(There is a gallery of photos at the end of this story)
By Doug Porter
I’ve been to a few demonstrations in my day: Los Angeles, Berkeley, Madison, Chicago, Ann Arbor, Washington DC, but mostly in San Diego. (Hey, I’m a child of the sixties!) And Saturday’s Women’s March through downtown takes the cake for the unity and overwhelmingly positive energy I felt.
I know more than a few people in San Diego’s activist circles and saw almost nobody I knew. That’s when I knew something really big was going on. Another clue was that the cellular networks couldn’t keep up.
The best part was the absence of any sense of personal alienation, despite being surrounded by a crowd of strangers. We were one. People were polite and caring. Strangers weren’t quite so strange. For a few hours we were wrapped in a cocoon of solidarity.
Our little group of three never got anywhere near the stage at the Civic Center Plaza prior to the march and never heard any speakers in front of the County Administrative Building at its conclusion. It wasn’t necessary.
The mood of the crowd and their dedication to being heard as one big collective voice was better than any speech could have been. Women were in charge of the day; they were saying No to a reactionary agenda and Yes to Rights for Humans of every persuasion.
The closest we got at the start was the intersection of 4th and B Streets. We heard the drums start, indicating it was time to start marching, but nothing happened. A brief shower passed over, some chants made their way around the nearby crowd… and nothing. THAT’s when it dawned on everybody to make their own way over to Broadway.
We merged with the crowd pouring out of 3rd street, 2nd, and took over all four lanes of Broadway. Other than a guy in a suit with an angry face looking down from the Westin–probably the hotel general manager, a friend noted–the rest of the spectators along the way were happy to see us.
As we turned onto Harbor Drive, we could see passengers on the cruise ships waving and watching the march.
At the end of it all we –and lots of other people– walked up through the Little Italy Farmers Market. The John Bircher with the 80’s mustache who sells eggs (at this and other markets) scowled. Most everybody else smiled And it was all smiles riding home on the bus, packed with departing marchers who didn’t feel so much like strangers anymore.
For a few moments anyway, the depression caused by the boorishness emanating from the stage at Friday’s inauguration was washed away by a sea of hope, in San Diego and hundred of cities around the globe.
Now it’s time for the real hard work to begin. The marches were a necessary first step. Here are 100 actions for the first 100 days of the Trump administration. There will be a pop quiz, so study up.
— Ben Katz (@MeanestBossEver) January 22, 2017