#WomensMarch2018: A laser-like focus on voting
Last year’s Women’s March was an angry reaction to the election of Donald Trump. This year’s march was about taking back power and voting.
That was the general theme and feeling of the marchers at this year’s Women’s March in Chicago, which had the theme, “March to the Polls.”
We just got back from marching with fellow protestors in downtown Chicago. Many people thought we would get a lower turnout than last year’s 250,000 people, a number that greatly exceeded the expectations of 75,000. As of right now, the estimate for the size of today’s crowd from The Chicago Tribune is even higher — 300,000 (!) people.
Whatever the official number ends up being, there were a lot of people just itching to get themselves into a voting booth. There’s no doubt that 2018 is turning into the year of the woman.
Speaker after speaker reminded the huge crowd about the importance of voting in the Illinois primary in March and in the midterm election on Nov. 6. Not that anyone needed any reminders, judging by the signs they were carrying and the chants they were shouting.
Representatives of the League of Women Voters, carrying red balloons, were out in force to register new voters. Candidates for state legislative seats and even state attorney general were out in force. Many candidates carried signs echoing the sentiments on the cover of the latest issue of TIME: Last year they marched. This year they’re running.
As usual, the signs carried the day:
- Grab ‘em by the midterms. (Variations: Grab ‘em by the polls, grab ‘em by the patriarchy, etc.)
- Still here, still nasty, still voting.
- Voting is my superpower.
- I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change. I am changing the things I cannot accept.
- I’m the daughter of immigrants from a shithole country.
- Very stable women vote.
- Can we put the smart people in charge now?
- Women are the wall against Trump.
- I have a dream that someday women will have the rights that guns have.
- When they go low, we go vote.
- Dear Mr. Mueller, please hurry!
- Hey, shithole! Never, EVER piss off a Puerto Rican woman who has the power to vote.
I’ve got to hand it the Chicago organizers. They did such a fantastic job lining up music and speakers. We heard from mostly women activists, white, African-American, Latina, Muslim. They were able to raise enough money for all needed expenses, so that the huge crowd got to watch and hear the speakers on Jumbotrons.
One of the speakers was Monica Raymund, who stars on the series Chicago Fire. “Hey, Mr. Trump,” she said. “I’m a woman. I’m a Latina. And I’m queer. I’m your worst nightmare!”
And speaking of shitholes, the names of women who donated $100 for Porta Potty rental received extra special treatment. There’s something to tell your grandchildren one day: My name was on a Porta Potty to fight Donald Trump.
Besides all the pink pussy hats, there were new blue wave hats. Another theme seemed to be signs with photos of Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia (including one women dressed as Princess Leia, bagel hair and all) and the message, “A woman’s place is in the Resistance.”
“Last year’s march was about waking up,” one speaker said. “This year’s march is making sure we stay woke.”
I don’t think there’s any chance of that.