Trump may own the presidency but he doesn’t own the people.
Writing about the Women’s March in Washington DC seems impossible because I was deep inside it, a part of it, and there was no way I could get a handle on what was going on or what was happening to the event as a whole. My memories of the day are a swirl of marching and standing in crowds bigger than I’ve ever experienced. It was the best kind of chaos: fun and frustrating, beautiful and pointed, but never dangerous or disempowering.
I went to the Women’s March in DC with my family and friends. Keeping ten people together in a crowd of half a million people was a logistical problem in its own right, but we were never separated so much that patience or luck couldn’t reunite us. Bathrooms were a problem until we stumbled on a small park that seemed full of them. Barricades that were meant to keep people out of certain areas or on certain streets became quickly meaningless as people moved them aside.
The march itself did not proceed down one street in an orderly fashion, it took over three streets, and maybe more. My family and I were marching with a seemingly endless crowd that didn’t join the full march until we reached the Washington Monument, where it seemed that people flowed like water on the streets and paths.
I never saw any behavior that even approached violence. I saw some rudeness, such as the young man who insisted on pushing his way through a packed crowd without regard for others, but he was confronted, and backed down. What I saw instead was kindness and patience, such as when young people were patiently talking politics to a woman in a Trump hat who had come to the event searching for an argument.
I can’t tell you much about the speakers or the entertainment at the event. We never got close enough to see the stage or even one of the large screens set up to help those in the back see and hear what was happening. We could hear the speakers a little and heard Alicia Keys began to sing, but after a two-hour delay the people were ready to march, and began chanting, “Let us March!” By the time Madonna took the stage the march had already begun. There was no controlling a crowd that size. They couldn’t hold us back.
We came to march against Trump, and we did.