I had the
good interesting fortune to run into the San Fransisco branch of the Women’s March today and stayed for the show as long as I could. Unfortunately I had not been prepared to meet the monster face-to-face, so I was only able to grab a bit of footage before my phone battery ran out.
Don’t you feel like Apple screws with you with that battery life thing? It’s like they want you to upgrade so your battery becomes complete bunk just as the new phones come out. I’m thinking about organizing a march.
Anyway, there were lots of signs of the variety you can imagine. I’d estimate the crowd at the beginning to be a few thousand at least, with many more rushing in before they actually left the staging and speaking area to march down Market street. The mood was upbeat and positive, but there was unsurprisingly no lack of vulgarity on display.
What I found most striking about the protest was how disjointed it was. The original theme was women’s rights, I guess because of Trump’s now infamous declaration of how he gropes the privates of women, or maybe because they think a president can actually repeal a Supreme Court decision. It is unclear even what the original impetus was anymore. At the San Fransisco march it was even more vague.
I stood in the rain and listened to 30 minutes of speeches from illegal immigrants complaining about not being treated like Americans. Black Lives Matter signs were scattered throughout the crowd. Some women carried signs about abortion but more carried signs about transgender rights or “queer” causes. It was a smorgasbord of outrage.
The truth is, while I found all of these vague hysterics amusing, people were generally kind and enjoying themselves. It wasn’t like the Occupy Wall Street protests I’ve been around in the past. I did not continue on to march with them, so I have no idea how behavior may have changed once they were on the move, but as we stood to listen to speeches and music it was clear people were there for what they felt was good cause and they were in good cheer. Perhaps their attitudes might have changed if I’d identified myself as “the enemy”, but regardless I didn’t feel weird or threatened. People were happy and many spoke of not wanting to spend four years feeling terrified. They looked at these protests as a way to be hopeful.
What really stood out was that for all the fear-mongering and terror coming from the left in the days following Trump’s election, when pressed, most people couldn’t really say what they thought was going to happen. They had their soundbite answers about abortion and (this one still cracks me up) conversion therapy, but in the end no one could really put a finger on exactly what Trump planned to do. If more people would step back for a moment and take breath and think about that, they might at least be willing to put down the pitchforks and wait for this man with no government record to make an actual move before they panic.
This young man was actually really nice and the more I spoke to him the more I realized he had no nefarious intentions. He just wanted to feel safe. The truth is…he just doesn’t know what to expect…
…and basically neither did this guy.
I left the march feeling more sad than angry. Sad that so many people are so scared of a man who hasn’t done anything for or against us yet. If we could all take a posture of “wait and see” we might all find a way to at least walk together through that unknown over the next four years.