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California Walking

This Is What Democracy Looks Like

The most visually striking picture I took at yesterday’s Justice for All March, my California hometown’s offshoot of the Women’s March in Washington, was of a sign featuring Donald Trump’s face in the style of the iconic Obama “Hope” posters, only this one said “Nope.” In the photo, the great orange one’s face is illuminated against a bright blue sky, a regal palm tree behind his head suggesting, rather conveniently, a coronation rather than an election. It was, I thought, a no-brainer for what to feature at the top of this blog post. Then I started scrolling through my pictures again and I was struck by this one, both for the pink pussy hats that have become the emblem of these marches and the pose of the woman on the left in sunglasses: hand over heart, her face an expression of gratitude and appreciation. This—not Trump—is what yesterday was all about.

Like many locations across the country, the crowd at our local march exceeded expectations at an estimated 2,500 marchers. In a town of just over 100,000 people this was a terrific turnout, but the most striking thing was the diversity of the crowd and its causes. Kids, clergy, local elected officials, and regular citizens came with signs demanding equal rights for women and LGBTQI, water rights, racial justice, reproductive rights, access to healthcare, action on climate change, defense of science, and, notably, kindness. It seems the uniting factor of America’s latest government is that it’s managed to do something to piss off everyone.

But yesterday was not about being angry. Yesterday was about taking a huge collective sigh of relief at finding out your neighbors are as distraught as you are and they’re going to show up to do something about it. Yesterday was about allowing yourself a few hours of joy as we inched along the sidewalks of our old-school Main Street (no road closures were in place), answering call-and-response chats, my favorite of which was “show me what democracy looks like, this is what democracy looks like.”  Here, in one of my other favorite pictures from the day, is what democracy looks like:

 

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1 Comment

  • Reply
    Miriam
    January 22, 2017 at 6:23 pm

    Love! There were some pretty clever calls and responses yesterday in LA. Jack and I got caught up with an LGBTQ group who happened to have a megaphone… The most powerful weapon at the March yesterday was whether you were carrying a megaphone. Couldn’t get over how many clever couplets they’d pulled together. Xoxo

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