On Saturday, Clif and I joined 10,000 people in Augusta, Maine’s sister march of the Women’s March in Washington, DC. Because I am claustrophobic and therefore don’t like large crowds, I knew it would be grueling for me, and in fact I was reluctant to go. But earlier in the week, my friend Judy Johnson convinced me to attend when she said, “I want my warm body to be counted in the crowd.”
Yes, yes! And despite being pressed on all sides by people—something that makes me acutely uncomfortable—I was thrilled to be with the thousands who had come to stand up for women’s rights, children’s rights, men’s rights, and human rights.
Even though the past two months have been grim for progressives, the mood at the Augusta, Maine, march was anything but gloomy. Instead, there was an almost festive air at the gathering at the State Capital. Judy observed that there were lots of happy faces, and Clif noted that the event had a Common Ground Country Fair feeling.
Seeing so many good, beautiful, plain people out on a raw, gray January day brought tears to my eyes. There is hope for this country, despite the horrendous feelings and words that were unleashed by this election, where a terrible line has been crossed. These marches, not only in our country but also around the world, were a mighty rebuke to an administration for whom “alternative facts”—otherwise known as lies—are second nature. As one sign at the Augusta march proclaimed: When injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty.
All ages came to the Augusta march, from babies snug against their mother’s chests or backs to teenagers to young adults to older adults to seniors. The crowd was so vast that I could barely hear the speeches—a little disappointing—but the main thing, as I was reminded by my friend Paul Johnson, was to be there.
Toward the end of the rally, the sun came out, and on the domed roof of the Capitol, Minerva stood bright and gold against a cerulean sky. May her wisdom shine on us all.
Scenes from a rally:
Me, taking notes and Paul Johnson, sitting.
Yes, we can.
In honor of Carrie Fisher.
Judy and Paul Johnson.
Minerva, gleaming over us all.