Mythankfulboy and I went to Baltimore on Friday to join our friends S & S, take a chartered bus to Washington DC, and march on Washington the day after the new president’s inauguration in the Women’s March. We showed up with somewhere between 500,000 and a million of other concerned, many outraged, citizens. We showed up with the most beautifully-diverse crowd of people B had ever had seen, and if he had gotten nothing more than that out of the experience, it would have been worth it. But there was much more.
B wore a pussy hat made by his Auntie M, and habituated to using the word pussy, as did I, in a forceful, proud sense. We wore bright yellow Standing on the Side of Love scarves I made for the march, and people recognized us as Unitarian Universalists and stopped to talk. B saw signs in support of immigrants, truth-telling, reproductive rights, LGBTQ rights, freedom of religion, refugees, equal wages for equal work, transparency in government, Black Lives Matter, Planned Parenthood, education, veterans, and people with disabilities. He saw signs challenging the administration on transparency, including the presidents’ tax returns, conflicts of interest in his family businesses, and his personal treatment of women. He saw signs prompting the administration and our nation to love one another, to listen to one another, to sit with discomfort, to find beauty in our differences, to lift one another up, and to stay awake, active, and vigilant.
B stood and walked for hours upon hours, got hungry and tired and sore, witnessed blow up genitalia and discussions of menstruation, and rode through it on the high of humanity and history. He chanted “This is what Democracy looks like” and “We will rise”. We left the crowd mid-way through the pre-march speeches and sat down for something to eat at a hotel restaurant where we could watch the speeches on a big screen, then rejoined the throngs to wind our way to a meeting point to catch the bus back. Because the pre-march festivities stretched so long, and because the march route was so packed, we didn’t have time to march without missing the bus back. But we made our presence known.
At the end of the day we sat outside a restaurant waiting for the rest of the bus crew to finish eating. A woman asked if she could sit down with us just as I was getting up to go get us something to drink, so I introduced her to B and left them to sit or converse. When I returned, her posse had arrived – a group of women that looked a lot like our group of friends in 10-15 years. The first woman had misunderstood B’s name as “Dexter”, and they were all fawning over him, proudly calling him Dexter left and right, and he was smiling sweetly and answering to it. They even gave him an ovation for it being his first march – “Yay Dexter!!”. God bless him.
That evening we went home to our friends’ M&J’s house, and re-lived the day. The drive home the next day was a packed with traffic and drizzling rain, turning a 2 1/2-hour drive into a 5-hour drive. We saw signs in windows and honked. B wore his hat in the car and waved and gave the thumbs-up to people in other cars. When we stopped to eat we talked to other marchers, and we added a “Honk if you marched” sign to our own window. We saw people from New York and New Jersey, PA and Delaware, Connecticut and Rhode Island.
When we got home, the spirit of the march upon him, B donated money to a friend’s education cause. We talked about things we could do to stay involved, and he seemed ready to do anything I might organize. At the chalice lighting B was thankful for the opportunity to attend the march, and I was thankful for the opportunity to go with him and with S and S, and to be able to stay with and see M&J. I’m so proud of this boy, and the way he lends his enthusiasm to everything he does. I’m so proud of this country, exercising its democratic muscle in love and not hate.