Seattle Women’s March
The day following Donald Trump’s inauguration, women and others took to the streets in Washington and across the country.
Our local march started at Judkins Park. A couple of the buses that stop across the street from our house go there; but all morning we watched crowds of hopeful riders left behind by already-full coaches.
We caught up with the marchers as they passed our neighborhood on the way to Seattle Center. Neither of us had anything pink to wear. I later had the idea of acquiring a colorful Buff to wear as a pussy hat, and now I always carry it with me in case I have the chance to demonstrate solidarity.
My favorite sign from the march featured Princess Leia as Rosie the Riveter, saying “Join the Rebel Alliance.”
March for Education
The principal theme was education, the concerns including the plight of teachers and school funding.
Attendance wasn’t great, maybe due to scheduling or the too-nice weather, but I finally managed to intercept them as they were coming down Broad Street. The ratio of police officers to marchers may have been one of the highest ever.
Seattle Indivisible has been holding a rally every week since the Inauguration, so this was the tenth in the series. The local chapter of the ACLU joined for this edition, down at the Federal Building, and so did I. I stood next to a woman whose sign read, “So scary that even reclusive introverts turn out.” On the other side was “Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”
It was raining a bit and really windy, and it would become apparent that the public address system wasn’t up to the task. Nevertheless, Doug Honig spoke, Communications Director for the ACLU of Washington. His first topic was the immigration ban and its effect on the local community.
A more immediate concern was the nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. Nominees have learned to conceal their ideology during Senate hearings, but it was easy to locate opinions by the judge suggesting that he is more comfortable with corporations than with people. One preoccupation was expressed by the sign held by another attendee: “Neil Gorsuch is no Merrick Garland;” the point being that to confirm Gorsuch would reward the behavior of Republicans in denying even a hearing to the previous nominee. Some senators have indicated that if Hillary Clinton had won the presidency, the position might have remained empty during her entire term. This hypocrisy was unpopular among our group.
It was reported that Senator Patty Murray had promised to filibuster Gorsuch’s appointment. Maria Cantwell, on the other hand, had not given a firm indication of her intention. One placard read, “How are you going to cast our vote?” Since her office was located just upstairs, a number of us planned to visit with her staff afterwards.
But before we dispersed we heard two songs from singer/songwriter Jeffrey Powell. The first was Bob Marley’s Redemption Song; the second was his own, a Prayer for Peace.
May Day 2017
The big annual march of workers, immigrants and others came up Sixth Avenue this year. When I caught up to them they were stopped at the statue of Chief Seattle at Fifth and Denny for a performance by native dancers.
This year, we were the ones worrying about tied-up traffic. I had driven Alex to a dental appointment located between this march and an earlier one organized by veterans. Timing is key.
There were several independent demonstrations in Seattle, including a protest involving Amazon and housing issues. Perhaps the best story of the day involves a confrontation between pro-and anti-Trump forces at Westlake Center, where participants from both sides ended their standoff by sharing a joint.
We had stopped at the Fremont PCC on our way back from the Portage Bay Cafe on May 8. There was a commotion up by the Waiting For The Interurban statue, and we could tell that social justice was being discussed. We flashed through the demonstration, more than joined it, but we saw that it was an action against Chase Bank protesting their involvement with financing the Keystone Pipeline. Turns out that 13 branches around Seattle were affected, some completely taken over.Note the gray pipeline replica with the black plastic petroleum. The smaller yellow sign reads “Toxic Oil Spill — ATM Closed.”
March for Truth
On June 3 there was a march demanding truth about possible ties between the Trump administration and the Russian government. I was on my way to the library anyway, so I met the demonstrators from Cal Anderson Park on their way up Fourth Avenue to Seattle Center.
By this date, a special counsel had been appointed to investigate; attendance may have dropped off because it seemed that progress was already being made. Another demand was the release, as promised during the campaign, of Mr. Trump’s tax returns; and it may be that the investigation can obtain those without his consent. But it was also reported today that the President’s lawyers have been instructing agency heads not to honor requests from Democrats for information. If that’s true, it’s an early warning that reliance on democratic institutions to prevent an authoritarian takeover are misplaced.
March for Elephants and Rhinos
Our local march, on October 7, 2017, included tigers as well; and in fact was led by them, or rather by an enthusiastic, tiger-costumed drill team. We started at the south side of Seattle Center and headed west on Broad Street, then east on Denny, and then south on Fifth Avenue to Westlake Center. We had an SPD SUV pace-car the whole way.
We were not a wide march, and in fact the right lane of Fifth was open to some traffic. We did clog intersections, but the whole affair didn’t last very long. Most marchers had home-made signs or animal-themed adornments. Texts of chants were available in advance. The weather was perfect, with a bright sky and temperatures in the upper 50s.
Speeches were slow getting started, so I left early. I’m not sure that animals have a better chance than humans of getting people to stop killing them, but I have recently seen pictures of elephants with their tusks dyed pink, which suggests a possible technological fix. At least for those who can change their spots.
Now It Begins
Or such is the catchphrase of the demonstration on November 4, about a year after Trump’s election. I was on my way down to the Administration Building to drop off this year’s crop of ballots when I noticed a state patrol motorcycle wedged in a space near an intersection, and then more motorcycles lining up near City Hall. I first imagined an action to sway the City Council probably on the subject of homelessness, but then I saw the familiar signs of RefuseFascism.org. There would have been some waiting involved, and we were having record cold weather for this time of year. There were giant snowflakes yesterday, and rain predicted for today, so I’ll admit I just took a couple of pictures and continued on my way home.
April 15, 2018, saw a small protest against American involvement in the Middle East, spurred by bombing of suspected chemical weapons sites, undertaken after infamous attacks on civilians attributed to the Syrian regime.
This is probably one of the administrations least-unpopular actions, and one that has given Mr. Trump the opportunity to act his most presidential; but, as some of the placards in the picture suggest, the populace is wary after previous phony excuses for war.
In most years, April 15 is the deadline for tax returns, so we might have anticipated a demonstration demanding that Mr. Trump finally reveal his own promised returns. Those marches will probably occur on Tuesday, a popular day for protests anyway.
Rally for Families
On June 17, 2018, Father’s Day, families met at Westlake Park to protest the Administration’s policy of separating children from parents when they arrive at our borders without documents — even in the case of those who request asylum. The Attorney General has admitted that this is done to make immigration less attractive, but the President has gone on to claim falsely that it is due to action by Democrats. Those parents with cute kids, naturally, brought them along.
Among the speakers was Rep. Pramila Jayapal, who had recently been able to visit women detained locally, but who had been denied access to men similarly situated. There has been criticism from members of both major parties.
Hands Off Iran
June 22, 2019
This little node seemed to serve mostly to point to other centers of activism, such as the Seattle Anti-War Coalition’s monthly meeting at the Federal Building. One speaker mentioned that the annual Iranian Festival, was being held nearby, an opportunity to learn more about the country that some seem eager to subjugate.
Among the demonstrators, many looked experienced. I like the “No Iraq War” T-shirt with the “q” simply changed to “n.” I’ve seen a picture of a bumper sticker with the “q” rolling over, odometer-fashion. The “When will we ever learn” sign has served well without any modification during the last 50 years.