(click photos to enlarge)
You wouldn’t know it from watching the Senate Republicans’ disgraceful rubber-stamping of the appointments of one compromised and/or unqualified candidate after another to powerful cabinet positions, but the vast majority of the American people expressed their opposition to this president’s agemda on Election Day by voting for another candidate or not voting at all. I am reminded of that and heartened when I look at the pictures I took in Washington on January 20 and 21, where the streets were full of cheerful, energized resistance. Similar scenes took place that day and many days since then all over the world.
The night before the inauguration, theaters all over the country launched the Ghostlight Project, whose mission statement reads: WE WILL GATHER OUTSIDE OF THEATERS TO CREATE A “LIGHT” FOR DARK TIMES AHEAD, AND TO MAKE, OR RENEW, A PLEDGE TO STAND FOR AND PROTECT THE VALUES OF INCLUSION, PARTICIPATION, AND COMPASSION FOR EVERYONE REGARDLESS OF RACE, CLASS, RELIGION, COUNTRY OF ORIGIN, IMMIGRATION STATUS, (DIS)ABILITY, AGE, GENDER IDENTITY, OR SEXUAL ORIENTATION. I showed up for the launch at the Arena Stage, which was also hosting a community farewell to the Obamas that night.
The next day my friend Joe Martin, who worked closely with Barney Frank for many years, and I made the rounds of the anti-inaugural events. Festive crowds gathered at noon at Union Station, people of all ages and colors, with signs, banners, puppets, and marching bands.
Later in the afternoon the scene shifted to McPherson Square, where there was a rally with numerous speakers and musical performances, but the action was mostly hanging out in the streets communing with others as a gray pall hung over the city. A contingent of anarchists broke some windows and torched a limousine, which the TV news highlighted to suggest dangerous rioting in the streets, but the gathering was pretty low-key. The police presence was enormous, and I got the distinct feeling they were pretty much on our side. The people in the red baseball caps trickling out of the official inauguration wore expressions that looked somewhere between smug and sheepish.
At the end of the day, Joe’s husband Clint met us at Busboys and Poets, a hip and groovy cafe/coffeehouse near the Catholic University campus, for dinner, where they were passing out free copies of Shepard Fairey’s beautiful “We the People” poster (you can also download it for free here) and where we spied this cute young couple rocking their pussyhats.