The Gatherings

Baby, it’s cold outside.

We’re not sure what we expected. We’re not sure we expected anything. Coming of age in the Seventies, in liberal college-town Eugene, “protests” were such a tired tool that we mercilessly mocked each week’s low-attendance chantfest. “Moral preening” was not an expression in currency at the time, but it would have fit.

So we woke up Saturday morning, saw the initial reports of the crowd in DC: Good for them. No, really: It already looked more packed — and clearly more joyous — than the Inauguration the day before, and symbols matter a lot these days. Just ask the Hamilton cast.

And then we saw a video of the Denver crowd.

Denver, where we’ve now lived a year and a half, is a nice place. Sunny three hundred days a year, which is the second thing you hear, after Mile High. (Okay, maybe now the third thing, after Legal Weed.) We’re part of the population boom that’s been turning Denver and Colorado blue — the next Portland, and trust us, Portland wasn’t Portlandia when we were growing up, although the seeds were evident.

The Denver crowd was huge. We don’t have the numbers, but it immediately reminded us of last year’s Super Bowl parade, and nothing else. We drive through Downtown Denver every day, past the Capitol. It ain’t Midtown Manhattan.

Then we checked the temperature: 33 degrees, one above freezing. Dressing for Denver is part of life here, but still: That’s plenty cold if you’re doing anything except skiing or cheering the Broncos. And the Super Bowl parade was much warmer.

You’ll hear about DC, you’ll hear about New York, you’ll hear about Chicago, and what you’ll hear is worth hearing. But what grabbed our attention was the crowd in the cold a couple miles from our warm rowhouse.

Oh, and the small protest in Antarctica. You can’t help but love “Cormorants for Climate”.

Friday’s Inauguration was a deep bummer, the dread we had been feeling since November made manifest. Saturday’s protests — national, international, local — erased that from our soul. Trump lost by nearly three million votes, and those voters are taking their victory to the streets, where everyone can see them. And, unlike the rote protests of our youth, we have full confidence that everyone won’t just go home tonight and be done with it.

Barack Obama — the inspirational Obama, no stranger to massive crowds — always took pains to deflect attention from himself, to throw the love back. “Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time,” he told us. “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.”

It was easy to project that change on him, to miss the message while venerating the messenger. And now that he’s gone, we’re suddenly discovering that he was right all along.


We’re at the Seattle Womxn’s March. Holy jeezus this is huge. JNOV is here somewhere. I’m taking photos like crazy, but they can’t really capture the size of this massive demonstration.

Incredibly diverse crowd. Tons of families here. It’s warm and sunny–gorgeous day. Wow, this is inspiring.

@¡Andrew!: I’m truly stunned, and in the best way possible. I didn’t get around to recounting all the intramural carping over this, but for once progressives didn’t undermine their own efforts.

Found JNOV and we marched together. This is amazing.

Best sign was a photo of Princess Leia: “A Woman’s Place is in the Resistance.”

15 degrees and white-out in Anchorage. Didn’t stop what a decades-long resident called the largest crowd she’s seen there. Something magical is happening.

@¡Andrew!: There were 700+ in McMinnville, OR, in the pouring rain, and it looks like 100,000 in PDX. The one that touched me most was the 12,000 in Oklahoma City. Many of my friends were there. It was especially meaningful for the gay couple with twin boys, so the kids could see all the people there who supported families like theirs. Easy to march in a blue state, but to keep fighting in a place like OK is really something.

@Mistress Cynica: I can confirm that you only pull numbers like that in Mac for Turkey Rama.

@¡Andrew!: Yay!

Early estimate for Seattle is 120,000.

The beginning of the march met the end of the 3.6 mile route before people waiting at the start had begun marching. (Does that make sense?)

I just hope this continues. And continues.

@JNOV: I’m honestly in a confident mood, for the first time since November. There will be trouble — he has too much power to avoid it — but except for the Nuke part, we will survive it.

The breadth and depth of today’s gesture is too significant to ignore, especially by those who participated, and those who cheered them on. We are not alone: That is the most powerful message moving forward.

@Mistress Cynica: Absolutely. It takes a helluva lot of courage to protest “behind enemy lines.”

@JNOV: I saw that figure as well. I’ve been to my fair share of large-scale Seattle events, and I’d say there were twice that many people easily. The march is STILL going on, and the photos are stunning.

Thousands rally at Women’s March in Seattle

These are without question some of the largest–if not the largest–demonstrations our city and country have ever seen.

An excellent world protest roundup:

Over 1 million join anti-Trump women’s marches worldwide

Anyone heard from our San Francisco correspondent?

@¡Andrew!: Oh! I love you so much.

@nojo: Good, because you’re my End of the World forecaster. I sent you a picture. I think it represents today’s vibe.

@Mistress Cynica: <3

@JNOV: Well, if you want the full forecast, it’s still full-steam ahead with climate change…

But yes: Election night, I saw a perfect storm of power between Trump and the GOP. However, recent weeks have suggested they won’t be getting their collective shit together as easily as I feared, and Obamacare won’t be going down without a major shitstorm.

Even today, Sean Spicer gave a gloriously farcical White House press briefing, one that would have seemed sinister if not for all the joy in the streets. America is now full of Happy Warriors who will carry us through.

@nojo: The presser was bizarre.

Today was beautiful. I was on the fence about going until I heard that shitstorm of an inaugural address yesterday and couldn’t function.

Motivated by selfishness, I decided I had to do something, hell, anything to try to make myself feel better, and I’m waiting to hear what the next thing is.

I couldn’t stop hugging ¡Andrew! today, and I told him that I might cry. I feel kind of stupid, but I was moved. I’ve been buoyed by the huge number of MEN who were there.

I’m ready for the next thing.

They’re now saying 170K. I think that might be inflated. There is a time lapse aerial view of the march, third video down.

@JNOV: Hey, I was about to cry, too!

Thanks for sharing the link. Those are some beautiful stories.

@nojo: This train is going totally off the rails and flaming over a cliff next week. I still maintain that the Trumpissts will self-destruct due to their own incompetence, greed, and corruption.

Presidents govern effectively due to moral suasion. No morals = no suasion.

UConn prof estimates 3.3-4.2 million marchers nationwide — about 280 cities — based on local numbers, including 200k in Denver.

@¡Andrew!: I’m willing to put even money that Pence is pardoning turkeys this Thanksgiving, but I don’t share your confidence that everything goes off the rails immediately. A lot of nasty executive orders will be getting signed in the next few weeks, and Justice is looking likely to drop pending voting-rights actions. However chaotic the Administration gets, they have a shitload of authority at hand.

This is the US Amercia I respected.

The proto Confederates, morons, half wits, dipshits, ignoranuses and racists can get fucked.

Will have alternate facts for you shortly – give me a few ….

@JNOV: Occupy had no goal other than wait around until something happens. Their enduring accomplishment — no small feat — was to introduce “1 percent” to the conversation, which I didn’t realize was effective until my Dad said it unprompted.

The marches were not One & Done, but an opening statement for an ongoing campaign. The people who participated are not going away, and they have a clear opponent whose actions can be resisted with practical tactics. Networks have been created, and they will be deployed as needed.

Finally, the sheer scale of the coordinated events is profoundly encouraging, and at precisely the right moment. “You Are Not Alone” is the message we all needed to hear — and see — after a very bleak Friday.

This is not Occupy. This one’s real.

Oh gawd, now there’s chatter about a Tax Day protest because Trump won’t release his returns…

1. It’s not a broadly inspiring idea.

2. It will draw smaller crowds, allowing Trump and the media to declare that the opposition has worn itself out.

3. The reason behind the idea — Let’s do another one! — squanders the energy that Saturday built up.

4. The next move is focused opposition to specific plans, targeted at specific politicians. (i.e., what Indivisible advises).

I hate all the Do This Not That preaching that’s energed since November, but here it goes: Don’t Do That. If there needs to be another mass protest, it will spring up organically, like this one. But protests, done right, aren’t the ends: They’re the means to inspire shit getting done.

@nojo: Exactly. Plus the ACLU and others are taking the tax business to the courts under the Emoluments Clause. If they have standing, the returns will be released. It’s much more efficient to let that one wind its way through the courts. I’m looking forward to seeing how the courts address the GSA entanglements.

Burying them in lawsuits is a good start.

@JNOV: Meanwhile, I realized shockingly recently that Colorado has a Republican Senator — something new in my adult experience. (Well, Packwood, but that’s ancient memory now.) I’d call Cory, but it seems his voicemail is full…

750K in Los Angeles, light rail so crowded that people had to go backwards to get on at the first stop. Biggest event here ever. My kids also marched, one in Portland (brought the 5-month old), one in DC, they report zero arrests.

Hey Nojo, I’m going to the hipple law fest in Eugene in March, will give your regards to the brewpubs near campus.

@Dodgerblue: You’re going to have a lot to talk about, what with the EPA on lockdown.

@nojo: My topic is federal preemption of local environmental laws, i.e. fuck you, California.

Just finished emailing Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell and requesting that they oppose Twitter Troll’s cabinet nominees. How many ways can one rephrase “unqualified, grossly incompetent, favors debunked right-wing ideology, and dedicated to undermining or destroying the department that they’ve been tasked to lead.”

Twitler. That’s the name that a friend of mine came up with for the Orange one, and I like it and plan to use it until something better comes along. I promise not to flog it as long as I did with “Unicorn” – Jesus Christ kiddos I’ve known some of y’all for 10 years?!

@¡Andrew!: Apparently the lesson that the spineless Dems took from Saturday’s protest of millions of people around the globe was “approve them all.”

Gillenbrand is the only one with a spotless record of opposing all of his nominees. She will be kissing pigs in Sioux City by August 2018.

@Dodgerblue: Friend of mine who works for EPA in DC was part of a team that just won a big clean air case in St. Louis today.

@SanFranLefty: “Preznit Twitler–salute!” Stealin’ it.

One happy result of my now frequent contact with my representatives is that I realized they’re all women!

Patty Murray, Senate
Maria Cantwell, Senate
Pramila Jayapal, House — definitely one to watch!

I should add that seemingly every top Dem in the state, county, and city has come out swingin’ against Twitler.

It’s incredibly inspiring to see our representatives step up to defend and protect us and our communities from Cheeto Mussolini and those RepubliKKKan goons in CONgress. This crisis really has brought out the best in so many people, and I’ve never been more proud of Seattle and Washington state.

Mil gracias a todos.

@nojo: You will be surprised to hear that the Mac city council unanimously passed a resolution a couple of weeks ago declaring this an inclusive community (no discrimination by race/gender or gender identity; national origin and refugee/ immigration status; sexual orientation/expression; religion; disabilities; age) and a sanctuary city. Hey, someone has to maintain those vineyards and pick those grapes.

@Mistress Cynica: Whoa. Then again, the vineyards were still relatively new in the early 80s, although Mac was relatively liberal compared to the rest of Yamhill County.

Guess what! I went to the dog park and the crowd was YUUUUUGE! I got a bigger crowd than Jesus. The dogs were like, giving me a 20 minute standing ovation, and I gave a speech. I know when it’s a good speech, and I hit this one out of the dog park. They gave me a standing ovation for a day. They’re still there. Standing. The crowd is bigger. Like, you can’t turn around without stepping in shit. And I’m the best thing for dogs since cavemen. Ask the foxes. The covered it. Not the fake news. The fake news media will tell you that the dogs were acting kinda crazy, but those dogs, I love those amazing dogs. They’re amazing and doing amazing things. We’re going to do amazing things for those dogs. Those dogs were attentive. They weren’t chasing balls or running or wrestling. Standing fucking ovation. And they’re still there. Biggest yellow grass movement anyone has ever seen.

@SanFranLefty: The “Alt” National Parks Service got 600K followers in 24 hours.

I keep getting voicemail when I call the offices of Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell. I’ve left messages requesting that they oppose the cabinet noms, and I’ve already emailed specifically on each.

I dunno–are phone calls effective or not?

@¡Andrew!: I haven’t memorized the Indivisible guide yet, but polite but firm phone calls are better than email. Get the relevant policy staffer if you can; the front-desk intern will try to ward you off.

WaPo reports that the entire senior management team at the State Department has resigned.

I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, this will temporarily cripple the Twitler regime’s ability to carry out their evil international schemes, and it’s an unprecented demonstration of solidarity with the resistance.

On the other hand, we need political allies inside the regime if for no other reason than to leak their corrupt, destructive plots so that dissidents can plan a counter strategy.

@¡Andrew!: YES. Phone calls work. It was the inundation of phone calls that put the brakes on the House’s plan to gut their ethics oversight. Squeaky wheel and all that.

@¡Andrew!: You want some post cards? I can have 100 Women’s March postcards printed. The one I have is basically 8.5 x 11 (shurrup, Peanut Gallery), because I couldn’t see myself needing 100. BUT I’m thinking this could be my stash for sending hate mail. ETA: I’ll use them for all issues.

@nojo and Mistress Cynica: Your opinions on the effectiveness of postcards, please.

@¡Andrew!: CNN: Fired. The “resignations” were standard new-Administration letters. This time, they were accepted.

Short of nukes, Trump can cause a major conventional mess around the world. We’re well on our way.

@JNOV: Google “Indivisible Guide”. Written by Congressional staffers, best insight into what communication actually works.

@JNOV: If the postcards will help, I’ll take ’em. I haven’t really used snail mail in years, so whatever works.

My goal is to make one contact per week with each of my reps via both phone and email on a specific Hot Topic.

@¡Andrew!: Skimming nojo’s link. Let me know if a road trip to Olympia sounds good. Date TBA.

@¡Andrew!: You can share with friends and all that. I’m sending a bunch to my kid so he can share with his buddies. His GF marched in Trenton, and this group of millennials is quite involved.

Palate cleanser change of pace from Orange Twitler for my fellow Stinquettes & Gheyz:

Jon Hamm & Hammaconda at Sundance

/you’re welcome darlings

Let’s go stand outside Barry’s new house with a boom box playing “In Your Eyes.”

“Just in case you can’t see, Imma pull my pants back like this.”

@SanFranLefty: And damn. Just. Yeah.

@Mistress Cynica: <3

@¡Andrew!: Yeah! BRB

@JNOV: Apparently he goes commando most of the time, but then gets “upset” when anybody comments about how well endowed he is…

The way things are going, I don’t think it’s improbable that I’ll be a political refugee.

@JNOV: Gurrrrlll, I am SO.READY. to run into Justin Trudeau’s open arms and legs.

@SanFranLefty: HAHAHA! I’m still trying to get sponsored. ;-)

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