Women’s March on Maine
Your faithful correspondent here, just back from the Women’s March in Augusta, Maine, where some 5,000-10,000 (good numbers still aren’t in) — young and old, male and female, native and immigrant, religious and not-so-much, canine and pussy — turned out to support the progress we have made as a country, a progress these marchers don’t want to see rolled back, progress in civil rights, healthcare, reproductive rights, and the environment.
At least 10,000 people turned out for a parallel march in Portland, Maine, and another 4,000 marched in Bangor. In addition, Mainers busing to DC for the Women’s March numbered about 3,500.
That’s a total of about 25,000 Mainers in those four marches alone. This number does not include those who went to Boston and the many smaller marches across the state, including, according to a friend, about 50 people showing up for one in tiny Tenants Harbor, population 1,850.
This is a big deal. Approximately 2% of our 1.3 million population made the effort to show up — sometimes driving great distances, as evidenced by the county-by-county shout-out in Augusta — to voice their displeasure with the way they fear the country is heading.
From what I saw and heard in the crowd, they were also there to show support for and solidarity with one another. They came to show they were resolved not to stand idly by while things they believe in are dismantled.
They were more than pixels on a screen, more than a self-aggrandizing rant in the echo chamber of the internet. They were faces, names, mothers, fathers, daughters, sons saying, “This matters to me.”
And you know what? They were really nice.
They were not an angry crowd. There were no fists waved. No windows broken. No enticements to violence. No vitriol spewed.
There was seriousness of purpose, but there were a lot of smiles and plenty of humor.
There was nothing whatsoever said or done that I would have characterized, as a fellow writer did in a message to me today, as “the mob mentality forming across this country and the world,” that will create an environment where, “It will soon not be safe to be a Trump supporter openly. NOT SAFE!!!”
There were indeed “anti” signs: anti-hate, anti-racism, anti-misogyny, and, yes, anti-Trump. (This is shocking because there were never any anti-Obama signs, right?). But, I did not see or hear anything that would make me think, were I a Trump supporter, that I needed to board up my windows and build a panic room.
Quite frankly, I am very concerned, hearing this distress from a well-meaning person, that media outlets and political operatives are spreading unfounded fear of retaliation against Trump supporters in order to drive a wedge between people who might find they have a lot in common if they bothered to have a conversation.
Call me a conspiracy theorist, but I think many of the changes that are going to come down in the next four years are going to be as hard on Trump supporters’ families as they are on everyone else. The power brokers know this, and they will do their darndest to keep people from coming together and pushing back against policies that will only serve to line the pockets of the wealthy.
We will see.
For today, I am grateful to have been around so many dedicated people who care deeply about our country and things that I hold dear.