UPDATE: Check out this lovely video from Lauri Kash (Hint: yours truly is featured in it, along with my good friend Patience).
Word of the 2017 Women’s March on Washington began to spread within a few days of the national election on November 8. It had been a most uncomfortable election season. Nobody, no matter how they voted, seemed particularly happy with the outcome. Inexplicably, even the guy who now wears the crown. (Maybe because he lost the popular vote by almost 3 million votes but was annointed – I mean appointed – by the Electoral College.)
The phone started to ring: friends from coast to coast were booking flights to D.C. and needed places to stay in the DMV (D.C./Maryland/Virginia).
The March was to be on January 21, 2017, the day after the inauguration.
Considering how grim things had felt in this 98% Democratic town since election day, this was interesting news. The People, it appeared, were not going to take this lying down. The date was weeks away, but the clouds started to part.
Up to the day before, people who had come to town to disrupt the Inauguration were causing a ruckus. The bikers – whoever they are (but they say they want to be a “voting bloc.”) – said they were coming to support the new guy. And, not true to type, I found myself plagued by images from the Boston Marathon bombing.
The slogan for my sign came from some guy in Nevada City, Ca. named B. Gubber – a friend of Lisa Cowden, who was just in from the Left Coast. When she said it, I cracked up. “Mind if I appropriate that?” But could I draw it, though? Oy! Turns out I could. The damn thing was “cheesy,” but it worked. Got me laughing.
I laughed while painting it. I laughed for the two days it sat on my couch, waiting for Jan. 21.
And then I got out there onto the National Mall. I laughed watching people glimpse it, point, and double over laughing themselves. It was freakin’ AWESOME.
Then I saw all THEIR signs. Oh. My. Goodness.
It seemed clear the cathartic moment had been craved by millions. The hundreds of thousands who came to Washington came to make their statements. We came to represent our coalitions. We came to stand up for our values. It turns out we also came to find each other, to reconnect around shared values, and to renew the hope we had been progressively (no pun intended) feeling, believing that the nation was moving in a direction true to its founding values. Guess what? We found that.
There was some nastiness in the crowd’s expressions, some of it chanted by children. I regretted that, too. I still respect the office of the President of the United States. But I also feel that the new guy has set that tone. Ugh. We will have to put up with a lot of what my mother calls “vulgarity” for the next little while.
In the end, marches worldwide that day drew more than 2.5 million people.
So it turned out to be an all-out giggle fest. That day I came to the conclusion that – don’t laugh; I have never claimed to be an original thinker – “laughter is the best medicine.”
No kidding. So I’m putting the martinis away and looking to my compatriots around the country to keep the humor mill rolling full time. During the years of hard political work ahead, we are going to need to laugh and laugh and laugh.
A gallery of great signs from worldwide marches on Jan. 21, 2017:
Ben & Jerry’s has a hilarious gallery here of great signs from the march. So does Distractify. Heck, just Google “best signs from the 2017 Women’s March” and you’ll get a bellyful of giggles. Have fun!