry shook a few hands but he seemed intent on heading towards the main stage a half-mile away.  As he left us his sound wave followed.

       Someone told us the far-away rally would end, and the march would begin, at 1 p.m.  It was half past noon. We had no idea where it would start or where it could go.  Floating in a sea of smiling people we could see slight movement in the middle of a nearby street.  It was a line of signs trying to get somewhere, reminiscent of a parade. I told our gathered Grove group, "Let's have our own parade; we'll join up with those people and go somewhere".  We did and it was good.

      Everyone else took up this notion and soon you were either marching up the street holding your sign, or you were a member of the parade audience holding signs as well. 


 These kids sat on a tall truck next to our parade route.  America's rebellious youth were well represented Saturday.


As it turned out, there were too many people to fit on one thoroughfare.  The planned march morphed from one giant snake into several.  They forged  paths on parallel streets and ln the wide Washington Mall. All of them became one as they reached the Washington Monument.  The march then proceeded to the White House (which, I might add,  has its own presidential hairdresser now).

   We didn't know any of this at the time.  We assumed our march was the only procession. Thousands of us were heading west, past the great museums, with no particular place to go. The street was packed and progress was slow.
    We didn't care.  Everyone seemed happy just to marching in our nation's capital for equality, clean air, the climate and everything else that the new President threatens.
       Three (or more) parades merged as we reached the Washington Monument. 
   It took three hours to march to the White House (about a mile and a half) and when we arrived near the south lawn we made noise.  We knew that Trump could hear us. 
   Our chants ranged from, 
"This is what Democracy looks like!" to "Hey, hey ho ho, Donald Trump has got to go!".  

As the day ended people laid down their signs outside the White House to create a People's Quilt of Protest.

  At this Dupont Circle hotel, the guests decorated the front lawn.


Please don't suggest that I  "give the guy a chance".  
He spent his first 24 hours in office bragging about himself, threatening the press, and complaining about the size of his inaugural audience. He told us, through his press secretary, that we now have to pay attention to "alternative facts". As a Washington Post writer described it, "We've gone full Orwell".

   We'll have to deal with this, um, "stuff" until his reign ends. Let's hope the angry kid president decides he's not having fun, he quits the game, and take his marbles back to New York.  Pence? Pee Wee? Anyone seems better than Trump at this point.
    Yesterday's world-wide protests were an inspirational show of force. We just learned that ten thousand people attended the resistance rally in downtown Miami. That's terrific for our sun-tanned town.
   I thank all of you who participated in yesterday's events.  There were 3 million of us world-wide, the biggest planet protest ever. If you couldn't make it, join us for the next one. We need your help.
     Don't let the orange-haired demagogue divide and destroy our nation. We are the majority. We will maintain this surge of energy, confront the Trump agenda and win the many battles that lie ahead.


I took many photos at the March. I'll put more on the blog later this week.

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