A March About Everything and Nothing

Mike Dwyer

Mike Dwyer is a former writer and contributor at Ordinary Times.

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114 Responses

  1. Chad Stanton says:

    ” are blacks marching for immigrant rights? Are Muslims marching for the rights of the LBGT community? Are gays protesting for American Indian rights? Are Latinos taking to the street in support of Black Lives Matter? Largely the answer is no.”

    This is a stumbling block. One of the women who founded BLM also leads BAJI, the Black Alliance for Just Immigration. There are LGBT Muslims who march regularly for LGBT rights.
    There are American Indians who protest for their rights because there are also gay American Indians. The existence of Afrolatinos and Afrolatinas guarantees that there are Latinos marching in support of BLM. This is why intersectionality is an emphasis because no one is just one thing at one time.

    This is also why there’s some ambivalence towards the celebration of a protest led by folks that many feel is one of the few groups that have been absent or at least not as invested as those from the aforementioned marginalized communities becoming the “face” of the coalition.Report

    • LTL FTC in reply to Chad Stanton says:

      Well yeah. Activists gonna … activate(?) and there are many in the activist class who will network and get together across groups. There are also people that have multiple issues they care about because they are members of multiple groups. But the “where were you when we were marching about X?” is easy to say if you’re a professional activist but a bit silly for people who have other kinds of jobs.

      The alternative to “white feminists” (boo! hiss!) having the audacity to show their faces is to purity-test everybody to make sure they care about all the things in all the right ratios. In terms of getting regular people out in the street to give you the numbers that turn heads, there has to be some self-interest involved, and some people who either aren’t aware of or not terribly interested in the plight of everyone else who claims some grievance with the way things are.Report

  2. Chad Stanton says:

    Also and, far from “smashing partisanship” he’s simply realigning it even more explicitly around race. Elijah Cummings can say what he’d like but he’s not going to work the Donald Trump once Trump makes good on his promise to “send the feds” to Chicago to do “not so politically correct” head busting.

    How would *any* Democrat who relies on Black and Brown vote supposed to go back to their constituents after giving a photo-op to a man who intends to keep a running log of “immigrant crimes” on the official White House website.

    Trump smashing partisanship is a fantasy reserved for folks who genuinely believe racial minorities will be forgetful of Trump’s entire past, and indifferent to the assault on their communities he represents in the present or simply don’t think that marginalized folks will serve as a significant roadblock to this new “non-partisan” majority.Report

    • dragonfrog in reply to Chad Stanton says:

      I agree with you there, and would add further:. Trump himself will not be able to reach out. Everything we have seen of him shows that for him, everything is personal. Once you’ve opposed him, you are a foe, a loser, someone to be crushed at every opportunity.

      Sure, he may not care whether you are Republican or Democrat, but he cares deeply whether you have ever said anything he saw as mean to him. There is one party for which he is a die-hard partisan – the Trumpista party.Report

  3. Damon says:

    My girlfriend went to DC to protest. She wasn’t clear to me why she was going, but I got the vague feeling that it was 1) about Trump 2) that people where she came from (Russia) don’t exactly have the freedom to do that there-or face “consequences”. for doing so.

    I don’t know what it was supposed to accomplish or if it did. But she didn’t get arrested and I didn’t have to have the difficult conversation with her informing her I wasn’t going to DC to bail her out, so it’s all good.Report

    • Kim in reply to Damon says:

      Yeah, this is pretty much people doing shit because … no reason really.
      And the shit they’re doing isn’t especially good, nor dangerous, nor anything really.

      I give far more plaudits to the people who “protest” through smuggling, even if they’re making a profit doing it. Their lives are in danger, after all.

      Hell, I’ll give more plaudits to the people who “protest” through going to a nightclub. Their lives are also on the line.

      This is america, and the left is busy letting the air out of their tires before the race is even STARTED.Report

  4. Speaking in general, and not really as a response to Mike’s OP or the critics he cites, I’ll ask, what would it say if the march hadn’t happened? or if only half, or a quarter, of the people showed up? I’m also not sure what the march–or most demonstrations in general–are supposed to accomplish. But the absence of a large demonstration like this would have said something.

    Demonstrating in Saturday’s march wasn’t an act of courage. But it’s still admirable. I know at least two people who participated. They rode a bus for 13 hours the night before, got out and marched with thousands of people and too few port-a-potties. It was a pretty big inconvenience and not in my (or their) opinion a fun way to spend a weekend. No, it wasn’t facing down Bull Connor, but it wasn’t some party, either.Report

    • notme in reply to Gabriel Conroy says:

      It was a pretty big inconvenience and not in my (or their) opinion a fun way to spend a weekend. No, it wasn’t facing down Bull Connor, but it wasn’t some party, either.

      I agree that having too few potties isn’t like the Tiananmen Square protesters that faced armed troops and tanks. I guess every protest has to have it’s hardships to make it seem worthwhile.Report

      • Gabriel Conroy in reply to notme says:

        I’d phrase it differently. My point is, it’s not a minor inconvenience to devote one’s weekend to travelling somewhere to do something unpleasant. If someone is going to go out of their way to do that while others–me, for example–choose not to, then that person is doing something admirable. All that assumes that one agrees with the cause, and in broad brush strokes (where “the cause” = “expressing opposition to Trump”) I do agree.

        And yes, it’s easy to make light of a paucity of port-a-potties because bathroom humor is funny. But speaking as someone who….well….really appreciates it when bathrooms are in close proximity….having too few is an inconvenience. (Maybe you weren’t making light of that fact, but I’m just covering my bases in case someone wishes to.)Report

    • Kim in reply to Gabriel Conroy says:

      Yes, the left is busy letting the air out of its tires before the race really starts. Go left.

      I don’t admire people who haven’t a damn idea about fixing problems, but just want to show up and do something about … something that hasn’t even HAPPENED yet.

      The left has lost its ability to steer, or even guide the story to a place where it’s effective.

      You think these people are helping? I assure you, they are NOT.

      To Middle America, this looks like spoiled babies whining about democracy not working. Because that’s what it is.

      You don’t got nothing to protest yet, and they showed up anyhow.Report

  5. LTL FTC says:

    Do I suppose this means that white women should have stayed home because they – as a group – hadn’t proven their intersectional bona fides?

    That can’t be right. Coalitions are built and political victories won when people with differing interests get together on issues where they share common ground. If white women want to sign on when their reproductive rights are threatened, any activist who cares more about results than purity will welcome them.

    Luckily, I don’t think this is coming from most activists, but instead from the small section of usual-suspect writers who cater to white self-flaggelation or academic purity politics.Report

  6. Don Zeko says:

    I went to one of the satellite protests, and I had my quibbles with the political style and efficacy of some of the speakers and some of the other people there and the signs they carried. But the fact is that Trump has spent the subsequent five days busily fulfilling horrifying campaign promises that we were told not to take literally during the election and lying to the public about fictitious voter fraud in an election that he won.

    Yes, i don’t see things quite the way a lot of the people that came out on Saturday do, but they came out and demonstrated against Trump. If the country, or even the entire left of center, saw things exactly the way I did we wouldn’t be having this conversation because Trump wouldn’t have won. He did, and he’s making it clear that he’s exactly as bad as he promised to be, so I’m not going to turn up my nose at the resistance to him that we have and wait until some perfect anti-Trump movement comes along that matches all of my or your or David Brooks’s preferences. This is what we have and we need to get to work.Report

    • Kim in reply to Don Zeko says:

      Ca-ching! Yes, Trump just as bad as I thought he gonna be. Appointing Hillary’s pick for Treasury secretary. Yes.Report

      • Saul Degraw in reply to Kim says:

        Cites facts given by Kim’s cats.

        Let us look at what Trump has done so far:

        1. Issued executive orders that place bans on immigration for 7 Muslim countries and other things to make life miserable for immigrants.

        2. Reinstated a global gag rule aganist abortion.

        3. Threatened Chicago with martial law.

        4. Stated a fed investigation into voter fraud which can lead to vote suppression.

        5. And a lot of other things which make him look like a thin skinned authoritarian.

        But in Kim land, HRC would do all these things. This is nonsense and inchoate.Report

        • Kim in reply to Saul Degraw says:

          The first is bad. Truly, it is. But I do have to ask, as i remember someone saying they did work with immigrants — how many people were we accepting from these countries in the first place?

          The Second is “usual Republican stuff”.

          The third is just that, a threat. Don’t jump at the first car backfiring.

          When you have evidence of voter suppression, from what TRUMP is doing, then’s the time to bitch, not earlier.

          You’re poking at a strawman who isn’t me, you realize?
          I’m on your side, if you’ll let me be. I really do believe that Trump is going to need to be reined in, and hard and tight while we’re at it.

          But the left’s inchoate rage isn’t helping matters. Neither is the Black Pete video going round that wasn’t supposed to be made (even though it is awesome).Report

        • notme in reply to Saul Degraw says:

          3. Threatened Chicago with martial law.

          Where has he done that? Sadly Rahm seems more interested in declaring Chicago a sanctuary city than fixing the problem.

          6 Shot at Memorial For Victim of Chicago Gun Violence


          Just another day in Chiraq.Report

        • Kolohe in reply to Saul Degraw says:

          Saul Degraw: 3. Threatened Chicago with martial law.

          I’m old enough to remember when liberals and progressives were not at all pleased with how Rahm Emanuel and the Chicago PD were running things, and hoped either Obama or, shortly, Clinton, would send in the Feds to help clean things up.Report

          • Jesse in reply to Kolohe says:

            I hate to break this to you, but there’s going to be a difference between the goals of an Obama federal takeover of the Chicago PD and a Trump takeover.Report

            • Kim in reply to Jesse says:

              Facts fucking not in Evidence. GWB, yeah. I got proof there. He decided to fire a good deal of the DOJ’s “equality” office (I forget the name), for political motivations. Yeah, that was bad.

              As of right now, we still have the same people working there as under Obama.Report

  7. Toad says:

    Here’s what it accomplished: there are a now a whole bunch of people (mostly white, and mostly women) who are energized, no longer complacent that things are going to get better without their active involvement (and you can substitute all of the March goals, plus more, for “things” in that sentence). A lot of people got out of their comfort zone (because honestly, we were prepared to be arrested, tear gassed, possibly trampled – what a great wake up call for a lot of white women who got to see in person that their very whiteness was protection against police — it’s one thing to read about, it’s a whole ‘nother thing to see it in action, aimed at you) and while a lot of people will just fall back into their comfort zone…a lot haven’t and won’t.

    Here’s what you’re not seeing on the media, but was indeed there — white women who were indeed aware that they’ve let down their sisters and brothers and that intersectionality is something that MUST happen. I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that “intersectional feminism” just doesn’t make for a good soundbite or visual, because none of those signs or banners showed up to any degree.

    Here’s what you probably don’t see now — the group of marchers I helped host have formed an activist network, forming different action groups to fight legislation, elect candidates who are aligned with their values, give support to swing state voting, lend support in other protests, and yes, reaching out to form support networks so that they can be human shields for Black Lives Matter protests. In my town alone, there are two separate groups that as a result of the march are setting up meetings, discussion groups to figure out where best to aim their efforts.

    You can do all the armchair pooh-poohing you want – and honestly, if all you’ve seen of it is some mainstream coverage and a lot of opinion pieces, I can see how you might not be getting a good picture of what happened — but the March achieved its most important goal, energizing a whole group of people who up until now thought that voting was enough.Report

    • Kim in reply to Toad says:

      Ribbit Ribbit.
      You got action items? You got things you’re going to do next?
      Because I haven’t seen much from the Occupy Protestors recently, and they did a hell of a lot more to frighten the Powers that Be.

      Are you prepared for resistance? Do you know what form resistance will take? How corrosive it can be? I’m just going to take a stab in the dark and say that you didn’t let people into your house with the supposition that you were voluntarily letting rapists in the door. Yup, I think not. Get back to me when you’re willing to fight and put yourself in harms way. Because when you let anyone into your group, infiltration is easy and resistance comes from the inside.Report

      • Toad in reply to Kim says:

        I’m not completely sure what voluntarily letting rapists into my house would accomplish…oh, wait, I’m a woman and in college was lucky enough to fight off two attempted date rapes, so you could make the argument that statistically speaking, letting any man into my house at any point is a risk.

        Yeah, as a matter of fact, I do have action items and have already taken action. And have a long list of to-do’s.

        You don’t know me, darling, so you couldn’t know that I’ve already fought, I’ve already endured death threats, already been physically assaulted for fighting for what I believe is right. I’m old, mean, resilient and still here. And ready to fight again. Still.

        We’re having an earnest, civil conversation here and you’re acting like a middleschooler. Here’s a great site on logical fallacies: https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/

        Check it out — hint: your bringing Occupy in as support for your argument that the March was a waste of time is on the list.Report

        • Kim in reply to Toad says:

          Well, someone has to weed out the infiltrators. My point is that the Powers that Be don’t take women marching lightly, and are likely to see exactly how corrosive they can be. Hiring rapists is a good way to end a movement. Learning from the last movement is just basic common sense, no?

          So, I’m interested. What are your todos? Bear in mind, you have a timehorizon of 23 years before we’ll be lucky to feed 1/3rd of the current American population.

          (oh, and in case nobody’s said so yet, Welcome and howdy!)Report

          • Toad in reply to Kim says:

            So, when you say “Powers that Be” are you talking Rosicrucians? Knights Templar? MRA’s? NWO, GG? How do you go about hiring rapists? Is that strictly a Deep Web thing or can you get enough respondents from just Craig’s List?

            How do I know you’re not one of them? Dude, no way am I sharing my to-do list with you.

            All kidding aside, until you show a history of reasonable discourse, I gotta side with Veronica and think it would be a waste of my time. With enough thoughtfulness and study, I believe you can do better — and then we’ll talk.Report

            • Kim in reply to Toad says:

              More like the people at Davos. Moneyed people who think they’re so big that they get to dictate who lives and dies.

              You know I’m not one of them because I’m here talking with you. I know where Bill Gates posts on the internet — the Powers That Be are entirely too self-absorbed to have that kind of sense of humor.Report

              • A Power That Is in reply to Kim says:

                Oh, we’re not that self-absorbed. After all, we have to keep an eye on you.

                (ps: Some of us are becoming distinctly not amused about your leaking. Be sure to have your go bag and your escape plans up-to-date.)Report

        • veronica d in reply to Toad says:

          @toad — I think you will find engaging with Kim not worth the effort.Report

  8. Pinky says:

    I suppose the best comparison is with Glenn Beck’s 2010 rally.Report

    • North in reply to Pinky says:

      Seems similar to the Tea Party in general to me. A lot of people really pissed and shocked that their side lost. This turnout is bigger and it’s happening sooner but the last election was really close so perhaps that explains it.Report

  9. Saul Degraw says:

    I think Toad is spot on.

    The reason the protest covered a lot of issues is that Trump is uniquely horrible on all those issues. The GOP won a technical victory because of the antiquated electoral college and are proceeding, not with humility, but as if they received the Mandate of Heaven.

    Trump is thin skinned, narcissistic, and petty. He needs this kind of pressure and resistance all the time. And so far he is much worse than I imagined.Report

    • LeeEsq in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      There is also a long tradition of left leaning protests covering everything under the sun rather than message discipline. There are good and bad things about this. It can potentially create a broad coalition for the cause but it makes cultivating the necessary discipline to win elections and govern harder. The wide range of messsges can alienate some people or groups. Jewish Americans frequently find casual or not so casual Jew hatred at these protests.Report

      • Catchling in reply to LeeEsq says:

        Not sure that kind of consistency is necessary for discipline. Did the Tea Party, which can partly be thanked for Trump’s victory, ever really have message discipline? In principle, it was initially about “taxes”, but I don’t think anyone could argue that it spent 8 years railing about taxes.Report

        • Morat20 in reply to Catchling says:

          They didn’t, but they got quickly co-opted as by the GOP base (“Republican” and “Conservative” had a bit of Dubya stink on them at the time, as he was polling….right about where Trump is now, I think).

          There was a lot of talk about the “Tea Party” but if you glanced at them — it was the same Republican base as normal.

          It ended up a rebranding more than anything, and the usual suspects took over aiming it.

          So it got quite a bit more consistent, because it had leadership used to aiming larges masses of angry Republican voters at their targets of choice.Report

    • veronica d in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      @saul-degraw — Agreed.

      Basically, why is solidarity so hard to understand? Which is to say, most of those items listed (save two) have something in common: people who are gonna get screwed hard by Trumpism. So yeah, there is obvious common ground between LGBTQ rights and racial justice, inasmuch as the “angry white guy” style of bigotry targets us all the same.

      Is it hard to understand how my experience as a hated minority makes me sympathetic to other hated minorities?

      “Ending violence” seems like a nice goal. Who is against that?

      Likewise for “environmental justice” — who opposes it? Why?Report

      • Kim in reply to veronica d says:

        Solidarity is so hard to understand because it requires winning people over.
        Because it requires burying hatchets.
        Because it requires finding common ground with those angry white guys.

        Otherwise, you don’t have solidarity at all, and you’re losing because you’re playing the wrong game against the wrong opponent. I know who wants to kill you, and who’s powerful enough to do it. It ain’t Mr.AngryWhiteGuy. It’s the Powers that Be.Report

  10. DavidTC says:

    It is white women who are not questioned when they take to the streets in cities all over the country, by the hundreds of thousands. It is white women who can scream, “Fuck Trump” and “it is our duty to FIGHT” while police officers look on in mild amusement.

    White people always get more respect from the police when protesting than anyone else. And women get somewhat more respect (Not as much as whiteness adds, but some additional) when protesting.

    Note ‘respect’, especially WRT to women, doesn’t translate ‘getting what they want’. It just means the police are less likely to attack them. Patronize, yes, attack, no.

    And I think a lot of people have missed two, very important lesson:

    1) This actually helps proves what the left has been saying forever, that almost all violence and arrests at protests is due to *police misbehavior*. They’re just *really good* at hiding that fact.

    Here the police, somewhat accidentally, didn’t do that, and thus the protest was entirely peaceful, despite, in places, being *extremely* crowded in ways that could have lead to *accidentally* panic very easily.

    If you believe the ‘a few bad apples’ standard line about protests, that ‘most people’ are good, but there are always a few who are not…you cannot explain what happened Saturday. What is possibly largest protest in American history, and certainly in the top three, and no reports of violence. Yes, let’s be sexist for a moment and assume that women are less prone to violence, but there were, indeed, men there. This is basically inexplicably within the standard framework.

    This is because, as has been pointed out for years, that is not what actually happens at protesters. Violence at most organized protests is *almost entirely* due to police misbehavior, with a tiny remainder being done by people with no association with the protest at all.

    There is not some angry line that people get pushed over, 99.999% of people do not want violence and have to be threatened by the police into things that look vaguely like violence, although they’re really just self-defense to police threats and yelling. (And the remaining 0.001% are those assholes in black bloc gear or three streets over looting. I.e., not actually part of the protest at all.)

    This is one of the greatest slanders against the left in modern times, and it’s good to have some evidence to finally push back against it.

    This is why *very few right-wing protests* devolve into violence…because the police are on their side.

    This protest’s lack of violence didn’t make the women look good as it exposed how often the police behave badly. It’s basically the equivalent of the police managing to talk down an armed white guy holding hostages…at this point, that just raises questions about all the unarmed black guys they’ve shot.

    Now, I want people to take that assumption and *move forward* with it. I want people to stop saying ‘The crowds turned ugly’, and start saying things like ‘The police forced the crowd back, causing unrest and confusion to people who couldn’t see what was going on, and resulted in the crowd yelling at the police to stop that’.

    2) Please do not blame white women for the behavior of the police towards them. Instead, point that out…and ask white women to start getting involved in *other protests*. (Not a bad idea for white men, also.)

    If police are reluctant to behave in their traditional manner towards white women…use white women as goddamn human shields.

    I know there are always concerns about having people who *do not have the experience* that others do showing up at their protests. For example I, a white guy, might hesitate to show up at march about how a black community is constantly victimized by police.

    So…let’s invent a status. Call it ‘concerned observer’ or something. People can print a special pass, like a press pass, and wear it, and that means that they agree with the purpose of the march/protest/whatever, while at the same time are not claiming to be directly effected. They are merely there to show support of others.

    Now, it is probably likely that most marches and protests welcome those people already. Fair enough. I’m just saying…let’s make this some sort of standard thing, where people know they are welcome to do this. (Or the organizers say ‘No’.)Report

    • Doctor Jay in reply to DavidTC says:

      If police are reluctant to behave in their traditional manner towards white women…use white women as goddamn human shields.

      This is what was done in the Bundy Ranch standoff.Report

      • notme in reply to Doctor Jay says:

        The feds shot Vicki Weaver who was standing there while holding a baby.Report

        • DavidTC in reply to notme says:

          So you have…literally one example? An example that isn’t actually a very good one, because Vicki Weaver was hardly a protester, and she was shot by accident while snipers were trying to kill someone else…but, actually, let’s pretend she was a protester shot by police, because it actually helps my point.

          I think you might have missed my point a bit. My point is not that the police do not attack women because of some magical power woman have.

          My point is that police do not attack women because *people get very very angry* when they do. People will invent all sorts of justifications in their minds about ‘lawless thugs’ who were ‘rioting’, when in reality the police forced a bunch of protesters into a corner, none of the protesters could figure out what was going on, and yelling started, giving grounds for arrest.

          But make those protesters mostly women, and people are less likely to believe the story. Make them mostly white, and people are also less likely. Make them both, even less likely.

          The reason that the police do not attack (aka, cause them to do things that will result in a justification for the police to arrest them) white women is not that they don’t want to. I assure you, they do. The police are full of authorization jackasses who resent any sort of the ‘wrong’ types of protests (That is, any protests of powerless people.), and, yes, I will allow you to include the FBI at the Weaver standoff under that if you want to include them.

          The reason the police do not attack white women is that *a shitstorm* happens when they do. Like what happened with Ruby Ridge. If that had been a white *man*, they could have tried to justify it.

          If Ruby Ridge had been a *black* ‘separatist’ (Or whatever you want to call people who hole up with guns.) family, the media…well, I was going to say the media ‘wouldn’t have’ covered it, but we actually have pretty conclusive proof of that hypothetical:

          In 1985, the Philly police had a standoff with a group called MOVE at their ‘commune’.

          This was for their ‘parole violations, contempt of court, illegal possession of firearms, and making terrorist threats’. Basically, *exactly* the same sort of bullshit things, plus some gun charges, that the Weavers were charged with. Gunfire was eventually exchanged, with the same sort of debate about who did what first that happened at Ruby Ridge.

          So the story with Ruby Ridge is the same, up unto the point that…the police *bombed the goddamn house* and killed *eleven people including five children*.

          Please note this was not a Waco-style event where the place mysteriously catches on fire and no one is sure why. The police openly admit they dropped C4 on their roof from a helicopter. They dropped these bombs on something they called a ‘bunker’ on top of the house, but was actually a *rooftop gasoline storage* for backup generators, and indications are they knew that. Dropping C4 on a large gasoline tank on top of an occupied house went pretty much exactly as you’d expect, with burning gasoline pouring into the house.

          Oh, and note this happened in a *rowhouse*, and the fire easily spread to spread to surrounding rowhouses. The police refused to allow the firefighters to put out the fire. 250 people were rendered homeless, in addition to the six dead adults and FIVE DEAD CHILDREN. There have been claims the police fired at MOVE people trying to leave the burning house.

          The national media seemed to feel this was not very important. And it resulted in no charges ever being filed against everyone, although there was a commission to investigate. It produced a report with the surreal line ‘Dropping a bomb on an occupied row house was unconscionable.’ No shit, Sherlock.

          The MOVE people, as I suspect everyone has deduced by now, were black, and very liberal, often stirring up trouble by protesting for animal rights in addition to protesting police brutality and racism.

          Now, none of the attacks on them has much to do with *protests*. But I think it shows the point I’m trying to make.Report

      • DavidTC in reply to Doctor Jay says:

        I rather think that proves my point.

        The police are reluctant to attack white people, and they are reluctant to attack women.Report

    • DensityDuck in reply to DavidTC says:

      “White people always get more respect from the police when protesting than anyone else. ”


      • DavidTC in reply to DensityDuck says:

        The way those students were treated rather proves my point about the police escalating things.

        And the way everyone *reacted* to that really proves it.

        As I said, there is an inherent lie at the bottom of most protests that ‘get out of hand’. They ‘get out of hand’ only because the police deliberate provoke them, or crowd them, or give them conflicting directions, and then magically somehow have a justification to arrest them, and now they’re all hostile and screaming about how that’s not justified and it’s really out of hand.

        Or, to put it another way: Protests can *only* turn violence when presented with an enemy in front of them. I grant it is, in theory, possible to them to come into conflict with counter-protesters and ‘legitimately’ devolve into a riot. That could happen.

        But in 99% of the circumstances, when something goes wrong at a protest, their enemy is…the police, who deliberately make themselves the enemy of the *left*, and only the left. And police have the law on their side, and even when they don’t, everyone believes their lies.

        But the protesters at UC Davis got blatantly attacked…and *the lie didn’t stick*. Probably because they were, in fact, clean-cut mostly white college students.Report

        • DensityDuck in reply to DavidTC says:

          Jesus Christ, dude, just admit that “cops always go easy on white chicks” is not correct. You don’t need to wall-of-text in an attempt to not have been wrong.

          “They ‘get out of hand’ only because the police deliberate provoke them”

          Yeah, police definitely provoked people to shut down the freeway and loot a grocery store. Definitely provocation.Report

          • DavidTC in reply to DensityDuck says:

            Jesus Christ, dude, just admit that “cops always go easy on white chicks” is not correct. You don’t need to wall-of-text in an attempt to not have been wrong.

            So now my claim is ‘always go easy’ instead of ‘get more respect’, eh? Odd, because my post still *says* that second thing.

            The protesters are UC Davis were *respectfully* pepper-sprayed…instead of beaten with clubs. It’s a matter of degree.

            Yeah, police definitely provoked people to shut down the freeway and loot a grocery store.

            Dude, I said that protests *get* out of of hand because the police provoke them. This does not mean there are not *riots* that start out of hand and continue out of hand.

            Any demonstration by people *starts* with a certain, specific amount of anger. It might have a lot of anger (Any spontaneous uprising, like there, is going to require a lot of anger.), it might have almost no anger, being a planned peaceful protest.

            I am not asserting that a range of emotions do not exist, or that, at the high end of emotion, the crowd will not be violent.

            What I am asserting is that protests that *start* peaceful *will only become* aggressive if provoked by police. (Or, technically, by anyone, but it’s usually the police.)

            And, again, by ‘provoked’, I mean a wide range of things, including a lot of entirely legal things, especially when done by the police.

            It is work pointing out the police in Oakland provoke the mob earlier, by trying to herd them around, but they really *had* to…the guys were on the interstate. I am not saying *all* provocation is deliberate, or something that can be avoided.

            I am saying the standard line is that ‘There were just some tiny fraction of violent people there causing the violence’. This is, in fact, utter bullshit.

            Because that is not how crowds work, and not how society works. The people got into a crowd, being in a crowd result in anger averaging out as it always does, and then, later, if the level of anger changed, *someone did something to change it*.(1)

            In modern times, this someone is nearly almost the police, and moreover they do these things that provoke the crowd *only* when the crowd is protesting from the left. Suddenly, the police decide everyone must move somewhere, causing people to get crushed and become confused. Or they decide the protest should be confined into a space smaller than it is. Or they might yell incomprehensible instructions. Maybe yank some people out of the protest and ask them questions. And now other people are yelling at the police. And other people. And now the police arrest someone, and more yelling happens, rocks get thrown, and somehow, *mysteriously*, the protest has escalated to violence.

            When the crowd is protesting from the right, the police leave them completely alone, and somehow the crowd *doesn’t* become more restless and people don’t eventually start doing things that gets them arrested. They just peacefully standing there protesting.

            1) Barring weird exceptions like a group getting new information in the middle.Report

            • DensityDuck in reply to DavidTC says:

              you know I had a longer response here but

              “The protesters are UC Davis were *respectfully* pepper-sprayed”



              wait, dude

              respectfully pepper-sprayed

              you just said that

              like, you clearly meant to say that

              respectfully pepper-sprayed

              can be a thingReport

              • DavidTC in reply to DensityDuck says:

                It’s more respectful than hitting them with setting dogs on them and hitting them with billyclubs. Or just shooting them.

                You know, how civil rights protesters were treated.

                It’s even more respectful than tasing them, or slamming them against the ground and cuffing them where they can’t breathe.

                If you think getting hit with pepper-spray is not on the *nice* end of how police treat protesters they’ve decided to attack, I don’t really know what to tell you.

                Additionally, I should point out those protesters were ‘negotiated with’ (Aka, ordered to stop their lawful behavior) for quite a long time before that happened, as opposed to being wrestled to the ground as soon as they crossed over a line that existed only in some cop’s imagination.

                Of course, I am not say the police behaved *correctly*.

                I am just saying they were, to some extent, hesitant to blatantly attack protesters, and *most of that* seems due to the social status of said protesters. Note their status wasn’t even *that* high, but it was high enough to cause pause. Even when the cops did attack, it was as long-distance as possible, they didn’t want to be seen laying hands on the protesters, and it appeared to be some rogue cop while the rest hung back.

                You change those protesters to black and put the protest somewhere else, and they’re getting slammed to the ground repeatedly and losing some teeth, and then arrested for assaulting a police officer.

                I’m not really sure of what part of this you disagree with.Report

              • DensityDuck in reply to DavidTC says:

                So far in this conversation you’ve claimed that:

                *Blocking the highway as a protest isn’t really a protest.

                *Pepper-spraying people who are sitting on the ground handcuffed together is respectful, compared to just hitting them.

                I recognize that you have a story you desperately want me to accept is true.

                It also seems that you have this idea that writing lots and lots of words makes your argument stronger.

                “I should point out those protesters were ‘negotiated with’ (Aka, ordered to stop their lawful behavior) for quite a long time before that happened”

                And you’re so sure that this never happens when it’s black people protesting.Report

              • DavidTC in reply to DensityDuck says:

                *Blocking the highway as a protest isn’t really a protest.

                No, I haven’t. I mean, a spontaneous gathering that blocks a highway is probably more *properly* called a riot, but if you think that is some sort of attempt to weasel out of things, I will freely call it a ‘protest’. (Usually, when people are arguing a protest is violent, they *want* it called a riot. But whatever.)

                Do you even understand what I’m saying? You seem to be under the impression that I am arguing that protests are never violent.

                I am *not*. I’ve made that very clear. There are a bunch of very violent protests. Almost all spontaneous protests are very violent, because people have to be *very angry* to start that unplanned.

                What I am arguing is that an existing protest *does not become more violent*, barring outside influences. They start at a level of anger, which roughly translates into how violent they are, and they stay roughly that level….if anything, they tend to slow down as people get tired.

                There are exceptions…the protesters can learn some news (Or just rumor) that makes them angry, or, very very rarely, a bunch of new protesters with different anger levels can show up. But 99 times out of 100, when a protest becomes angrier, it is because they are reacting to some perceived enemy right in front of them. And we’re pretty much stopped letting protesters and counter-protesters duke it out, so the enemy is always the police.

                And, for decades, the police have deliberately behaved in ways to indicate they are the enemy when the protesting is things they do not agree with. They push crowds around randomly, give them random directions that they cannot follow, harass people, all sorts of things to cause the protesters to direct their anger at the cops…at which point they can start arresting people.

                Pepper-spraying people who are sitting on the ground handcuffed together is respectful, compared to just hitting them.

                Maybe we should go ask John Lewis if he’d rather be ‘just hit’ by the police, or pepper sprayed?

                Note the UC Davis police *switched to using pepper spray* after their (very minor) use of batons earlier in clearing a building sparked outrage, so *they*, at least, seemed to feel pepper-spray would cause less outrage.

                And it probably would have caused less outrage, if they had done it individually instead of one of them just blatantly pepper-spraying a bunch of people sitting on the ground.

                And you’re so sure that this never happens when it’s black people protesting.

                I didn’t say ‘never’. I’m sure there have been reasonable police at some point, somewhere.

                But in general, white people are given much more leeway during a protest. These white people were informed that morning the tents must be gone by 3:00, and were pepper-sprayed about 4:00.

                Compared to the authorities giving a group of black people an order to disperse, they usually don’t give the order hours in advance, and then wait until an hour after the deadline to start physically removing people. They say it, and it has to be done *right the fuck now*.

                For what is perhaps the greatest example of this: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2014/dec/12/ferguson-police-protesters-warning-before-teargas

                That’s right, the courts decided that Fergason police *literally were not giving protesters a reasonable enough time to walk away* from the location they had been ordered to leave before the police hit them with teargas. The courts said, basically, ‘You cannot order people to leave a location and then immediately hit them with teargas before they can leave on the grounds that they have not followed your orders. (Nor can you just hit them with teargas without warning, which was *already* not allowed, but people seem to think you are doing.)’

                Edit: It is worth pointing out that I did not know this about Fergason when I talked about this earlier, or even when I started this post. I needed a counter example, so I *completely randomly* googled how long protesters were given by the police to disperse in Fergason before being attacked by the police, and, tada, it turns out there literally was a court case about it.Report

              • Kim in reply to DavidTC says:

                Infiltration a protest is easy. Sparking a riot a little more difficult, but you’d be surprised what people will do for money.

                Please don’t say that the only time people riot is because the Police caused it.

                Plenty of other ways that plays out.Report

              • DavidTC in reply to Kim says:

                Infiltration a protest is easy. Sparking a riot a little more difficult, but you’d be surprised what people will do for money.

                I am not saying that cannot happen.

                I am saying that, honestly, it doesn’t even need to. Malicious crowd control and deliberately confrontational behavior by the police will result in the anger ratcheting up and up.(1)

                At some point someone *legitimately* in the protest will become angry enough to start some level of confrontation with the police, at a minimum screaming at them and shoving them. (Just like *most* people will respond if you come up to them and deliberately hassle them in the street for an hour.)

                Now the protest has ‘turned violent’, and the police can shove it around some more and start arresting people, which causes even more unrest and anger, leading to move violence.

                And, of course, combine this police behavior *with* plants, and you can have them throw the first punch, but when they do that, they’re only at maybe 10% over the general anger level of the crowd, instead of some idiot (and obvious plant) screaming in the middle of a calm crowd.

                But it’s probably safer not to risk it, or have them hang back and only get involved if the police cannot get a legitimate protester pissed off enough he does something he can be arrested for.

                1) I am now wondering if I am understanding this because I see the job of the police not as to enforce the law, but to protect the *peace*. They are supposed to be a calming influence on society, and I know not only how much they able to fail at this, but that they can do the exact opposite and *uncalm* society just as easily as they calm it…all entirely within the law.Report

        • Chip Daniels in reply to DavidTC says:

          It seems pretty conclusive to me that there is a caste system in America, with the variable rankings of skin color, sex, appearance, wealth, and culture.


          Pretty white blonde> Pretty white brunette>Pretty black woman
          Hip> Unhip
          And so on.

          It seems ironic that we just witnessed the electoral power of the group of people raging about this caste system, bitterly complaining that the higher castes look down on them.

          Cops are a part of this culture; they treat people differently based on the same signals and tribal markers.

          A poor black male in Compton, or for that matter poor white male in Michigan knows damn well he won’t be given the same deference by the cops as a well-off woman in Manhattan.Report

    • Koz in reply to DavidTC says:

      It is white women who are not questioned when they take to the streets in cities all over the country, by the hundreds of thousands. It is white women who can scream, “Fuck Trump” and “it is our duty to FIGHT” while police officers look on in mild amusement.

      I have quite a bit of respect for the potential political and demographic strength that these marches represented, but what’s the point? Why can’t we figure out a way to find common ground and show solidarity with the Americans who voted for Trump?

      I’m reminded of this because the last time we corresponded you were convinced that the Demo Establishment would never actually believe or act as though Donald Trump’s term of office was illegitimate, but just after that, like by one day or whatever, we had the whole drama of John Lewis and his cheap stunt.

      In the larger picture, why can’t you libs ever have the grace to be embarrassed by your tawdry politics and lack of loyalty?

      I think this a much bigger deal than the marches (which I’m not trying to downplay at all). If you could show some loyalty to the common ground we share as Americans, we could dial down some of the animosity and the need for punishing libs would be much less than it is now.Report

      • DavidTC in reply to Koz says:

        Why can’t we figure out a way to find common ground and show solidarity with the Americans who voted for Trump?

        Why do you specifically think this is one party’s job? Why does the left have to show solidarity with the right, but the right does not have to show it with the left?Report

        • Koz in reply to DavidTC says:

          Because it’s your side that’s the problem.Report

          • DavidTC in reply to Koz says:

            Perhaps you could present examples of the right showing solidarity with the left to show us how it’s done.Report

            • Koz in reply to DavidTC says:


              As you are probably aware, Donald Trump was recently inaugurated as POTUS a week or so ago in a public ceremony in Washington. At that time, and in the aftermath, both Republicans who supported Trump during the primaries and general election and those who opposed him (and there were plenty of both) were able to meet at the Capitol without disruption or sabotage to witness the change in the Executive. And for that matter the essentials of the ceremony were the same for Obama, W, etc., except that the new President was a different person. I’d say that’s pretty ninja personally.Report

  11. Tod Kelly says:

    I’ll just throw this out there.

    A bunch of women deciding to have an event where they signaled to each other (and the world) that they were going to stand up for one another’s rights (for whatever that meant to each one of them) in the years to come, promise to fight the good fight (for whatever that meant to each one of them) in the years to come, support one another (for whatever that meant to each one of them) in the years to come, and do so in a peaceful and optimistic fashion, being discussed here by political-expert men saying they don’t understand what the point of doing something like that even is and (at least some) making snide remarks about the very idea that women would do such a thing is…

    not remotely surprising in the least.Report

    • Mike Dwyer in reply to Tod Kelly says:


      For me, the proof will be what this ‘movement’ looks like 12 months from now. Right now it feels like it was more about this…


      …than actually putting together a liberal Tea Party Movement. I hope I am wrong. I have women in my house who had their hearts broken in November. I’d like to see something happen long-term.

      With all of that said though, as a conservative it’s hard not to be cynical. You know how we generally feel about these kinds of public displays, especially when it seems like it was the first Cool Thing To Do in 2017. Again, I hope I am wrong about this.Report

      • Tod Kelly in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

        @mike-dwyer I can only speak to the Portland march, because obviously that’s the one I was able to witness in person. But I would characterize at least that march as almost the opposite of the tea party rallies.

        Tea party relies, at least to my memory, were centered around the feeling of being against something — the debt, the federal government, liberals, Muslims, illegal immigrants, or what have you. (Which isn’t to say that those people weren’t also for things.) The energy of the march I was at was very much about being for things — primarily one another. (Which isn’t to say that those people weren’t also against things.) It’s a subtle difference, I know, but I think it’s relevant.

        I don’t actually think we’ll see regular, weekly Women’s Marches or Women’s March Neighborhood Political Action Associations like we did with the Tea Party. because I think it was a very different type of event trying with very different goals.

        I could be wrong, of course. We’ll see.Report

        • Mike Dwyer in reply to Tod Kelly says:


          So far I’m not super-impressed by the Women’s March plans going forward, but I could see this spinning off some sub-movements on a variety of issues. Of course, that fracturing is exactly what I see as most problematic for broad liberal movements.Report

      • Patrick in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

        Go to the next one, Mike.

        You’re a scientist. Go see what it’s like.Report

      • Kim in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

        Tea party died when it decided to think obama was moving nukes in Texas. Or whatever silly conspiracy theory they did.Report

      • Toad in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

        I have to support what Tod wrote – I can only speak to the Washington, DC march, but the point wasn’t to create one unified movement that accomplishes “this”. It was about waking women (and allies) up to the need to actively participate and fight for what they think is right. Out of our group of protesters, for example, one woman is championing college access for kids who are the first generation to go to college, another is working on intersectional issues, another is focused on healthcare, another on environment, another on registering voters and supporting efforts in swing states. And my mother is just a pissed off Republican, who’s angry as hell that the party she spent most of her life supporting is now all concerned with regulating women’s bodies, people’s relationships and using legislature to deny science.

        You’re not going to see one whole, unified movement — maybe that’s a problem, maybe that’s a strength. We’ll see.Report

    • veronica d in reply to Tod Kelly says:

      @tod-kelly — +100. Thank you.Report

    • Pinky in reply to Tod Kelly says:

      From what I understand, each of those “(for whatever that meant to each one of them)” should be “(for whatever that meant to each one of them as long she supports abortion”).Report

    • Koz in reply to Tod Kelly says:

      No Tod the problem with this isn’t the capability but the motives. Like this one guy once said, why can’t we just Make America Great Again instead?Report

      • Gaelen in reply to Koz says:

        You’re right! I did see Make America Grape Again signs at the March.

        Those tricksy, tricksy women folk.Report

        • Koz in reply to Gaelen says:

          You’re right! I did see Make America Grape Again signs at the March.

          Well right. Like I said, the problem isn’t the capability it’s the motive. And the motive behind Make America Great Again is obviously much different to Make America Grape Again.

          Considering that we all have a common interest to Make America Great Again, that’s the one we ought to go with.Report

    • Yes, and I’ll add that it’s easy for people like me, in the cheap seats, to sit back and criticize (or even praise) demonstrators. I’ve participated in demonstrations before and don’t like them. I’m not a people person and certainly not a crowds person. I don’t like noise, and I don’t like being around people shouting slogans or holding signs with messages I don’t agree with even if I agree with the overall theme of the demonstration. But again, it’s easy for someone who abstains from demonstrations to say that. It’s harder to actually take the time to get involved. And the people in these marches (who weren’t all women, by the way) are to be commended.Report

  12. Doctor Jay says:

    I think that the unifying factor in the protests is Trump. Trump is a bully. Bullies will bully whomever they can, whenever they can, in whatever way is most efficacious.

    So Trump bullies black people by mocking and denigrating BLM, and black protests against police violence. (A protest which was gaining a lot of traction in a non-election year.) He bullies women by mocking their anatomical functions and by groping. Sometimes even talking about the groping is a form of bullying. Trump also bullies short men (look up some of the things he’s said about Michael Bloomberg, who is short). Since I’m short, this is the thing that I respond to most strongly. I’ve been bullied. Trump bullies scientists. Trump bullies the press. Republicans decided, this cycle, that what they needed was a bully.

    So that’s the factor that unifies the protesters: Trump is a bully, and we will resist that bullying however we can. We turn out to demonstrate to each other that we will have each other’s backs. The left is somewhat siloed. And yet, we have discussed in this pages how it seems that Republicans have more difference of opinion, just not on the national stage.Report

    • Chip Daniels in reply to Doctor Jay says:

      The purpose of marches is to build solidarity and a sense of teamwork. This article discusses it well.

      So for many of those I spoke with, the march’s first purpose was to find reassurance that they were not isolated in their undiminished opposition to Trump. “More than anything we want to feel that we’re not alone,” said Mina Olivera from West Los Angeles, who marched with her husband and two children. “We just cannot be quiet and let it happen.”

      Constructing an activated energized base of activists is the first step to actually getting these people to canvas, knock on doors, make phone calls and finally vote.Report

      • Kim in reply to Chip Daniels says:

        Anybody remember ACORN?
        You do this in the months before it’s voting time.
        Not years away from anything.
        Not before there’s actually something to Protest.
        That’s just dumb.

        And,chip, you gotta have good defense against the rest of the left who’s gonna want to knife you as soon as you get something rolling. Or you’ll end up just like ACORN. (not like Occupy. That got taken down differently. Less legally).Report

      • Koz in reply to Chip Daniels says:

        The purpose of marches is to build solidarity and a sense of teamwork.

        That’s exactly right. The problem is the lack of solidarity from libs. It’s good that libs can build solidarity among themselves, even though that isn’t at all a given as the OP shows. But what about solidarity for America, not so much to support Donald Trump himself as opposed to the nation who elected him?

        This whole idea of “resistance” is asinine, juvenile and explicitly disloyal. To be sure, it’s sometimes legitimately difficult to be opposed the actions of the powers that be while remaining loyal to the mutual interest that underlies them. But let’s face it, libs aren’t exactly trying very hard.Report

        • Kim in reply to Koz says:

          “the powers that be” want to see most of us die. The politicians are only tools of the powers that be.

          You are of course right that RACEWAR and other ideas of the Powers That Be are tools to interfere with REAL solidarity.

          Not that the right is much better. Wave a red flag called “welfare cheats” or “urban crime” and they suddenly forget that solidarity means finding commonalities with the poor, the downtrodden, and the people who can’t call the police because what they’re doing is currently illegal.Report

        • DavidTC in reply to Koz says:

          But what about solidarity for America, not so much to support Donald Trump himself as opposed to the nation who elected him?

          Oddly, I have yet to see any liberals protesting America.

          I have, however, seen Trump make a lot of claims about how we’re in the middle of a national disaster (I believe the word was ‘carnage’) and everything is awful. His slogan sorta gives it away…the only way you can make American great is if it’s not *already* great.

          Which is a bit odd, because that sort of talk *used* to be called attacking America when it was liberals complaining about still-existing systematic racist and other problems with America in areas *they* cared about.

          This whole idea of “resistance” is asinine, juvenile and explicitly disloyal.

          I agree. The only way it could be worse is if the liberals took a symbol of actual historic American resistance and made it the symbol of their party.

          I mean, not something like showing and defending the Confederate flag, in places the confederacy wasn’t even at, and calling themselves ‘Rebels’. I mean, that’s so far out of bounds in the US no one would even consider that.

          But the liberals, if we are not vigilant, could start modeling themselves on early American rebellions, wearing tri-corner hats and calling themselves Revolutionaries or Boston Tea Partiers or something. This would be be *completely unacceptable*.Report

          • Koz in reply to DavidTC says:

            I mean, not something like showing and defending the Confederate flag, in places the confederacy wasn’t even at, and calling themselves ‘Rebels’. I mean, that’s so far out of bounds in the US no one would even consider that.

            Lib, General Lee surrendered to General Grant at the courthouse in 1865 to end that unfortunate episode in American history (the tricorner hats went out of fashion significantly before that). This is about what the libs have been doing like last week or so.Report

            • DavidTC in reply to Koz says:

              I know there’s an urge to reply to this, but in reality it’s much funnier if you pretend he doesn’t know, that his political knowledge is literally that blinkered.Report

              • rmass in reply to DavidTC says:

                So we should appreciate the level of work koz puts into his art?

                Well hell kid, here’s 5 internets. Dont spend em on redtube, ok?

                Your right though. It is precious to read.Report

  13. aaron david says:

    Why are the left’s public demonstrations more impressive than its voter turnout? Because there are a whole lot of Democrats in the large population centers where such demonstrations are generally held. People can join a protest simply by getting on the subway; it’s an easy show of force.

    But there are a lot of small towns in America, and those small towns are redder than ever, as Sean Trende and David Byler wrote Jan. 20 on the RealClear Politics website. Effectively, the Democratic coalition has self-gerrymandered into a small number of places where they can turn out an impressive number of feet on the ground, but not enough votes to win the House. Certainly not enough to win the Senate or the Electoral College, which both favor sparsely populated states and discount the increasingly dense parts of the nation.

    The Senate map in 2018 is brutal for Democrats. If Democrats want to get their mojo back, they’re going to need to do more than get a small minority of voters to turn out for a march. They’re going to need to get back some of those rural votes.

    To do that, they’re probably going to have to let go of the most soul-satisfying, brain-melting political theory of the last two decades: that Democrats are inevitably the Party of the Future, guaranteed ownership of the future by an emerging Democratic majority in minority-white America. This theory underlay a lot of Obama’s presidency, and Clinton’s campaign. With President Donald Trump’s inauguration on Friday, we saw the results.

    Megan McArdle

    Call me when there is a march in the red zone, you know, the one that keeps getting larger and larger.Report

    • Rmass in reply to aaron david says:

      Call me when there’s more votes in the red zone. Because cows don’t countReport

    • LeeEsq in reply to aaron david says:

      Isn’t this just proving that the Republicans are only winning because they can game the structure of the American political system rather than have a program that people actually like?Report

      • aaron david in reply to LeeEsq says:

        Could be, or it could be proving that the Dem’s are only capable of winning when the media is being effective. Or that the Dem’s win when they have a populist like Obama. Or that the Dem’s have big sorted themselves into a corner and no longer appeal to those who used to vote for them. I could probably think of many other things that could explain it given enough time. But the bottom line is that you need to win more people in more places that the other guy.

        Remember, HRC didn’t win a majority either. Just a plurality. Why should the election be won that way?Report

        • Kim in reply to aaron david says:

          Or it could be that the Dems weren’t exactly enthusiastic about being armtwisted into supporting Hillary. I certainly know some fairly decent folks that decided to sit this one out.Report

        • InMD in reply to aaron david says:

          @aaron-david your comments on this thread reminded me of this: http://blogs.spectator.co.uk/2017/01/dominic-cummings-brexit-referendum-won/.

          It’s a long-ish but fascinating read from the campaign director of the Leave campaign in Britain. Very insightful on some of the bigger issues McArdle dipped her toes into with regard to the veracity of political narratives.Report

          • Aaron David in reply to InMD says:

            I am actually in the middle of reading that right now, it is very interesting though his writing style is a bit odd. One of the things that has been striking me more and more lately is the very nature of the differences between the two parties, and how that is perceived by the public. There is definitely an asymmetry between the two parties and how what they do is accepted and I think to a greater of lessor extent that is similar dynamic to what informed the brexit vote.

            I have a post gelling in my head about it, but it needs more thought.Report

            • InMD in reply to Aaron David says:

              I’d attributed the oddities in the writing style to the author being British. I agree with you on the differences in perception. Part of it I think arises from the very different ways that each side fails to actually interrogate it’s own ideas and stances. That in itself is nothing new but I do think there might be new implications of an age old problem with a mass media broadly controlled by one side and a globalized economy.

              Conservatives (provincials may really be a more accurate term), at least in the US, I think fail to meaningfully interrogate their positions and narratives for a combination of cultural and geographic reasons whereas I think urban/suburban progressives (maybe ‘elite’ is the better term) delude themselves into thinking they’ve done that hard work by virtue of their education when they actually haven’t. The provincial tendency left unchecked seems vulnerable to vicious cycles and slow, if unspectacular self-destruction. The elite tendency seems more vulnerable to Trump or Brexit type shocks to the system that no one saw coming because they thought they already had everything figured out. That latter view is the one that dominates in the government, media, and most places of cultural influence which in turn skews everyone’s perspective on partisan politics in weird ways.

              I’ll look forward to your piece if it comes together.Report

    • Koz in reply to aaron david says:

      I think there were a lot of marches in the red zone, and politically speaking, I think the marches were quite significant. The only thing that makes them less than gamechanging is that as near as I can tell, no Trump voters participated in them.Report

  14. Jesse says:

    Of course, this is a nice dodge by you. Since any area that’s large enough for people to march is going to be blue-ish because of how urban areas work and it’s more convenient to march there instead of the suburbs, you always win. Since ya’ know, not a lot of marches in towns of 500 people.

    But, I guarantee there were plenty of people from places like Staten Island that voted for Trump who were marching last weekend.Report

  15. Maria says:

    I marched in Oakland, CA. I am not an activist, but as soon as I heard there was a march happening I knew I would go. Yes, the over-arching themes of the event were anti-Trump and championing female solidarity. But the reason I wanted to go was that I have long been frustrated by the way women are still not treated as equal human beings in the public sphere. We are still held to ideals or constrained by labels that men simply do not have to deal with. The functions of my body parts are more important to many politicians and fellow citizens than my innate humanity. My intellect is minimized because I shuttle kids to school and spend my day folding laundry. My maturity and morality are at once lionized (because women are inherently more caring than men), and undervalued (don’t you worry your pretty little head, we’ll take care of you). I vote for those who most closely align with my complex political views, but I live in friggin’ California! I marched because I wanted my “voice” heard beyond my elected officials.

    Sure, it was idealistic, and inherently optimistic, but it felt good to be away from the negativity of the news, to be away from the finger pointing happening on the left, and to be with people who still have hope that we are not going to head back into complacency. Of course people have mocked the marches (many small ones happened in very red areas, by the way) and that is to be expected, but I don’t really care. I wanted to get myself into a better frame of mind so that I could become more active in our political process and more active in my own community. If there is another march, will I go? Maybe, maybe not. I have always preferred the nitty-gritty work behind the scenes. But I wanted a day that wasn’t about Trump and his/Republicans’ agenda.

    Seeking perfection from any one event or movement only limits it. No one can or will ever stumble upon the perfect “messaging” for anything! Even the Tea Party has had its share of rifts, and they put up a pretty darn unified front. What happens next will be more visible on a local level. My sister attended her first town hall meeting with her representatives. A friend has started writing letters to as many people as she can. Another friend has committed to participating in volunteer events that directly help her own community. I plan to get more actively involved in local politics. Other friends are upping the ante on their existing activism. As far as I am concerned, this wasn’t another Occupy movement. It was a catalyst for more civic engagement in whatever form it takes for each woman or local group. I know others will have a different take than me, and that is okay. Women are not a monolith.

    By the way, my sign for the march quoted Neil Gaiman, I like stories where women save themselves. Kind of sums up my feelings about politics today. Quit looking for a savior and become your own savior.Report

  16. Angela says:

    I marched in Chicago. I signed up and trained as a marshal, because I wanted to be sure (as much as could be assured) that the march was peaceful and uneventful.

    There was a lot of change and chaos. Initially, the march was planned for 10,000. By the Sunday before it had grown to 30,000 and there was more marshal training scheduled. By Wednesday, the estimate was 50,000. By Saturday at 9am, it was 100,000. The final count (by the Chicago Tribune) was 250,000.
    As has been remarked, there were no arrests, violence, vandalism, etc.

    For me, the main reason to march was to show a peaceful presence. The right to peacefully assemble is in the Constitution. When I feared that other rights were threatened, I could start by exercising that one.

    What comes next? Each person needs to decide for themselves. The organizers of the march in Washington are planning “10 actions in 100 days” https://www.womensmarch.com/100/, encouraging each person to pick one or two items to concentrate on, and then work to support those things that are important to them. I’ve picked two, others will pick different ones. The point (for me) is to be more engaged and active.

    What’s been happening? So many people are calling their representatives that it’s hard to get through. There’s been what I think is a significant number of women trying to find out how to run for office. When at a local meeting, I made a point of talking to my alderman and state senator about the two issues that are important to me. I’ve called my senators and house rep with my concerns.

    The fact that each day more horrible things are coming out of Washington D.C. is disheartening and frightening. And the items that get all the news serve to distract from the other changes that are even more hateful and destructive.
    By taking peaceful, constructive, deliberative action, I choose to believe that I can change things.
    That’s why I marched.Report