Word spread quickly, via social media, word of mouth, and flyers in the usual places, that Vineyarders would rally at Waban Park, Oak Bluffs, at 3:30 p.m., Saturday, November 19.
That was yesterday. Of course I went, knowing almost nothing about who was organizing it. The knowledge that feeling was returning to our collective limbs was more than enough. I’m ready to get moving again.
“We Stand Together: In Solidarity, Resistance, and Resolve” was the theme.
The crowd of about 250–300 was as multi-generational as you can get. The youngest participant I met couldn’t have been more than a month or two old. At the other end of the age spectrum were those in their sixties, seventies, and eighties, many veterans of earlier demonstrations and others new to the game. Rose Styron was one of the speakers. She’s around 87.
The signs, multitudinous and all handmade, were among the best I’ve seen anywhere.
We marched around the park, showing our signs and meet-and-greeting each other, then gathered to hear several speakers. Most were connected to the school system, particularly the high school, where efforts are already proceeding to reassure and protect those most threatened by the rhetoric of the Trump campaign and the likely policies of the incoming Trump administration. (Gawd, I hate saying that out loud.)
The tone was firmly opposed to that rhetoric and those policies but opposed also to demonizing Trump voters, many of whom felt they had no other choice. With Thanksgiving coming up fast, plenty of family relationships and friendships are likely to be put to the test.
As dark fell, we lit candles, struggling to keep them lit in the strong breeze off Vineyard Sound, and sang a few songs.
Along with seeing a bunch of people I knew and even more that I didn’t, the event introduced me to an ongoing organizing effort that meets on Sunday afternoons at the West Tisbury library. There are at least two Facebook groups exploring ways to act in response to the many fault lines exposed by the presidential election campaign: We Stand Together / Estamos Todos Juntos and MV Pantsuit Nation. As of yesterday the groups weren’t well acquainted with each other, but I think that’s going to change.
“The tone was firmly opposed to that rhetoric [of the Trump campaign] and those policies but opposed also to demonizing Trump voters, many of whom felt they had no other choice.”
This is critical. Too many of my friends are ready to declare all Trump voters as racist misogynists. In that way, they’r be no better than Romney, who was willing to write off 47 percent of the electorate.
I think this is what made Bernie Sanders such a draw for many — his honest-seeming approach to change through grass-roots action. None of us wants to have to take the time to slog through the political swamps, but I think what just happened has shown us that if we keep occupying ourselves elsewhere, we will be getting dirty in other much more demanding ways. I applaud your continued passion for grass roots discussions. (And the good thing about cringing, by the way, is that the body is thereafter poised to launch in fight or flight response…guess what time it is?)
LikeLiked by 1 person
Thanks for posting this Susanna. I was unable to attend but glad that you were there.
It was good, and encouraging to know that practical organizing is already going on. And the signs really were great.