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marching for love

My ex-husband and my son are in the living room, riveted to CNN, as people discuss how appalling the behaviour of the President of the United States was today. A bit earlier, the 3 of us watched Florence Foster Jenkins, a lovely film about a woman of good will but utterly without talent, who somehow is convinced that she should sing. There are similarities, certainly, between the vile incompetent sworn in yesterday and Mrs. Jenkins, except the good will part.

We marched today. We discovered it’s not easy to march in a huge crowd with a restless four-year old on a scooter and an 18-month old who totters along like a drunken sailor and does not want to be carried. All around us, thousands and thousands of people, young and old, every colour, every faith – and talk about good will! Such a joyful crowd, peaceful, friendly, open, a heartening number of teenagers and young adults. People gathering to be heard, to be seen. It started on the College streetcar which Edgar and I got to Queen’s Park. I didn’t expect any crowds on the streetcar, but it was packed with women, and some men, in pink hats, people with signs, everyone talking about Trump and the election. The car had to go by most stops because we couldn’t let anyone else on. I talked to a woman not much younger than I who told me it was her first march. “I thought, this is the one to start with.” I couldn’t imagine never having marched before – perhaps she didn’t live in Toronto when Mike Harris was Premier, when there were many vital marches, though none anywhere near this size – but was glad, yes, she is starting now.

When we got to Queen’s Park, the streetcar driver shouted, “Everybody out, folks. And give ’em hell!” And there we were, in a roiling sea of humanity in pink hats, with signs, great signs. “Free Melania!” one said. “Get your tiny hands off my human rights.” “This pussy grabs back.” “March like a girl.” “A woman’s place is in the resistance.” “Babies against bullshit.” And one of my favourites, “Worst reality show ever!”

We couldn’t hear the speeches, they were too far away, but we cheered when the people close to the speakers cheered, and then finally we started to march. Thousands – I’ve heard 60,000, though maybe more – streaming down University Avenue, both sides, in an endless flood, with some drumming and chanting. Thrilling and beautiful. Even the weather was on our side – it was mild and almost sunny.

It was two hours after the start by the time we got to City Hall, and at that point the little guys were tired and hungry, so rather than not be able to hear more speeches, we went home to an exhausting evening with two very busy, relentless young men. The level of their energy is overwhelming. We ordered Chinese food for supper and finally they went home, and Sam, Edgar and I could go back to watching, with our jaws hanging open, as Trump’s behaviour was debated on TV, and reports came in from around the world about the marches everywhere, everywhere. Humanity has arisen en masse. This is a historic moment. May this spirit of joyful protest last.

Anna didn’t quite get the sign finished – it was supposed to say, “This is what a feminist looks like.” But love is enough.

My immediate family and my human family.

What haunts me, as the chaos unfolds, is thinking about exactly how much there is to fix in the world, while we debate how big the crowd was at the inauguration. It’s surreal. And I imagine Vladimir Putin, grinning.



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About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

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