Thursday, January 26, 2017

All tomorrow's rallies: The Women’s March,
the next march and the one after that

THE PUSSY GRABS BACK.” A Jan. 15 email with this frankly irresistible title, from Caitlin Alesio Maloney of the Courage Campaign, clued me and other like-minded Americans of what was coming. Oh, Maloney and everyone in the country knew about the Trump inauguration, which was happening the following Friday. But that’s not what she meant. She was referring to the Women’s March on Washington, set for Jan. 21, and planned since Nov. 9, the day the U.S. presidential election went into the books (more or less).

Maloney wrote: “In what promises to be the largest mass rebuke of Trump’s misogyny, racism, and xenophobia to date, the march will send a bold message to Trump and Congress: We're NOT backing down.”

That was an understatement.

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Saturday, January 21, was an amazing moment. In the wake of an underwhelming inaugural message that sounded more like a threat or a throwdown of the gauntlet than a necessary, anodyne moment of national healing, people protested around the country and the world in small groups and vast and friendly tides. Over the course of the day, an estimated 4,750,000 people rallied in more than 650 cities. According to Twitter Data, 1½ million tweets related to the protests were sent globally.

It wasn’t a Women’s March on Washington, it was a women’s march on the world. They expected 80,000 people to march here in Los Angeles. They got 750,000. In Minneapolis and London, in New York and Oakland, in Denver and Seattle, in Hawaii and Miami, the word was out: People intended to push back bigly against a repressive governmental agenda and the reckless orange misogynist advancing that agenda in Washington.

And happily, it wasn’t just nasty women, either. One of the lesser-known but still resonant messages was that the marches weren’t exclusive to them. It wasn’t a protest against men as a gender, but against the toxic masculinity of which Donald Trump is hands-down the avatar of the moment.

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TALKING TO Ashley Fetters of GQ Magazine, Adam Khalid, a 28-year-old anesthesiologist assistant from Baltimore, nails the why of Why Men Went:

“I didn't think I was going to participate in the March in the beginning, because its leadership was unclear about the overall message,” Khalid said. “But as the message evolved, I became more interested.

“I’ve had strong female role models my entire life and couldn't imagine being where I am without them. It made me angry to see Trump and his ilk boast about not only assaulting women, but treating them as if they were nothing but objects.”

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And just as happily, in the wake of events since the Women’s March, the Saturday march wasn’t a one-off.

On Wednesday night, New Yorkers rallied in support of immigrants and Muslims’ rights at Washington Square Park. And another anti-Trump protest was held Wednesday night in Philadelphia. Protesters shouted: “No hate, no fear, immigrants are welcome here!”

The protests continued today as The Donald arrived to meet with fellow Republicans at an annual retreat. “Trump arrived in Philadelphia to address Republican lawmakers and broke with a long-held bipartisan tradition by refusing to take any questions from the elected officials of his own party,” Salon’s Sophia Tesfaye reported.

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SCIENTISTS ARE planning a march on Washington, Climate Central reported on Wednesday. The web site says that researchers and prospective organizers are meeting this weekend to discuss strategy and possible dates for the event, which was inspired by a discussion on Reddit. They’ve already started Facebook and Twitter accounts — de rigeur for social activism these days.

Even the Juggalos are hittin’ the bricks. Fans and followers of Insane Clown Posse and the juggalo lifestyle will march on the National Mall in D.C. on Sept. 16, in protest of the Justice Department’s characterization of Juggalos as a “loosely organized hybrid gang,” a misrepresentation they intend of oppose in the streets.

Plans for this march were reportedly in the works for a year, so this isn’t a specific response to policies of the Trump DoJ. But given the Trump White House’s penchant for accusations and the punitive, it’s a safe bet that the Juggalos would have planned this more recently anyway.

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And Ed Mazza of The Huffington Post reported on Jan. 23 that protests are planned for April 15 — Tax Day — to focus on Agent Orange’s refusal to release his tax returns before he was elected, consistent with a promise he made during the campaign. Jennifer Taub (@jentaub) seems to have been first with the idea, on Sunday, and it’s exploded into the twitterverse with joyful fury since then.

We can expect more of this in the months and (shudder) years to come. As the president-presumptive enacts various policies consistent with his world view and no one else’s, as he continues to run roughshod over the Constitution, he’ll go on being a highly visible target of opportunity for protests, here and around the world.

By the end of his first six months in office, it won’t just be the pussy grabbing back.

Image credits: Women's March top: Vulva: The Huffington Post. Not My President sign: Crosscut. Washington Square protest: Entertainment News Gaming. Juggalo Mardch poster: via Protesting bear: @Salon.

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