One fine day

by Maria on January 21, 2017

Women's March London, 21 January 2017

Women’s March London, 21 January 2017

Your opponents would like you to believe that it’s hopeless, that you have no power, that there’s no reason to act, that you can’t win. Hope is a gift you don’t have to surrender, a power you don’t have to throw away. And though hope can be an act of defiance, defiance isn’t enough reason to hope. But there are good reasons.

Hope locates itself in the premises that we don’t know what will happen and that in the spaciousness of uncertainty is room to act. When you recognize uncertainty, you recognize that you may be able to influence the outcomes – you alone or you in concert with a few dozen or million others. Hope is an embrace of the unknown and the unknowable, an alternative to the uncertainty of both optimists and pessimists.

Rebecca Solnit, Hope in the Darkness, 2005/2016

“Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced. Hope gets you there; work gets you through.” James Baldwin (quoted in Solnit).

Fellowship carries many through the long years when faith is in doubt. A political struggle like the one many now face needs equal parts work, hope and fellowship. Hope and fellowship alone won’t suffice, but oh, how badly we needed them. The worst (yet) has happened. Now we can begin.



Peter K. 01.21.17 at 9:39 pm

The marches and protests are very inspiring.


Bill Benzon 01.21.17 at 10:12 pm

Yes, Peter K, very inspiring. Let us hope that this is a ‘tipping point’ in national energies in the USA. Beyond hope, let us MAKE it a tipping point.


oldster 01.22.17 at 1:58 am

The Mall was beautiful today.

Constitution and Pennsylvania Avenue were beautiful today.

Independence Ave was probably beautiful, too, but it was so crowded that I never got near it.

Progressives, liberals, democrats, women. We have the best, funniest, signs in the world.

Now someone in the Democratic Party must turn this grass-roots, disorganized miracle into a disciplined movement to take back the country from the Russian occupation.


Oliver 01.22.17 at 3:03 am

I was at the rally in Chicago today. As my wife and I were walking downtown we discussed the prospect for turnout. She had been checking on the web, and apparently something like 30,000 people had signed up. I expressed my hope that turnout would be much higher than that.

As we neared downtown it instantly became clear that there would be many more than that number of people. We never managed to get close to the stage, and even with amplification, we heard nothing of the speeches. There was never an actual march, but the huge number of people downtown simply overwhelmed the streets and many major downtown streets 4 lanes wide were simply packed with people and traffic shut out ad hoc. It took an hour for us to move a tenth of a mile as the crowd left the park.

It’s obviously impossible to judge crowd size when you are in it, but considering the experiences I’ve had in Chicago over the years at downtown concerts and festivals, this had to be at least 250,000 people and I would not be surprised if it was many more than that.

Compared with what happened in 2000, and how long it took for resistance to Bush to build, I feel as if we are years ahead of schedule. Republican control of our government is miles wide and tissue deep. Nothing like the small crowds of people I remember for anti-Iraq war protests. It is so gratifying to see big crowds in places like St Louis and Denver, where I have less expectation of support for a progressive, pro-woman agenda.

This is the certainly the best I have felt since the election. Thank you to everyone who came out today, all over the world.


h 01.22.17 at 4:20 am

I dropped my wife, kids, mother-in-law and neighbor off at one end of State street, then spend 60 minutes finding somewhere to park, then tried to get through the crowds to find them. On the way down the street I bumped into a couple of students, who were walking up with 10 of their sorority sisters — and introduced me to them all with great excitement. For each of them it was their first demonstration. Mine was in 1979 (I didn’t tell them that). The police are claiming 75,000 in Madison, but they have an incentive to overestimate — I would actually put it a bit lower than that. But it was huge, as our President likes to say, and cheery and festive, not angry.

Oldster’s final sentence is the key. How do you turn these people into doers? Which of those sorority sisters is going to run for office, and who is going to surround and support and guide them? And who’s going to reach out to this woman and convince her its worth running for something?:


Hidari 01.22.17 at 8:40 am


Placeholder 01.22.17 at 10:18 am

@Hidari: The march on Versailles comparison was especially telling.


Hidari 01.22.17 at 12:01 pm

@7 To be honest I am surprised it got published in the ‘liberal’ Guardian. Positive mentions of 1789 are usually verboten in liberal discourse.

On an unrelated topic, I am sure that 2017 is the centenary of something, another protest against a corrupt oligarch somewhere. What might it have been?

Nope it’s gone.


CDT 01.22.17 at 5:41 pm

Phoenix drew about 20,000, which does not compare favorably with other “big” cities but was huge for us. Biggest crowd I’ve seen.


Dipper 01.22.17 at 5:44 pm

My initial reaction (white, male, cynical) was to agree with Janice Turner in The Times that the timing was wrong. Holding it so soon after the inauguration looked like a petulant protest against the outcome of the election because you didn’t get what you wanted, and holding it when a specific piece of legislation was proposed or a presidential announcement that was anti-women was made would have been more appropriate.

I think my initial reaction was wrong. The marches seem to have been for something – for women’s rights, for equitable treatment of women, for the right to have ambition for women to have fulfilling independent lives – rather than being against something.

As an impartial man with no axe to grind on North American politics I thought Trump’s inaugural address was awful. Charmless, graceless, vacuous, just a list of dumb populist platitudes. He seems to have no concept of civil society, propriety, conflict of interest. The best strategy now would seem to be to organise and prepare to hound him and his administration through every (legal) means, to tie him up in the courts as much as possible, to concentrate on creating a loud clear critique of his administration that gains traction at the polls and forces republican legislators to reign him in. He is a merciless egotistical bully, and the only way to deal with someone like that is to be completely committed to destroying his power at the ballot box and in the courts. There is no middle ground or compromise possible.

If the marches give women the strength to prepare for the fight against Trump then they will have been invaluable. Good luck and best wishes.


a.y.mous 01.22.17 at 6:24 pm

David became Goliath who becomes David and will become Goliath only to become David again.

Goliath is now David. Orange is the new black. Change the underdog. Call it the underbitch, if need be.

For, win or lose, only underdogs deserve victory. Or so, the rules be.

Change the character. For, the play cannot.


Kiwanda 01.22.17 at 6:58 pm

Wow, between 3.2 and 4.2 million yesterday in U.S., at about five hundred places.

Micah White, in that guardian article, is quite right that marching alone doesn’t translate into power or change. But, beyond solidarity, there’s visibility: with no evidence whatever, I think the huge 2003 protest against the Iraq invasion was almost invisible in the U.S. media, and this one was not, including its high contrast to the inauguration turnout. Perception is important too. So yeah,

May the angry women return home the day after the march to lead us toward a women-led hybrid movement-party in every state that is disciplined enough to govern, militantly local and single-mindedly devoted to actualizing a force capable of seizing control of city councils and mayorships during midterm elections across America in preparation for an electoral coup against the presidency in 2020.

Including also: 2020 is also the first chance to fix the gerrymandering of 2010. But still, wow.


Tabasco 01.23.17 at 1:31 am

I’ve already got Trump outrage fatigue. It’s going to be a long four years.


J-D 01.23.17 at 8:25 am


States can redistrict as often as they please; League of United Latin American Citizens, et al. v. Rick Perry, Governor of Texas, et. al. 548 U.S. 399.


Stephen 01.23.17 at 11:05 am


2017 is not only the centenary of a successful democratic protest against a corrupt oligarch, but also, alas, the centenary of a successful antidemocratic revolution that led to an appallingly bloody tyranny. You knew that, of course.


Placeholder 01.23.17 at 1:11 pm

Hidari@8: Now, now. In a couple of months it’ll be just in time to forget International Women’s Day too.

“when workers were locked out of the Putilov armaments plant on March 7 the women of Petrograd began to storm the streets. The wives, daughters and mothers of soldiers, previously as downtrodden and oppressed as prostitutes, demanded an end to their humiliation and angrily denounced all the hungry suffering of the past three years. Gathering strength and passion as they swept through the city over the next few days in food riots, political strikes and demonstrations, these women launched the first revolution in 1917.”

One fine day…


reason 01.23.17 at 1:58 pm

h @5
“Mine was in 1979 (I didn’t tell them that). ”

mmm.. I actually wonder if I should bring up at home with my two radicalized left wing teenage daughters that I went to moratorium anti-Vietnam demonstrations in the early 1970s and found the experience somewhat demoralizing (I disliked the at times moronic chanting and the presence of professional agitators). I suppose you should just accept that in any large cause there will be many people on the same side that you don’t like.


Harry 01.23.17 at 2:33 pm

reason — the reason I didn’t share this with the students is that I have a fairly strict policy of non-disclosure. I also know one of their best friends (also a student of mine) quietly voted for Trump (and they don’t know that she did). So I was evasive and a little ill-at-ease about being seen there. (I also felt a bit stupid about feeling that way — one of the girls brought her dad, a fervent Hillary supporter, to meet me in my office on the day after the election, and she can hardly have not noticed how our conversation went).

But I’ve talked about my experiences with my own radicalized left wing daughter (two daughters, only one radicalized left wing) and I think it helps her keep a level head. During the 2011 Wisconsin protests, when she was 14, she was calmly and politely telling her friends who were posting and liking facebook posts likening our Governor to Hitler why this was both wrongheaded and politically counterproductive. I was as proud of her for that as I was of her going to sleep in the Capitol the first night of the occupation.

Anyway, I do think you should bring that up at home. What experience do they have to draw on if their parents won’t talk to them about these things??


Meredith 01.25.17 at 5:59 am

I had a wonderful time in NYC with my daughter and 10-month-old granddaughter (along with other family and friends). I haven’t marched in years, though “marching” isn’t the right word here, if by marching you mean a determined, rhythmic stride coordinated with others’. We shuffled, painfully and slowly, the crowd was so dense. Despite the density, there was plenty of mixing and mingling with such a variety of people as the crowd shifted, and, after chatting with some strangers, you suddenly panicked about losing contact with your “group.” (Signs came in handy here — oh, there’s one of ours!) What wonderful spirit everywhere! Even the police were relaxed and smiling, and one in particular was quite captivated by my granddaughter (as well he should have been! — a young man, perhaps a new father himself, or just hoping to be one). I have a new relationship to the city since researching family history, and as I walked down 42nd Street I couldn’t help but think of my great grandmother (who practically raised my mother, so Nanny is not remote to me), who lived (here’s where the research comes in) on E 40th from the late 1850’s (when this street was on the edge of largely undeveloped land) until the early 1870’s, when Grand Central opened here. She was a little girl during the draft riots of 1863 (during which she couldn’t leave home, not even to perform her daily chore of fetching the family’s milk each morning — so my mother told me). Her father was not one to buy a replacement: Baltimore-born, he nonetheless volunteered twice, in his forties, to fight for the Union. Oh, this city has seen a lot! This country has seen a lot! We have all seen a lot! This march, these marches, are just a beginning. It matters that they are billed as women’s marches, welcoming to men, but women’s marches.


Val 01.25.17 at 6:15 am

That’s beautiful Meredith

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