“We Are A Movement Now”

The Women’s March on Saturday, as we all saw, was a stunning success. All over the world, but particularly here in the United States, millions of women and men gathered to express their resistance not only to “alternative facts,” but to the alternate universe known as Trumpism—where misogyny, racism, xenophobia, and other forms of deplorable bigotry are the norm.

Of all the amazing video and photographic coverage of the event, my second favorite report came from Anchorage, Alaska. Despite locally heavy snowfall—between 8 and 12 inches—hazardous road conditions, and temperatures in the low teens, we saw this:

As amazing as those protests in frigid Anchorage were—Hillary Clinton got less than 38% of the vote in Alaska—an even more amazing event and my personal favorite happened in Austin, Texas. Here’s a photograph (provided by Kate Calkins):

Now you might say, “What’s so amazing about an anti-Trumpism protest in liberal Austin, Texas, even one that large?” I’ll tell you what is so amazing. Look at the photograph below (taken by Todd Phillips):

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, standing, crowd, tree and outdoor
The person holding that sign is Tammy Brinkman. She lives in Anna, Texas—population about 13,000—which is 240 miles away from Austin. She is not what you would call a life-long feminist activist. She is from a tiny Kansas town. She is happily married, the mother of three grown children, and working full-time. But she got on a crowded bus on Saturday and traveled the almost four hours to Austin because she, like so many of us, was appalled and angry about what happened on November 8. And rather than sit around and complain, sit around and mope, sit around and tune out the deplorable sights we have seen before and since the election of Tr-mp, she decided to become part of the solution to a very disturbing problem.

I suspect that hundreds of thousands of the protesters on Saturday were, like Tammy, new to this kind of thing. They had not previously been part of any kind of organized political or social movement. And that is what is so heartening about what happened the day after Tr-mp was inaugurated. Something profound is going on in the massive, historic resistance against the new man now occupying the White’s House.

I want to share with you what Tammy Brinkman wrote about her experience on Saturday, which I believe demonstrates that the movement against Trumpism is more than a one-off, ventilating event and that Republicans ignore it at their peril:

I am on my way home from one of the most amazing experiences that I have ever been blessed to participate in. The love and unity that I felt today with the sweetest people was incredible. I can’t put into words the feeling that was in the air today in Austin at the Women’s March. The diversity of the crowd was amazing. And that is definitely something u don’t see much of on the other side. I want to thank my nephew Todd for meeting me and marching with me! We made a great memory together and I was proud to march with u ! Thousands and thousands of people being kind and so considerate. Total strangers coming up and clapping, cheering and hugging. I hope my kids will be proud of what i did today. After all I’m doing this for them and my future grandchildren. I want to be able to say to them that I was on the right side when this is in the history books. I stood for women’s rights. I stood against racism and bigotry and hate. It’s not only the right thing to do but it’s a moral obligation to do so. For those of u who think we are a bunch of whiners and cry babies you are soooooo wrong. We are a movement now and our voices will continue to roar throughout the world! We will not tolerate racism and bigotry nor a fascist America. WE ARE THE RESISTANCE!!!!

I want to remind you those are not the words of an experienced activist. I want to remind you those aren’t the words of someone who has been a life-long political junkie or a radical feminist. Those are the words of a concerned citizen. Those are the words of a worried mom and prospective grandmother. Those are the words of someone who has empowered herself to fight Trumpism.

And those are the words of my little sister, Tammy Graham Brinkman. And I couldn’t be more proud of her. I only wish my mom, a Hubert Humphrey Democrat, could have been here to see her baby daughter become part of such an important moment in American history. Vive la résistance!

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10 Comments

  1. My question for the organizers of the women’s march in D.C. and around the country, is to ask, what’s next? To have an impact on government policies that affect women, it seems to me there needs to be a shared common cause that is easily understood, sustainable and coherent. Otherwise, the march will have devolved into a “feel good” exercise.

    There have been a number of editorials pondering the question of “what’s next?” since last Saturday. One that I found particularly helpful in understanding the difficulties involved can be found on Truthdig.com: “What Happens After the Women’s March?”

    http://www.truthdig.com/eartotheground/item/occupy_wall_street_creator_march_on_trump_–_then_organize_20170121

    From the pictures I saw of the march, the participants were virtually all white. But they are going to need a bigger tent to accommodate their sisters in the minority – by race, ethnicity, religion, etc. – to make a loud enough noise and be of substantial force to demand the changes they seek.

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    • Herb.
      I don’t know anyone who marched who didn’t vote. Well, except for me: I marched and didn’t vote. I can’t vote. I’m a dog. I’m sure Donald trump will be claiming that me and my kind cast illegal ballots. What an ass he is. Many who were intimidated into not voting are now more fearful — and ashamed that they let this travesty happen. Maybe an event like this will energize small, personalized acts of resistance on a daily and growing basis. There certainly will come no help from the boot lickers in the Republican Party.

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      • Perhaps, if you wait long enough, Tr-mp will get around to denouncing the illegal canine vote. It wouldn’t surprise anyone who has been watching and evaluating his mental stability. The only question after that will be if Ryan and the Republicans can find the money to study the influence that illegal dog votes had on the 2016 election. As long as such a study doesn’t take much needed funds away from building a wall to keep Mexicans from leaving the U.S. (or is it the other way around?), I think dogs have something to worry about.

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      • King Beauregard

         /  January 28, 2017

        “I don’t know anyone who marched who didn’t vote.”

        I would be astonished if there weren’t a significant number of marchers who had the OWS mindset: they didn’t vote because “politicians are all the same hurf blurf”, but they love making the scene. I’m not saying a majority of marchers fit that profile, but we know that sort of person exists and a massive protest against Trump is the sort of thing to bring them out. If I had to make a guess — using the statisticians’ technique of “pulling numbers out of my ass” — I’d say around 10% of the marchers.

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  2. Very well said, Duane and Herb. There is strength in numbers, and greater strength in diversity. The ultimate strength is in both.

    Sadly, a number of my facebook “friends” in my hometown in OK, all women, could only comment on the trash left behind in the Washington, D. C. march and dismissed the point of the march because of that rather minor fact. They are rural Trump supporters and are almost certain to be disappointed in the outcome of a Trump regime for them personally. It is hard for me to understand how people that I know and like can be so obtuse politically.

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  3. ansonburlingame

     /  January 23, 2017

    Well said, Herb.

    I have withheld comment herein for obvious reasons of late, but you expressed my view rather well. We held an election and the people spoke to elect a “legal” president iaw our constitution. Now we have many people saying …………

    Other than “we no longer (or “still don’t”) like Trump” I fail to hear any cogent message from the assembled masses. I would however expect to hear a cogent message from the Democratic Party, but am waiting on that one.

    If anyone read the Globe last Wed you read my views on the John Lewis approach. Actually I wrote it to “Duane” but was too long to post herein as a comment!! But again that (Lewis;s remark) is not a cogent solution other than to claim we do not have a “legitimate” president (Duane said it before Lewis did so publicly). He should have said “And therefore all Americans should ……….” However if that is all he can recommend I just see more protests and divide in the future.

    Obama said it loud and clear about a year or so after he was first elected. “Elections have consequences”. Don’t like an election or think it was an “illegal” election, then immediately move for impeachment of Donald Trump. But if all you can say now is what the GOP said in 2009 “Our goal is to limit him to only one term”, well go ahead and say it and we will see what happens next.

    As well if you and yours intend to stonewall everything Trump and the full Congressional majority propose we can go thru another four years of utter stalemate. I am sure most of you herein intend to do exactly that. I also note that despite the GOP’s best efforts we STILL got ACA. So I guess you can all wait four more years, or maybe eight long ones to undo all that Trump did, past tense. Actually you need only wait two years and see if you can at least regain majority in Senate. That will be interesting for sure but it will take a while to do so.

    But all of you should be smart enough to also know that only thru compromise can anything of substance really be done and stick, according the the “will of the people” which now changes on a dime (2 months or so) despite a full, free and “legal” election, unless you want to debate that last word in quotes. Perhaps I should have written “constitutional” instead of “legal”. Is there a difference? Or can it be “legal”,
    AND “constitutional” but still “illegitimate”? A reply to that last question will be interesting to read, for sure. But if you try to tell me “the Russians did it”, well silence from me will be my only reply other than go prove it in court as a matter for impeachment of Donald Trump.

    I can only say “WE the people decided ……” in the last election. You guys are instead saying “THOSE people decided……….” and now we will ………???? (other than scream, protest, etc.) Should we now be governed by which side gets the biggest protest movement, or should we still follow the constitution?

    Anson

    Liked by 1 person

  4. ansonburlingame

     /  January 23, 2017

    Sorry Duane, but I can’t resist providing another answer to question above. We CAN change the constitution and get rid of Electoral College. One of the replies to my Globe column last week, from a local liberal suggested doing exactly that. I suspect you might be in favor as well.

    Well it takes 75% of 50 States do to that, AFTER it gets through Congress. If i did my math correctly (25% of 50) it takes only 13 States (actually 12.5) to say NO to shut that one down.

    All of New England (less NY) (5 states) plus, SC, AL, GA, MS, WY, ID, MT, KY, IN and DL make 13. Throw in NV, MO, IA, NE and OH and there is more than enough smaller states that still want to have a bigger impact (like the South of long ago). No way can they fight NY and CA, the rest of the “left coast” and a few others on East Coast to make the impact they want to have.

    Be interesting to see if Dems want to really give that a shot in the future. I doubt right now there is much of a chance of even sending it to the States until ……… It would be interesting to read if you wrote in favor of such a constitutional amendment today. It would be like your previous call to eliminate the filibuster in Senate a few years ago. What goes around, comes around, constitutionally.

    Oh, I left out what to do about SCOTUS, now. I suppose waiting another four years is an option, unless Ginsburg dies sooner.. Are protests going to keep a conservative jurist off that court now? Not gloating mind you. Just facing reality and figuring what I want to do next with Trump in charge!! All I know for sure is I will not march anywhere to get my view achieved. Too old and tired. But write, you betcha, but not against a “mob” either. Does no good..

    Anson

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m sticking by my desire to model the behavior we want to see. We (the loyal opposition) should make overtures to the “ruling party” to work with them, but only if our voices and opinions will be heard and considered. Based on the last 8 years and what Trump says and the way he behaves, I have small hope the above will be the case. If we cannot be a part of the process, I do not see any other course except resistance at every turn. It takes, and has always taken, two to be adversarial.

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  6. ansonburlingame

     /  January 25, 2017

    Michael,

    I understand your position, completely and have no disagreement with your approach thus far. While we could sit and discuss various political positions we would be in opposition. BUT in such a discussion I doubt seriously we would be hurling invectives at one another as well.

    After posting above I fully expected an avalanche of responses calling me every name in the book. Frankly I am surprised by the lack of such responses but in a way gratified as well.

    As I have said before, compromise is the only path forward, but I, for one, will never compromise very much at all with a mob!

    Anson

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  7. A good point, Anson. In 1776 and going forward a few years, England also refused to compromise with a mob. Trump is already burning down American Democracy. You are right to suggest that nothing regarding the disposal of the debauched Electoral college will be done — at least for the next couple of years, as long as the GOP Brownshirts control Congress. The good news for people of your ilk is that too many American voters are lazy and lemming-esque. Trump is coming for the Press and the thoughtful who would call out his lies and criticize his childishness and utter unsuitability for this enormous responsibility. He will jail or otherwise destroy all opposition with a compliant, militarized police/intelligence community. We almost made a quarter of a millennium. Gotta go for now — gotta work on my Russian. Увидимся.

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