I went to a great and wonderful meeting in New York City on Saturday morning, a meeting which started in Australia since Saturday came there first. I first encountered it on the subway at 9 A.M. Instead of everyone burying their noses in their cell phones or in reading books and papers, they smiled and looked around. Most of them were women wearing signs and carrying posters. Some took photos of the others. Many wore pink hats as well or carried cat signs, a mockery of Trump’s admission of molesting women. The spirit was one of a gigantic laugh which summarized defiance. The women were saying, “you’re not allowed to do that to us….. again.”
The women were young and old, all races and nationalities. There was a reasonable smattering of men. Every seat was taken and the rest were standing. My favorite sign that day which two women independently imagined featured a golden haired man grabbing the crotch of the Statue of Liberty. It pretty much summarized what could happen. My favorite written comment was, If you screw a woman she’ll multiply.
Finally at the UN gathering, Josie Perez, as MC told us that when seeking a permit for the event, she told the policeman that she expected 500. He called the number unrealistic. 500,000 showed. 600 sites were reported around the world. The total number was in the millions.
This huge convergence of women (and men) has to do with the alarm people feel at the Trump crew’s intention to remove social care long fought for and needed to expand. They spoke against the loss of Planned Parenthood, which doesn’t only offer abortions but medical services for those who can’t afford them. Planned Parenthood said they will not accept their closing. People spoke for Medicare for all people as is found in every western nation. People spoke against our current form of slavery. Blacks up north and down south, part of the school to prison population are arrested for almost anything and then rented out to corporations from their cells. They spoke of student debt and the planned bring down of public education
We were told that New York State and New York City are sanctuaries which means that we will not turn in races, nationalities deemed undesirable by those who want to build racist walls. New York has people from every country speaking every language, artists, scientists, planners, laborers, terrorized escapees. This mix makes New York great (unless the “planners” upscale and make it a city for the rich. Sanctuary says no removing Muslims, gays, Mexicans, Jews…. Sanctuary.
An Asian woman spoke of being kidnapped as a child and sold into prostitution until she escaped. She spoke of child prostitution as a growing racket in the US. A Mexican man spoke of loving his mother who fled with him across the border, in order to survive. He is the first one in his family to go to college and now a lawyer. All spoke of the need to say no to the misuse of tax money and the taking away of our rights.
After the speakers and singers ended, we walked down 2nd avenue. It was a slow beginning with people still entering from all the streets around us as well as a poorly planned if not ill-intentioned too small opening in the hawsers for the crowd to exit. But no one panicked. I had the pleasure of standing next to the Raging Grannies, their hats full of we-stand-against buttons. They laughingly had plenty to say. There were drummers and chanters, call and response: e.g., “What do you call democracy? This is democracy!” There were roars from back to front, a gigantic sound which made us feel our number. There were hawsers to keep the marchers on one side of the avenue. Another laugh at the unexpected. People were on both sides of the hawsers and on the side walk. Uncontainable. The march was very slow, like the initial surge of pushed out earth before the explosive force of an earth quake.
A huge fight lies ahead. The Affordable Care Act which offers coverage to 20 million poor, is currently in the hairs of the ready to fire Trump gun. There is no replacement offered. The presidential website no longer has Climate change on it. Trump stated he “doesn’t believe in climate change, that it is a myth circulated by the Chinese. His cabinet choices either agree with his climate ignorance or do not care about it like Rex Tillerson from Corporate oil, which has lied about oil destruction for years and for whom nothing counts but profit. There is Betsy DeVos as education secretary, a billionaire who doesn’t believe in public education. All of the people nominated are against functioning of the agency they are supposed to represent.
President Trump seems unable or unwilling to get informed. He may not remember what he has said before and constantly changes his story. He is exclusively focused on image. He is not a reader. Possibly he lacks the ability to concentrate on the written word. He despises the press when they are not in his pocket and will try to keep or eject them from his meetings which have been very few. He labels all journalists as low life and what they say as lies. Tyranny starts with suppressing the press.
Trump is a hypersensitive man who takes every group and individual’s reaction personally and is quickly moved to rage. Destructive decisions follow. Trump has chosen advisors who represent his biases and will quickly move to enact them. There is fear in US citizens, that they will be attacked, jailed, murdered for speaking out. Some take a humiliated “wait and see” approach as if they can ignore what is happening. Hannah Arendt spoke of Germans not seeing the murderous prisons in their midst. She called it “…the banality of evil.” One turns ones eyes to not see what scares you. You know the saying, “first they came for….” ending with “and then there was me.”
I have heard people say that Trump is right to do exclude and excoriate the press, that they should not be so insulting. These people do not understand that press is our 4th Estate, that a democracy needs to have its faults exposed in order to improve. All of us is capable of the highest or lowest motives and behaviors. We need solidarity to help us choose the high road. In order to survive an onslaught on our civil liberties and our survival needs in the next 4 years, we need to become activists, to join the group which most calls us and to work on locally elected officials to represent us. New Yorkers need to get Chuck Schumer, our Democratic leader, to raise a courageous flag like did Bernie Sanders. Politicians are usually not a courageous group unless their economic and elected position is threatened.
Money is the Trump cabinet’s calling. Let us not buy their products, stay in their hotels, save money in their banks. If the Courts and Congress were able to support the law, our president who hides his unpaid taxes and enormous debt, who has all the DC visitors stay in his hotel, would be disbarred for receiving emoluments, money received for favors.
Will we be suppressed by millionaires and billionaires who increasingly own more of everything than the entirety of people beneath them? People will die of starvation, disease, violence; the physical world will enter a state of serious exhaustion from our practice of extraction. All gone now will be the result of our not choosing.
Please consider reading my book Unloved Again. Email me directly a firstname.lastname@example.org in order to get your signed copy. Paperback ($16 Squareup.com/store/elangolomb.