REAL PEOPLE WITH REAL CONCERNS
It was nice to see quite a few familiar faces at Saturday’s women’s march in Marina – but it was much nicer to see so many unfamiliar faces. At least 2,000 of them, I’m guessing.
Even someone as dismissive as Donald Trump can’t dismiss this crowd — even if it was among the smaller of Saturday’s 600-plus marches meant to demonstrate that the new administration has no real mandate.
This was not a crowd of the usual suspects. These were not Democratic activists. These were not people who have time to protest because they don’t work. These were nurses and doctors, teachers and students, security guards and bank tellers, mothers with their children, fathers with their children, farmers and field hands.
We ran into a close friend of my daughter who was there with her family. Mom and dad, both longtime Republicans. I saw the wife of one of Monterey County’s most admired police officers. I talked to high school students and saw two Monterey County supervisors and a former supervisor. OK, the last three are Democratic activists, but they were the exceptions.
The march was at CSU Monterey Bay but it was not a college crowd. One woman held a sign that said “I’m Tired. I’ve Been Holding This Sign Since the Sixties.” Others carried signs warning Trump not to mess with their health insurance, their Social Security, the environment or, more than anything else, their bodies. There were a lot of pink caps.
There were lots of signs about reproductive rights and climate change. One sign said “Too many issues for one sign.” One woman complained that she had forgotten to bring her sign, “I’ve seen smarter cabinets at IKEA.”
The CSUMB crowd would have been bigger but a lot of Monterey County women, and people who care about women, had traveled to Santa Cruz to march or to San Jose or Oakland or Washington to dare Trump to ignore them. It is entirely likely that Saturday’s actions represented the largest mass protest in U.S. history, topping even the huge protests spawned by the war in Vietnam.
I saw that a former CSUMB president, President Peter Smith, joined a much larger rally in Santa Fe, N.M. That’s significant because Smith, before coming to the Peninsula, was the Republican lieutenant governor of Vermont and one of the state’s GOP members of Congress. In fact, he left Congress when he lost to Burlington independent Bernie Sanders. (One strike against Smith was that the NRA supported Sanders because Smith had supported a ban on assault weapons.)
I saw friends at the march and we caught up by sharing stories about Trump’s latest fumbles, about his press secretary warning the media that the White House will be holding them “accountable,” about the lame speech Trump gave after his CIA briefing. But mostly I saw strangers stretching for perhaps a mile from the student center to the sports center. I couldn’t get a good vantage point to attempt a real count of the crowd, but I know from basketball games what 2,000 people look like. This was at least 2,000.
Don’t let the Trumpistas tell you that Hillary Clinton organized this remarkable demonstration of resistance or that the protesters are trying to change the election results or set limousines on fire. The marchers were properly and calmly exercising their right to tell the new president that he doesn’t have a clue but that he and his wrecking crew need to find one fast.