A blog about my life, fitness and fun! (...and maybe a few cat pictures...)

A blog about my life, fitness and fun! (...and maybe a few cat pictures...)

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Women's March on Washington


After experiencing events as meaningful as the Women's March on Washington, I often have a hard time adequately expressing how truly awesome the experience was. Yet I always try to convey it to you through a blog post the best that I can. So, here it goes... 

I will first just quickly give you the main details of the day, and then I will break down the rest of my recap into little categories. I know it's not as eloquent to do it this way, but it is the only way I can even attempt to organize all of my thoughts!


The quick(ish) story.

On Saturday morning at 6am, me, my mom, and my friend, Andrea, caught a coach bus (only about 5 minutes from my house!) and traveled to DC. When I got on the bus, I was immediately filled with emotion just to be in the presence of so many like minded people. I often feel like I'm in the Twilight Zone here in Central PA, and I was heartened to see so many people who held the same concerns as I and were alarmed enough with this past election that we felt the need to travel to DC and make our voices heard.

Due to some light traffic, we arrived in DC by 8:30. Parking was easy at RFK. Here's a pic of our bus crew and our AWESOME organizer, Kelly!



Many people took the metro up to the march (2.5 miles away) but a lot of us walked. We passed a lot of police officers and National Guard members who were there to make sure we were all safe. Many of the National Guard members held pink beads in support. Some of them even hung the beads on the side mirror of their trucks. It was a lovely gesture of support.

As we got closer to the main stage (we were never even able to get closer than like 2 city blocks) it started to get really crowded. I feel silly telling you this, but I wasn't expecting it to be as crowded as it was! There were so many people! Due to the crowds, we were unable to hear the speakers and performers. But that doesn't mean we didn't feel inspired...

We ended up sitting on the steps that looked over the reflecting pool at The Capitol. Banners and other setup from the inauguration were still there from the day before. We sat and people watched as literally thousands of marchers descended down onto the National Mall. While there were lots of women, there were a lot of men, children, and families too. It was so fun to read the witty signs. People sang. People chanted. I will admit, I cried a couple times. This was democracy!








After a long wait for the port o johns, we ended up sitting in front of the National Gallery of Art. There were lots of people milling around and fun signs to read. Before we knew it (the day really did go fast!) it was 1:15 and time to march!
The thing was, there was just SO MANY PEOPLE that there was nowhere for us to go! We ended up marching to the march, which sounds silly, but that's what happened on a lot of side streets. Then they had to alter the march route because the crowds were so big that it was already filled up. So I guess what happened is there were just people marching everywhere! Our side street march met up with one of the "bigger" marches. When we got to that one, it was slow moving. It took us about 45 minutes to go 2 city blocks! But I will tell you, it was exciting THE WHOLE TIME we were marching!








In case you wondered what my pin said!

Momma!

Andrea!





I guess having too many people rise up is a good thing and not a bad thing!




Photographers will do anything to get a shot!

Even though people were nowhere near done marching, at 2:45 we had to start finding our way back to the bus for our 4:00 departure. It was a long walk, made longer by the fact that people were marching everywhere! 

Finally, we made it out of the throngs, but there was no way we were going to be able to power walk back to the bus fast enough. Luckily, we were able to catch a taxi and made it back to the bus just before 4pm. We were EXHAUSTED!

I was worried traffic would be bad getting out of the city, but it wasn't worse than coming in. When we were about halfway home, we stopped at Wegman's for dinner and I had my first meal of the day. (I didn't eat or drink due to worrying about bathroom issues!) I was SO FREAKING HUNGRY. I hadn't eaten in 24 hours! What did I have? A piece of fried chicken, carrot flan, crab mac and cheese, and two mozzarella sticks!

Once we were all back on the bus, we munched on our food and passed around the microphone to share our experiences that day. We also shared ways we can continue to stay active. Marching was GREAT, but there is so much more to DO. We all vowed to stay connected on our private Facebook page so we can talk about what to do moving forward.

We got home by 8pm. I was so excited to shower and GO TO BED. WHAT A DAY! And the best part was... I got to share it with my MOMMA!



And now, please don't stop reading... I have so much more to say! The "real" stuff hasn't even been said yet! I broke it all into disjointed sections! Buckle up... or bookmark this for later! 

What's the point?

I hope we consider this march a first effort, something like a nationwide committee meeting to put the new administration on notice. We're watching. This is only a first step.


Michael Moore was one of the speakers at the march and he urged us to run for office. I am not sure I am up for that! It sounds so intimidating. One thing I can do is attend local meetings and have my voice heard. That's one thing I plan to do. In fact, I started writing down things I can do. Marching feels great. But I don't want to just go home, post memes on Facebook, and show up at the polls in 2018. I mean, we all have to show up at the polls, but we don't have to wait two years to do something. There is work to be done before that.

The signs/the issues!!!

Many marchers held signs that voiced their concerns. While there was a VAST majority of issues that concern all of us, the one thing I think we all agree on is that we are VERY CONCERNED about the new administration's agenda. Many of the signs focused on women's health issues, particularly a women's right to make decisions for her own body. There were concerns about climate change. Black Lives Matter. Immigration. Equal pay. Education. HEALTHCARE. And probably a lot of things I forget right now because my brain is just swirling.

Here's a video that won't post. Click here! Inspiring!

There were funny signs, thoughtful signs, angry signs... all types. Here are some of the ones I saw and/or some funny ones I saw on the internet.













This guy was quick and to the point...









Not pictured is maybe my favorite sign I saw, which said, "Trump likes Nickelback". Come on. That is HYSTERICAL!

Since I have been studying Spanish, I was actual able to read some of the Spanish signs!

There was also some horse shit in the road and someone put a little sign on it that said, "Fox News Channel". How do people come up with this stuff?

I know this isn't technically a sign, but I saw a dude wearing a shirt that said, "I just look like a republican." When I marched by him, I laughed so hard. "You do," I told him. (He really did!) He laughed with me.


The MOOD of the march...

The mood of this march was one of peace and kindness. I was seriously so amazed at how KIND everyone was! I swear, we were the most polite protesters ever! So many, "excuse mes" and "pardon mes" going on. People were handing out free water. A woman had a sign that said, "I have diabetes. If you have low blood sugar, I have snacks." People handed out free water off trucks. During my entire day, I did not see anyone being rude or obnoxious to each other. Of course, this was just my experience.



I was lucky enough to be able to help out a little girl. I wasn't drinking water because I didn't want to have go to the bathroom, but I did have a bottle in my pocket (unopened) just in case. While I was marching, a little girl in front of me (maybe four years old?) started whining. Her dad asked her what was wrong and she said she was thirsty. "I don't have any water," the dad told his daughter.

I immediately offered him the unopened water I had in my pocket. He was incredibly grateful and I was happy I could help out the dad and the little girl.

There were so many other acts of kindness I saw that day. It really made me want to be a better human.

People Watching.

As you can imagine, this was a great place to people watch! Not only were the signs awesome, but some people dressed up especially for the occasion. There was a man in a unitard dressed as a cat. There were women dressed as the Statue of Liberty. It was just an abundance of EXPRESSION, which I loved.

People sang songs and played music. They chanted. There was an older gentleman pushing his wife in a wheelchair in front of the reflecting pool. He sang God Bless America to her. I cried, and we all clapped for him when he finished.

I joined in on an interesting rendition of This Land is Your Land. I love that song. I need to make sure I sing it with my students before the year is over.



There were also so many elderly women with walkers and wheelchairs. It brought tears to my eyes to see them so motivated to come out and make their voices heard. I hope they were inspired by all the young people marching alongside them. I know I was inspired by the elderly women who I am sure went through so much shit over the course of their lives. I was also inspired to see the teenagers actively involved as well.



Safety

I expressed to you that I was a little concerned about safety at the march. What if there was a bomb? What if a crazy dude with a gun came and started mowing us all down? I wasn't too concerned about rioters or destruction of property as I felt like I could move away from that and not be involved if something like that happened. It was the REALLY BIG things I was worried about. On the bus, I wrote down important phone numbers with a sharpie on my arm. I told my mom, "This way, as long as my arm isn't blown off, they will know who to contact." Yes people, this is how my brain works.



As we got off the buses at RFK Stadium and walked 2.5 miles to the march, there was a police presence. They were help directing traffic and getting marchers across the street. There were also members of the National Guard parked nearby, and of course we walked past their building on the way up to the march. This made me feel safe.

For the first part of the march, as the speakers were on the stage and we were milling around the mall (with thousands of other people) I did see some police with their cars, but not a ton. What my mom, Andrea, and I decided was that there were probably lots of police officers in plainclothes in the crowd.

As the day went on and the crowds started marching, there was more of a police presence, especially at intersections. As we were walking back to the stadium up Pennsylvania Avenue, there was just a MASSIVE amount of marchers so there were a lot  of police. We passed Trump Tower and the whole front of the building was lined with police as well.

"We will not go away, welcome to your first day!" they chanted past his hotel.





My posse and I tried to thank all police officers we passed. Most of them smiled back and said "You're welcome," or "Have a great day, ladies!" We were so thankful to have them there to protect all of us.



It was so crowded... the police were there to ensure the safety of every one of us!

I was also heartened to hear from the DC Police Department that not a single person had been arrested at the Women's March in DC. It estimated that there were 500,000 people and not a single arrest. WOW. This isn't just a testament to the peacefulness of the protest, but the excellency displayed by the police department. I can't believe how overwhelming it felt to have so many people basically take over the city. How do you make sure everyone is safe? Well, I don't know how they did it, but they did it. Kudos to all who enabled the march to be peaceful.

POWER TO THE PUSSY!

I am sure you remember what our 45th president said about sexual assault, but in case you have forgotten...



Grab us by the pussy? Hell no. Pussy is grabbing back. A movement online called the Pussyhat Project started the knitting of pussy hats for marchers to wear. My mom made a bunch and so did Andrea. I wore a hot pink pussy hat Andrea made me and I LOVE IT. I am going to wear it all the time!




Most people at the march were wearing hats. Men were wearing them and so were children. I actually saw a baby wearing one! So cool!



I know, I know, pussy hats? Seriously? So silly. Sexual assault isn't silly. I get that. But it was a statement and I chose to join in. We're reclaiming the word PUSSY.

This guy was loving it.. (freaking video won't work, click HERE I promise you won't regret it.)

There was a man with a son (who looked to be about 8 years old) walking next to me when this guy was shouting "pussy" on his bull horn.

"What's pussy?" the son asked.

"Pussy means a women's vagina," the father said. "It means power to women."

Counter protests.

Out of the nearly 8 hours I was at the rally, I only saw four counter protests going on.


Counter protest #1: On the way to the march, there was a little truck driving up and down the street with pictures of fetuses on it. The crowd I was with just ignored it.

Counter protest #2: While we were sitting outside the art gallery, a truck with a bull horn pulled up with a megaphone and told us Jesus died for our sins and that we were all going to hell. The marchers started chanting "Love trumps hate", but I wish everyone just would have ignored the truck. All they wanted was attention, and it would be worse for them to not get any.

Counter protest #3: Along the march route, there was a group of women from an anti choice group wearing black shirts and holding anti choice signs. They also had a bull horn and one member of their group was telling us that abortion hurts women. As marchers went past this group we chanted, "My body, my choice." Neither the marching crowd nor the anti choice crowd was violent or combative. I actually soaked in the moment. This is AMERICA. This is CIVILITY. We could all protest and make our voices heard without being violent towards one another. It's a beautiful thing, don't you think?



Counter protest #4: While walking back to our bus, we saw a small stage set up for Bikers for Trump. When we walked past, it looked like there was maybe 25 people there. This stage was either off on it's own, or Women's March participants just chose to avoid it. I guess my point is that at the time we walked past, the Bikers for Trump were just kind of doing their own thing off on their own.

In conclusion...


The election of Trump is NOT NORMAL, and I refuse to normalize it. This march is not a "temper tantrum", as I have seen it described by some online. This is not "whining". These are ISSUES women and men are concerned about. We are not protesting the legitimacy of Trump's win. He won the electoral college... even though he lost the popular vote by nearly 3 million (10 million if you count third party votes). But the popular vote ain't the rules of the game! 

But that doesn't negate the fact that MORE PEOPLE do not want his dangerous agenda. More people think he is dangerous and unfit. We will not sit down in regards to global warming. We will not sit down in regards to women's rights. We will not sit down in regards to education, immigration, Black Lives Matter, equal pay, HEALTHCARE...

Cher said it best: "Stand up and be counted or sit and be nothing."

The truth is, it doesn't matter who you voted for, Trump is going to let us down. We're in this together. We are all in the same ship called America. We are going to NEED each other these next 4 (hopefully) years. Let's work together. Let's KEEP GOING.

The march was Saturday. But let's go. What's next!?


This post took me over 5 hours to compose! I don't have enough energy to ask any questions! Just share your thoughts if you choose!

29 comments:

  1. Wow!! What an amazing event! It sounds like it was quite the experience of a lifetime!

    I do love the hats, and I am looking for one! I feel they send the message of "I'm not going to stand for whatever shit you are trying to pass by me! Don't even think about it !".

    I am so jealous that your mom not only supported you on this, but came with you! When we were telling my mom about the march, she lost it! She started telling us to never march on an event like this, that it was too dangerous! we told her it was a peaceful march, and she just kept saying "where there is lots of people, anything can happen!". So my sisters and I said that her saying this, makes us want to do a march even more than before. My mom can be both, the most outspoken feminist, and the most quiet one, all in one day.

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    1. That is EXACTLY what those hats mean I think! I really hope you get one. :) I can see if my friend will knit you one???

      I was nervous just like your mom was so I can understand her about worrying about her dear precious daughters! But it sounds like it is having the opposite affect on you gals. :) I plan on getting more politically active so I will invite you to the next march!

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  2. I will need to reread this post and watch all the videos when I get home from work tonight because I am now sitting at my desk crying and I need to get my shit together. I am so proud of you and everyone who marched. The more I read about it the more I wish I had said screw it to my work obligation and had just gone to the miami march. What a great, historical event for shared, important causes.

    One of my concerns is that some people will view the taking away of equal rights as a purely Trump thing, when really it's solidly conservative. What is (mostly) purely Trump are the outright lies and delusions. Even when Trump is out of office, and hopefully someone much more liberal takes his place, we can't get comfortable. I think a lot of that happened during the Obama administration... or at least I am speaking for myself. I remember debating pro-life/pro-choice during the Bush administration but I can't really remember very many times I ever talked about it during the last 8 years.

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    1. THANK you for pointing that out. I didn't look at it that way. And I admit, I think I did get complacent with Obama. :( You know what, I am awake now.

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  3. I did a local event nearby with about 2000 people. Going to downtown LA I hear was a madhouse! But I'm glad I participated because it was amazing. I'm jealous you were at the Washington event!

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    1. OMG I heard LA had 750,000!!! I'm glad you got to march. :) It's so important.

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  4. I loved reading this post, Meg. I'm glad you got to attend and that you were safe (and took those precautions). It looks like you had a very moving experience and I agree, it would be hard to write about and put everything into words but it will be great to look back on this in the future. Also, thanks for mentioning how kind people were there- the media *always* tries to spin things and it was good that the protest was so civil.

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    1. Thank you for reading the whole thing! One perk about having a blog is that I will always have my thoughts and experiences documented- the good and the bad.

      I was impressed with how civil everyone was. At no point did I think anyone was getting out of hand. Even when we passed the 15-20 people that were there with their anti choice signs. We chanted "my body, my choice" and they had a spokes woman yell into a megaphone. No arguing, both groups just stuck to their script!

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  5. Wow, Megan--truly amazing and so inspiring! Thank you so much for taking the time/energy to share all your thoughts on the event. I think this was probably so life changing and that you got to share it with your mom is just the best! I am so, so proud of you and all the men, women, children that got out there and marched!

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    1. I hope it was life changing! I know it will hold me accountable to move to the next step and become more politically active. I don't want to be someone who just marches and goes home.

      Sharing the event with my mom was wonderful! I know where I get my gumption from, that is for sure!

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  6. You weren't kidding when you said it was a long post. I'm glad it went well, and that it was peaceful. We can have protests, and different points of view, while still being civilized. Society tends to forget that in this day and age, but the civilized movements gets shit done.

    And I know I'm going to Hell. It's more fun than to sit and stay quiet.

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    1. "the civilized movements gets shit done." <--- Love that!

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  7. I love your passion and intelligence. Not many people have both. My favourite sign by far is "Trump is a fart."

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    1. Thank you so much for saying that Suzy. That means a lot to me. I try REALLY hard to be well informed and I know I can do better. What I really wish I could do is talk in "real life" about these issues with people!

      Trump is a total fart.

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  8. Well written Meg. Thanks for sharing all of this with us. I can feel the passion and power you feel for this cause, and I'm glad you got to stand up for your rights! What an incredible event!! Good idea about the phone numbers on your arm too - I was really concerned about that safety of the event and I'm glad to see it was so peaceful.

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    1. I'm glad I was able to convey my passion. There is a meme I like that says, "Some people mistake passion for crazy. Let me be clear, I am bat shit passionate." :) I was really worried about safety too. I am SO PROUD of everyone there for being peaceful. Thanks for reading! I know it was a long one.

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  9. What an amazing experience this must have been! I was a little nervous to share my running pics from Sat--we were right where the march was taking place in Chicago. It just felt so superficial. I didn't want to participate but I certainly respect you and all the other marchers. My sister marched in NYC. Will all this make a difference? I hope so. My anxiety level is off the charts.

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    1. I hope it makes a difference too. I hope we all go out and do MORE. I bet it was cool to see the march from your run in Chicago. It's funny, I saw some people running in DC on the way back from the march when we were finally out of the craziness!

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  10. It is a very unique bonding experience for you to share with your Mom! and (friends- family??) Some of both right.
    I am not going to post all my thoughts - way too complicated, but I wasn't feeling the love after watching the speeches. I don't want to rain on your parade though!!
    I am glad nothing crazy happened, I worried about safety...I always do.

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    1. Yes, I was with my mom and my friend Andrea. It was great to share the experience with them.

      I wasn't able to see all the speeches because it was just too crowded. The only ones I heard were from CNN that I dvr'ed but unfortunately they didn't carry them all. I would have really liked to have heard Cecille Richards and Gloria Steinen. I will try to youtube. Michael Moore's was really good. He's very pragmatic. Who's speech didn't you like? I did not like Madonna. She really disappointed me with her comment. That was like the ONE dark cloud on the march, in my opinion. Her expletives didn't offend me because... hey, you know me and my mouth! But the blow up the White House thing... I know she was being hyperbolic but you just don't SAY THAT at something like this.

      I am so glad everything was peaceful! I worry about safety as well.

      Karen, you should share your thoughts and feelings! You wouldn't rain on my parade. I put all my thoughts and opinions out there with full knowledge that everyone who reads may not feel the same way. I am okay with that. One of the reasons I have my blog is to share ideas and perspectives with readers. Speak up, friend!

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    2. One of these days I may find a way to get my thoughts out there, but I also like to take stuff in slow and mull it over a bit. Sometimes something hits me all wrong that may not be as bad as I thought later.
      I thought Madonna was a jerk but sadly, I expected that! What I didn't expect was Ashley Judd, I was actually kind of nauseated for some of it... I just have a hard time with all the labeling. It became fairly clear that either you agree 100% or you are completely useless and part of the problem and I don't believe that at all.
      I also do not understand how anyone could feel an abortion is a right. Pursuit of life, liberty, freedom of thought, the right to be safe, all inalienable, but abortion is a medical procedure not a right. It is legal but i could not do it. However, i judge no one and when it became legal and I would never protest or try to block anyone from obtaining that procedure. I do not enjoy extremist, obviously it is not part of my make up. I understand women wanted the choice, but to me I see so many other things that are huge problems.
      The procedure became legal when i was young and I respect that in the process of a democracy some things will come to pass you strongly wish had not.
      As I was looking through clips and speeches I saw that was a huge reason people felt the need to march...and I just don't feel passionate about that issue and that it is needed to make me feel "free". There 9,000000 other things I could say but that is all the opinion stuff I got for today lol

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    3. I am sure someone will feel the need to blast me, lecture me, or give me a million reasons why i am wrong, but please save your energy... I am only sharing my reason why I didn't feel like i fit in with this particular march.

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    4. Thank you for sharing, Karen! I didn't hear Ashley Judd's speech but now I feel like I need to. I definitely understand what you mean about wanting to mull things over. There is a blog post I have been writing in my head for like 3 weeks now and it keeps changing (because I am calming down) and I can tell you I am SO GLAD I didn't write it all out because my thoughts changed. I can respect that even though you personally feel abortion is wrong, that you don't judge others or try to take that right away from them. (That's the sense I got from your comment, so correct me if I am wrong!)

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  11. I'm glad the march went so well Meg! I was hoping it would be peaceful and I'm glad to hear it was. How cool to have you mom there. When Wendy and I were in Chicago there were a couple handfuls of people headed to march but I don't think it actually got going until after we left.

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    1. That's what she said! Very cool you got to see some of it.

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  12. I read this whole thing yesterday and then bookmarked it to read again and comment. You did such a good job organizing your thoughts here and breaking down the events of the day AND the emotional side AND the need/reason for political action. This was such a great recap of the march and really captured why we all did it.

    At any point did you just stop and look around and go "holy shit this is actually amazing!"? When I pause to think about how well organized and totally positive it was, I am just floored. Women can do great things, especially when we all work together!

    I watched a segment with Sarsour and Steinem on MSN (I think) the other day and it was just so uplifting. She seems to have some big ideas and the organizers of all the sister marches are helping so I'm hopeful we'll get things done!

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    1. Wow thank you, I worried so much about getting everything out correctly. I'm glad you thought it was a good recap because I value your opinion, Ms. English Teacher! :)

      YES I did look around all the time and said WOW... especially when we were looking at the capitol and everyone just POURING in. :)

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  13. That is so awesome that you got to go to the actual march in Washington! Our local was the biggest event to happen in our downtown ever. I was so amazed at the crowd size. I didn't even realize that we have that many people living in our county! I often feel like I am in a little bubble world here in Northern California where everyone thinks like me, but to see these marches happen everywhere around the WORLD gave me hope that most humans are good and it's the minority that are assholes. I don't even understand how this happened. It's like a bad dream I'm waiting to wake up from.

    My favorite sign, and I think you will appreciate this being a musical theater junkie, said "Keep your filthy paws off my silky drawers!" On the back of that sign it said, "Donald Trump eats pizza with a fork." HAHAHA! I am so proud of all of the women and men who marched last weekend. I am so proud of the people who continue to do the hard work. This is only week one.

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    1. I feel like the TWILIGHT zone where I live, so all the different marches comforted me so I knew that there are LOTS of other Americans that find DT dangerous!

      Omg, keepy your filthy paws off my silky drawers... where have I heard that before? I have to google that!

      I am glad you got to go to the march. It's only been a week and I am exhausted... we have to keep up our energy!!!

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