So I went down to the demonstration. Apparently, the President of the United States had signed an Executive Order contravening both the Constitution and several Federal statutes.
Here in Seattle, we took to the streets again, for what must be the third time in about a week. Now of course not everyone was upset. To hear Kellyanne Conway explain it, President Trump’s actions cannot be illegal because they are what he promised to do before the election. Also, the judge in New York who had granted a stay of the executive order had been appointed by President Obama, so that doesn’t count. (I’ll bet they didn’t teach her that at Georgetown.) Naturally, across the country there are millions whose own oxen are not yet being gored, and from their perspective it may be hard to see danger in granting a king’s power to the executive.
According to Rudy Giuliani, President Trump had asked for a legal way to ban Muslims from entering the country. What resulted was a way to separate families and keep people from getting to their jobs, and this did not go unnoticed in Seattle’s tech economy.
Attendance at Westlake Park seemed bigger than that for the Inaugural demonstration Pine Street was crowded from Third to Fifth, and Fourth Avenue from Stewart to Pike. I arrived at about five o’clock and made my way around the block that the park is in — progress became slower until, as I got back near the Bon, I could hardly make headway. It had occurred to me by then that flu season was probably not the ideal time for mass action, so I fought my way home after less than an hour. There has been good weather for politics so far; will typical springtime drizzle later dampen our spirit?
Others in the crowd expressed concerns less legalistic than mine. The proclamation followed almost immediately after the one commemorating Holocaust Remembrance Day. What memory is there of 1939, when hundreds of Jewish refugees were turned back from Miami to their deaths, because it was argued that there might be Nazi spies among them? “Never Again is Now,” someone’s sign read.
At our own airport, travelers were to be detained or turned away, but some of our Port Commissioners showed up to join in the protest there. We have Federal judges here too, and our own, Thomas Zilly, a Reagan appointee, issued an order blocking the action.
“Justice,” another placard said, “is what love looks like in public.”
— Scott McKee