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Start The Week With A Good March

January 21, 2017
Written January 22+
Dear Diary, Friends, and Families,

On March 21st, at the age of 70,  I took part in my first street protest.  It was time.

It was a day of protests throughout the nation and the world, nominally in honor of Women's rights, but that was almost-universal code for protests against the newly elected U.S. president (who shall remain nameless -- kind of like how some news programs no longer focus on the perpetrator of mass shooting, only the victims.)  Fresno, at heart a smallish, conservative, farm city, had ours.  It was held outside the strip malls of the prosperous north part of town: Republican country, but decidedly a non-Republican crowd.
Organization seemed pretty ad hoc and undirected.  We attached ourselves to a bunch hanging at the book store Starbucks as signs were being prepared and plans made.  Group photos were completed and then the troupes marched off to the front-line street corner.

Out on the street, actually the sidewalk, the lively crowd organized, more or less, to wave at cars passing the intersection of Blackstone and Nees, the major commercial intersection of this part of town.  Many drivers honked and waved in support, but probably not all.  The negative drivers were simply ignored as the buoyant crowd had little hate or personal animosity showing.  Police crowd control was limited to one friendly guy who shooed me back onto the sidewalk.

Eventually, the sidewalk crowd started moving in a large oval, north on our side of the street, across Blackstone when the pedestrian light allowed, south on the other side, and back across again.  Always following lights.  Always letting shoppers into the parking lots.  For two hours, Fresno protested, in a positive, small-town way.  Pretty impressive, all in all.

But the best part of it all were the signs, mostly hand made, personal, and reflecting sentiments common in parts of America today.

My favorites: "tweet ... with Respect", mendacity (an intellectual crowd indeed), a "pissed-off" grandmother, and a young mother marching for and with her baby.

Some signs were more pointed.  Jefferson's words on the need to resist unjust laws was a popular theme.

Other messages called for thinking, impeaching, and a laugh or two.

Kids made some of the most impressive signs, often featuring "Girl Power", in the shadow of Princess Leia's call for resistance.

So, now that we have started some political activism, maybe we will indeed join The Resistance.  You?

John and Marianne


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