The Saturday after inauguration day Kat participated in her first act of political protest. She and 600 others paraded around the State Capitol of Mississippi. I had serious misgivings – we’re in the old south and the police (never mind the local rednecks), aren’t known for their tolerance of any kind of protest – but I understood this was something she really wanted to do. After all, better to blow off steam in a march than by emigrating to Costa Rica. But she agreed to leave the camera at home: they can get smashed.
As we left Walt’s place on the short drive downtown, I begged him: “If your phone rings from an unknown number, please break your rule and pick up. That could be us making our one phone call.” As with Trump, a Rolling Stones lyric fascinated me. Actually, this stanza was from his campaign song, “You can’t always get what you want”. It goes like this.
“I went down to the demonstration
To get my fair share of abuse
Singing, “We’re gonna vent our frustration
If we don’t we’re gonna blow a 50-amp fuse”
Trump’s rallies played this all the time. And now he’s so thin-skinned about “getting his fair share of abuse”?
Political demonstrations can be spontaneous, but when they occur in hundreds of venues simultaneously, they have been coordinated. One can see this from the signs carried by the marchers. Nearly all were hand-printed indicating little or no funding, but some of the messages appeared at other rallies. These are some of the better ones.
I March for My Mother, the Nastiest Woman I Know
Keep Your Little Hands Off My Rights
I Wish This Were Fake News
Making Russia Great Again
and of course … Not My President!
The rally proved peaceful with no bruises or bloodshed. A few kooks drove by hollerin’ nonsense out the windows of pickups, but the cops, seemingly bemused by the whole thing, remained on their best behavior. It was a Saturday with weather as perfect as any fine day in April, and the Republicans who run the state went sailing in the reservoir or got in a rare mid-winter round of golf.
What does all this portend for the future? An easy answer is that a substantial fraction of voters will not stand by open-mouthed while Trump silences the press, appoints a cabinet of Old Swamp alligators and boas, and pokes China, NATO, and the Arab world with sharp tweet sticks. Another easy answer is “this too will pass”. Those are the likely outcomes. But there is one more. Rallies in every city featured speaker after speaker encouraging women to get involved in the political process. Start with local elections: get involved. Run for public office, win, govern and always tell the truth. Above all, work in every election. Work the phones and knock on doors.
If the world is to calm Islamic extremists, I have long thought Muslim women will be the voice of reason. We are now staring into the abyss, and we will need American women to help keep this administration from pulling us all in.
Google reminded me to mention the ancient Greek play Lysistrata. Those ladies ended the 27 years of Peloponnesian Wars, but it was far from easy. And as an R-rated story in a PG-13 blog, you will have to look it up.