Originally this newsletter edition was to have addressed the matter of plastics: their role in contributing to planetary pollution, and their relationship as petroleum-derived products to the fossil fuel industry. Having reached a dangerous futility threshold, I wrote these words in my journal:
The subject this morning is Disaffection: Why does the prospect of writing about climate collapse and dying seas, advocating for smaller human footprints leave me feeling exhausted? Is there a choice here? And my answer: Yes! Grab the mornings! Get out there! Do stuff. Collapse if you must, but in the afternoon.
So I went to the Oakland Women’s March, not really convinced that I would, not at 9 AM (I don’t like crowds), not at 10 AM (There won’t be any buses running. That walk to Lake Merritt could be over a mile. And how will I get back?) with a promise to myself: “Go only if you enjoy every minute.” Evidently I must have decided to go. By 10:30 I had printed out 50 two-sided flyers.
|sign by Bev Voloshin|
Muni sees to it buses run infrequently—especially when a demonstration is called. I missed the bus heading north. That left the south-going option, which let me off downtown with over a mile to walk, joining up with increasing numbers of folks heading in the same direction, one of them carrying a DEPORT ICE sign. We zigzagged a couple of blocks and as we rounded the 12th Street corner, I gasped: You couldn’t see the sidewalks, you couldn’t see the lakeside greensward for the solid mass of people. And rounding another corner, I could see the crowd was so vast, it had spilled over into lakeside park two blocks away. I hadn’t seen such crowds since the U.S. invasion of Iraq.
The best way to enjoy the density of such a crowd is to plow right in and, as the march heads out, move in the opposite direction. You get to distribute your 50 flyers with people falling all over themselves to get a copy. You get to high five the best signs, groove with the hottest bands, and boogey with the coolest dancers. It’s a beautiful, stunningly sunny winter day, clear skies, and full of thousands of very well disposed and joyful people who despite their anger and frustration show no hate and astonishingly little negativity.
This is the Day of the Uterus: in a sea of pink, thousands of folks, including bearded men, sport pussy hats. Helpful people point out that you are headed in the wrong direction. So you tell them that like a sperm, you like travelling upstream. From your vantage point you happen upon all your friends, and because the march is advancing at a turtle’s pace, you get to hug them, and admire the political astuteness of their home-made signs:
GRAB ‘EM BY THE MIDTERMS
IF YOU LIKE SEEING ME DEMONSTRATE, WATCH ME VOTE!
A UTERUS GOT YOU IN THE WORLD. THE UTERUS WILL VOTE YOU OUT
Have you ever seen a Fallopian Tube flip someone the bird? Picture a flowery garland-surrounded uterus, one Fallopian Tube raised giving hate the finger.
Oakland finest lounged about uselessly, proudly displaying one example of their battle-grade weaponry, but otherwise incapable of providing information about any available transportation—a serious concern for this footsore octogenarian—but they give me their estimate of the crowd. My 100,000 contests their 70,000. It took a full hour and a half for it to funnel itself into a narrowing six-lane thoroughfare on its way downtown to Oscar Grant Plaza, its final destination.
Next week: plastics. Or What a Government Shutdown Means to You. Or…