The poor cell phone image above is the scene that greeted me when I crested Capitol Hill on Jan. 21, 2017.
It’s a crappy photo partly because I could barely see for my tears. I’m not often overcome with emotion, but it was a staggering sight. I had heard the crowd before I saw it, but nothing can prepare you for so many people standing on the side of love, justice, and equity.
I cried tears of joy and gratitude as I walked down that hill, and I fought down the urge to wipe them away.
Fuck it. Just fuck it. Why should I wipe away the tears stemming from a love that finally, finally replaces cold, hard anger?
It was a joyous day, and I cried more than once, but always cognizant of the dupes who make fun of those who cry, those dupes who mock people genuinely distraught that a puppet of Russian Fascism, a childish cretin who threatens all the social and economic gains we’ve worked so hard for, has lied and pandered his way to the highest office in the land.
Those dupes, forgetful of all their distress about an African American man being elected president in 2008 (the woman at the McCain town hall sobbing, “I want my country back” comes to mind), delight in mocking sensitive, thoughtful people.
I have gained new respect for some of the people I’ve engaged in debate with, even though I must note here that I still think they are thoughtless and reckless in voting for a man so manifestly unfit for the presidency. I can argue with them, and I can learn why they voted as they did (and I’ll try not to say “I told you so” as the GOP kicks their orange clown to the curb when he becomes too inconvenient). But there are also hard-core, dismissive folk who cannot engage in reasonable, if heated, debate.
And they make fun of people who cry.
Judging from Facebook, these are the same people who delighted in tormenting thoughtful, sensitive people in middle school and high school as well. They were assholes back then, and some of them are assholes still.
Haters gonna hate. Some things never change.
So yesterday, I marched among joyful men and women united against the forces of regression, people identifying their interlocked, intersectional tribes by their signs, all bearing lovingly hand-lettered legends:
BABES AGAINST BULLSHIT
FAGGOTS AGAINST FASCISM
side-by-side with my personal favorite
CHEESEMONGERS AGAINST MISOGYNY
As I laughed and cried and danced and marched, the derogatory word kept coming to mind. You know, the word the talk radio blowhards use for people who cried when the Russian puppet lost by ~3 million votes.
If you’ve successfully avoided that crowd, the word is snowflakes.
I saw a lot of snowflakes yesterday, and I loved them all for their beauty, their individuality, and their purity. As every snowflake is unique, so everyone I saw yesterday was different — diverse, but unified by and devoted to the spirit of civic responsibility and active democracy.
When you put a few snowflakes together, you get a dusting. When you get a little more, maybe you can make a slushy little snowball.
When you get enough, you call it a blizzard. But what I saw yesterday was a fucking avalanche.
I walked to the White House in the middle of this peaceful snowflake avalanche, and I pray it continues and helps sweep away the forces of racism, misogyny, and plain bullying asshole-ism that have taken over our democracy.
I’m profoundly humble and grateful to be a snowflake in this ongoing avalanche.