The Women’s March

“Shame, Shame, Shame, Shame, SHAME! SHAME!!” This moment in front of the new Trump Hotel in Washington DC was, for me, the defining point in the extraordinary, historic Women’s March. The chant began with a few voices and quickly the chorus rose to a crescendo, beautifully adapting the meme from Game of Thrones where religious fanatics used it against captive members of the elite.

Trump wasn’t there to hear it, of course. He was comfortably ensconced in the White House admiring himself and thinking of new ways to defy the lessons of history by viciously attacking “the press” and “the media” as “among the most dishonest human beings on earth.” http://n.pr/2kd2p90

I was there with my wife, step-daughter, and some friends representing different generations. Another husband was with us and did a great job as “point man” for our group of a dozen. I was stepped on and pushed around many times by the crush of the crowd and I stepped on and bumped into quite a few people myself. To move in a group you had to form a human chain, linking hands and snaking through the small spaces in the sea of humanity. “’S’cuse me, sorry, sorry.” Not once was a cross word or dirty look exchanged. Everyone was there for the same purpose and no doubt as awed as we were at the staggering size of the crowd. We waited in a line for an entire hour to get to the bank of portable toilets.

A multitude of issues were represented among the throng, but there was no conflict among them in the March. Everyone was respected by everyone else. A remarkable experience. “This,” the crowd often repeated, “is what democracy looks like.”

We bailed out a few blocks short of the White House as exhaustion and hunger took their toll. Restaurants and the Metro were overwhelmed by thousands upon thousands of people at the end. Upon returning home, we were amazed at the pictures from around the country and around the world of parallel marches, involving millions of marchers globally. The crowd in Washington alone is estimated at more than a half million. The pictures of Chicago and Austin and everywhere are surreal.

The President will almost certainly continue to deny the reality that he is a minority president, that his approach to leadership desecrates the office he holds and is an embarrassment to this country. His relentless practice of personal aggrandizement, self-approval and hostility to truth, is matched by the shills he has hired to be the face of the White House. Kellyanne Conway, in particular, holding the title Counselor to the President, responds to points about Trump’s lies by pointing to mistakes others make. She just did this again about Trump’s demonstrably false claims about public attendance at his inauguration, angrily arguing that a member of the White House press pool, mistakenly reported that a bust of Dr. Martin Luther King had been removed. https://yhoo.it/2iRm2aJ. That mistake was acknowledged and corrected, but Trump’s lies remain. And the reporter who made the mistake is just a reporter. Trump is President of the United States of America. The two incidents are not remotely comparable.

Interestingly, Ms. Conway, when pressed about why the President would have his Press Secretary make a provably false statement in his first post-inaugural appearance, threatened the press again with a statement to the effect that “if you’re going to refer to the Press Secretary in these terms we’re going to have to rethink our relationship here.”  In other words, the press had better lay off criticizing the President and his staff or there will be no more access.

There is no reason to believe that Trump can or will change his approach to leadership. He is in, I predict, for a very rough time as President. The Women’s March is just the beginning. “Shame, Shame, Shame, Shame, SHAME! SHAME!!”

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