Today I went to the Women’s March in Des Moines, and it was awesome. The crowd was so passionate and enthusiastic. There was also a feeling of commonality and camaraderie unlike anything I’ve ever felt outside of a Pride Parade.
We left early this morning and headed to Des Moines in a dense fog, and the closer we got the more pink “pussy” hats we saw in the cars alongside us. Groups of two and three and five women were at the rest stop. An older woman in a pink pussy hat stopped to pose with a younger woman at the entrance to the restroom. And then we watched as she went and got in the car with her husband. They were on their way just as we were.
The excitement was palpable from the minute we stepped out of the car onto the soggy street. We followed a family with three young children up the hill to the Capital building, and I just kept thinking how they were learning so early to stand up for their rights. As we got closer to the crowd gathered listening to the opening speech I felt like I was back in grad school. I had my backpack on and was surrounded by hundreds of people who felt just like I do. There was anger on some of the signs I saw in the crowd, but there was also a lot of support and hope there too.
We learned chants and call and response and set off to march around the capital building. There were so many people there that I think the end of the line was just leaving as the beginning was coming back. There was an estimated 26,000 people in attendance. More than twice as many as expected.
It has been a long and exhilarating day, and I’m not doing justice to how amazing this experience was. One of the speakers was an 88 year old woman, and there were tiny babies. All of those people were there because they agree that Predator in Chief is unfit. He and his administration of inexperienced, biased billionaires are a farce that will do a lot of harm. But we’re not going to just accept it as the status quo. We’re going to protest and demonstrate and march and talk to our legislatures. One of the biggest themes that I saw in the signs today is that we will not be silent. This march and the original D.C. march and all of the other marches around the globe sent an important message today. For the first time in months I have hope. It’s going to be rough. The damage has already started with important sections disappearing ogg of whitehouse.gov. But the attitude today was not that we were there to prove our point and then to just stop making the effort. This was just the beginning. I have a feeling that I’m going to learn a lot about about organizing and marching and protesting and direct action in the next four years.
I hope anyone reading this can find a way to participate. Even if it’s just keeping yourself informed and making phone calls to your representatives. Or showing your support online. This is a marathon and not a sprint.
I’m exhausted from the long day, and it is entirely possible that this post is a rambling mess as I’m not going to take the time to proofread it. But I’m still holding on to that feeling of hope. We can be the change. We have to be.