Saturday, January 21, 2017

not usually a marching guy but geez ...

As my post title suggests, I empathize with this guy. When I heard about the Women's March in Washington scheduled for today, I found myself thinking that, if it were less logistically infeasible, I would go. So when I learned there would be a satellite march right here in San Jose, entirely feasible for me, I felt I had no excuse not to go.

This despite the fact that I'm not a march or rally person, and in fact had never been to one before. My feeling is that such events are fairly useless, serving little function other than to make the marchers feel good, and nothing that happened today changed my mind about that. So one perspective said it was pointless to go. But geez ... I couldn't not protest what happened yesterday. So there I was, adding but one warm body to the mix, but that's what I had to add. (B. has been ill, and has even more trouble walking than do I, so she stayed home.)

The march was scheduled for 10 am; uncertain about parking, I arrived at 8:30 and had no trouble. I was at the city hall courtyard where we were to gather by 9:30, and spent an hour and a half watching people mill, and hastily draw up signs. There were women of all ages, including girls, and with a smattering of ethnicities. About 10% of the marchers were men. There were lots of pink knit hats, and near the beginning when rain was still threatening some pink umbrellas too, some with pussy ears attached. The signs ranged from the direct:
  • Keep the Immigrants, Deport Trump
  • Build a Wall Around Trump: I'll Pay For It
to the allusive:
  • All You Need is Love, Equal Rights, and Coffee
  • Without Hermione, Harry Would've Died in Book One
to the aggressive:
  • Tiny Hands Off My Pussy
  • Tuck Frump
  • Nicht Mein F├╝hrer
to the directly feminist:
  • My Vagina Has a Lot To Say
  • Thou Shalt Not Mess with Women's Reproductive Rights - Fallopians 1:21
to the indirectly feminist:
  • This Pussy Uses Claws
  • Fight Like a Girl
  • WWMD: What Would Michelle Do?
to the self-referential:
  • I Can't Believe We Still Have to Protest This Crap
  • I Wouldn't Even Let Him Pet My Cat
About 11:10 the march got going. How many were there I couldn't guess, though a news helicopter hovering overhead might have some idea, and I did see the marchers covering an entire long city block of street, three lanes wide curb to curb, and that was considerably less than half. The march route crossed the light rail tracks, where a train was waiting. A transit worker with a bullhorn requested us to clear the tracks, and the marchers, otherwise mostly occupied chanting "This is what democracy looks like," switched to "Clear the tracks!" for a bit, and gradually did, letting out a cheer as the train passed through. I was very pleased to see this courtesy, as I consider deliberately blocking traffic to be a morally heinous act.

After about 50 minutes we were all gathered at Chavez Plaza. (Attendees of the San Jose Worldcon will remember this as the big oval plaza with the ground fountains in front of the Fairmont.) A podium with loudspeakers was set up at one end, and I listened to various local dignitaries and activists, about half of whom I'd heard of, emit invigorating blasts of hot air for about an hour, and then headed off in search of lunch, another popular activity among the marchers.

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