On Friday afternoon, I saw several Trump hats and flags walk through my neighborhood on the way back from the inauguration. People had been out celebrating after the events of the day, and a drunk man in a Trump shirt jumped in my path, waved his hands in my face, and yelled “woo hoo!”. It was dumb drunk guy behavior, but it made me scared and sad. Is this going to be acceptable for the next four years?
On Saturday morning, my husband and I got up, made coffee, and donned our pussyhats. I had made two the week before – staying up late on Friday to finish the second one so we could both wear one. We walked though Lincoln park and the stream of women walking from RFK stadium toward the Capitol was non-stop. At 8:45am, hundreds of men and women were walking through the park carrying signs and flags and wearing pink hats. I started to realize that this thing was big and that gave me hope.
After meeting up with the rest of the CounterAct group, we all headed toward the rally. As we walked up Pennsylvania Ave, the crowds got thicker and thicker. I had never seen this many people in one place in DC before. It started to get harder to keep an eye on everyone in the group, especially since everyone was wearing a pink pussyhat.
An aside: I procrastinated making a hat for so long because I wasn’t sure if it would only be a joke amongst knitters. There’s a website called Ravelry for fiber enthusiasts – if you’re a knitter or crocheter, you’ve heard of it, otherwise probably not. It’s like Facebook but for people who play with yarn. I saw on Ravelry that people were churning out hats and sending them to DC in droves and I thought “I can’t be a knitter without my own hat in my own city – that would be shameful”. I bought the yarn the week before and knitted through every spare moment to finish the two and I’m so glad I did. Currently, if you go to pussyhat.com (the real site is Pussyhatproject.com), it’s a DJT Whitehouse mirror site. We got to them.
Eventually, our group staked out a spot on Maryland and 6th, close to the Air and Space museum. There was a screen in the distance, but I could only see it though the mass of signs shifting and swaying. The speakers were pointed away from us, and it was hard to hear many of the speakers – I had to watch a lot of it later online. There was so much energy in the crowd. People were laughing and talking, but there was a seriousness to the event. We were there to support one another, those who were there and those who weren’t. Everyone was mad, but that anger was all directed toward one person.
Since we couldn’t hear very well and weren’t sure why we weren’t marching yet at 1:45, the remainder of the group moved toward Independence to see if people were walking, and that’s when it started to dawn on me that this thing was big. It wasn’t until later when I saw the ariel photos that I got a real sense of what was happening that day. Because the crowd was so big, phone service was slow or non-exsistant, and it wasn’t until we got on the metro that we got the news that the official “march” had become a “rally” because there were too many people.
I spent the rest of the night looking at Facebook and Twitter, seeing marches and rallies from all over the world, and feeling jubilant that there were so many willing to stand up.
But what does it all mean?
It’s awesome that this occurred, and it brings me hope for the next four years. But we have to remember that this was easy, and it’s going to get hard. More needs to happen. Standing outside in a pink hat is a great start, but a bunch of hats is not going to stop this administration from attempting to take away our healthcare and safe access to abortion, make life even harder for our brothers and sisters of color and, immigrants, the LGBTQ community, and those of non-Christian faiths, and continue to promote misogyny and rape culture.
I hope that everyone takes a moment to remember how awesome it felt to be standing in crowds of thousands (or millions) of people that all felt the same way and to hold that when standing alone against bullies or stepping in when you see it happening to someone else. My mantra in 2017 is “Do no harm, but take no shit”.