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It’s been a year.
It’s been a year since Donald John Trump won the U.S. presidency and took the sacred oath of office on January 20th, 2017.
It’s been a year since women in America enraged by the rhetoric and appalled at the threats of the coming Donald Trump administration gathered by the millions throughout cities and towns across these United States. They exercised their constitutional rights personally in overwhelming numbers at the First Women’s March.
So, here we are again on the streets of America one year later, in the streets of Downtown Los Angeles, California for The Second Women’s March.
This time though many of the threats have become history.
At 9:30 am the downtown areas surrounding Pershing Square were once again filled beyond capacity . The personal space was shoulder to shoulder. Pink Pussy hats were to be seen everywhere on men, women, children and a pet or two. It’s morning and there is some anger shown but mostly this seems at first to be church for the the anti-Trump contingent. People are happy to see each other today, to be in a sea of folks who share each other’s outrage at the year’s doings in this present administration. There are old school first and second wave feminists bringing their third wave daughters along to do their first amendment duties. Fathers and daughters were everywhere at all age levels while full families pushing carriages and wheelchairs gathered and readied themselves to march down Broadway to City Hall.
As I covered this march I photographed the people in the march. The coverage for protests in L.A. will often times focus on the celebrities attending, and for a few reasons I shot the crowd. I shot the people who got up in the morning and gathered their homemade signs, got on the freeway or train or whatever and showed up to say how much they cared about the reversal of American civil progress.
These Californians showed up to congregate in person.
They showed up to defend the civil rights achievements of the last 300 years.
They showed up in the streets of L.A. to disturb the creeping normalization of President Donald John Trump.
They were here to register their outrage at the administrations “ achievements” .
Signs and chants indicted his actions such as the tax bill, the mismanagement of the EPA and it’s subsequent science denial policies. Outrage was cited at the appointment of partisan federal judges, the rhetoric and swipes at immigration issues, the lack of empathy reflected in the DACCA embroilment, the tax bills coming rape of American “entitlements" and this chief executives sexually predatorial tendencies and casual dismissal of those actions.
They ripped at his Korean nuclear stance and his expression of strong racial biases. The words pussy and shit hole were very present. Black Lives Matter and the Me Too signs were everywhere. The Russian aspect of the Trump presidency was brutally mocked.
There were so many complaints.
Eventually the march began about 10 or so with groups emerging onto Broadway from the hundreds of thousands of people gathered behind them in Pershing square and it’s surrounding streets. The trickle turned into a river of the discontented who were now visibly angry. The chants started, first amendment fists flew into the air from bearded men and little kids. Mother’s and Dad’s pushed carriages, women who had fought for their rights all of their long lives walked forward with clever signage and the look of hard won integrity in their eyes.
Men who dressed in attorney casual marched beside young gurls and their trans sisters and brothers, who marched along with DACCA kids who came to testify in the baptist sense.
Women who’s eyes betrayed their betrayals marched with young girls whom they hoped would never become victims.
They marched in public with their sons so they would never become victimizers.
Many of the protesters were urging observers to vote the bums out in the 2018 elections. Some urged impeachment, a few even seemed to urge Mr. Trump’s physical eradication. In all of the protests I have covered or attended that was the first time I had ever seen such fatal sentiments. This was an odious watermark of the left’s profound alarm and disappointment.
I did not take pictures of those protestors…….
It also seems that Trump’s actions have ignited a development that is doing what the left has had a spotty record with, and that is the art of coalition. So many groups are speaking together in this new women’s movement that a united front is now perhaps emerging.
The march which stretched for 6 blocks or so eventually got to City Hall where celebs and activists inspired the crowd with speeches and L.A. style R & B protest jams. People spoke to each other, ate hot dogs, rested on the grass, cheered their heads off and fed their kids. Ironically, we were gathered under a city hall that was built by a very conservative, anti-union group which now belongs to the people…..
This was a melting pot day.
Americans, by nature come together over common civil concerns. And since the inception of this democratic republic some of our common concerns has been upward mobility, open government, a disavowment of rigid inherited class structures, fairness in income access, the vote and the possibility of having the comforts and morals of the middle class no matter what your origins or perceived disabilities.
At time's we come together fiercely over such issues.
The crowd was diverse. This may have been started as a march for women’s concerns but just as any matriarch will often effectively unite a family under the worst conditions, so perhaps has this new movement has started to pull disparate family members of the left and middle under one warm and inclusive tent.
One can only hope that this trend progresses even though the marchers mostly had the accoutrements of the middle class and their signage mostly reflected middle class concerns.
I did not see much of the poor or the very poor represented either in person or in rhetoric. Donald Trump’s policies are already impacting these Americans severely and if this perceived omission by the left continues the results will be catastrophic for an already largely unseen and ignored population. A mere 7 blocks away America’s second largest unhoused population continues to wither away in the hopelessness of extreme poverty, mental illness and the the filth of the street, housed in tents, sleeping bags and the insanity of nowhere to go but Skid Row.
That hell was a mere 7 blocks away from the march.
The 2018 Tax Bill’s deduction scheme alone will increase the indigent and unhoused in our cities and rural towns of the U.S.
Health care is disappearing for millions while our public education system will once again be diminished for the common kids, which in turn will erode skill acquisition, critical thinking and civic awareness. The republican congress of Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnel have American “entitlements” in their rifle scope and will take aim at social security, medicare and welfare.
All of that aside, The Second Women’s March in Los Angeles, California was revelatory. Mothers and grandmothers who had fought for equal rights and pay brought their daughters and sons so as to pass the torch of the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for redress's of their grievances.
When Ted Danson and Mary Steenburgen spoke to those gathered in front of City Hall, we were told by the organizers that the crowd had reached 700,000 people making this ( once again ) one of the largest open protests in the history of Los Angeles.
Viola Davis, who won the Oscar for her role in “Fences” spoke for the thousands and thousands gathered; "I am speaking today not just for the #MeToos, because I was #MeToo, but when I raise my hand, I am aware of all the women who are still in silence. The women who are faceless. The women who don't have the money and don't have the constitution and who don't have the confidence and who don't have the images in our media that gives them a sense of self-worth enough to break their silence that is rooted in the shame of assault, that’s rooted in the stigma of assault.”
The crowd left peacefully looking inspired and somewhat exhausted.
The elections of 2018 are coming.
It’s time to take the huff and puff out of that orange haired wolf at the door.
Our best hopes for such a result today are in the women of America.
It’s as obvious as it can be.
Robert Stuart Lowden
Los Angeles, CA
January 20th, 2018