A fire ignited
So, uh. How about that?
Yesterday morning, Two hundred and fifty thousand people made their way to downtown Chicago, by Metra, CTA, or - god save them - Uber. Oh man, those poor Uber drivers downtown. I hope they got a clandestine tip for their efforts. Two hundred and fifty thousand. At the beginning of the week the estimate was 25k. By Friday the estimate had grown to 50k and as we were taking the train down at 8 that morning, we heard 75k. Turns out, we all suck as estimating the outrage of the progressive Chicagoan.
My family and I, including my three kids, took the Brown Line down from Lincoln Square and met up with about ten other members of Indivisible Chicago. Dozens of other members of the group were also down at the march, marching with friends and loved ones. My son, who's four, was nervous and asked if all of Chicago would be down there. I assured him, no, it will be crowded but it won't be the whole city. Turns out, okay fine, he was pretty close to right.
We found a little area against a fence where my kids could sit down (sandbags make a great little couch) and we formed a protective circle around them, hunkering down into listen to the rally as best we could. Honestly, we couldn't hear much of the rally, but that was okay. The energy of the crowd alone was enough to lift our spirits and bring the excitement. As the time for marching grew closer, word filtered down that the march was cancelled because there were just too damn many of us. Hey, how about that! We broke the march!
We decided to shuffle our kids out of the fray at that point. Lord knows the moving was going to be slow. We headed south towards Congress, and then west to Michigan. And what did we find? A march. You couldn't hold Chicago back. Your march was cancelled? We made our own. So we joined the march because, hey, we came to march and that's just what we'd do. The crowds were raucous but non-violent, the exact protest a buffoon like our president deserves. It was stunning. A big shout out to the Chicago PD for just letting us roll.
Later, watching the coverage, I saw that a former aide in the Obama White House had expressed his fears. He worried that the act of marching would sate the activist desire in too many. Much as people are satisfied with being active on social media, only to balk at real-life action, he worried marchers will say "did that. Showed Trump. Hey, did you hear "This is Life" was renewed?". And I've got to say, that's always a worry I have. It's so much harder to put in the work on a daily basis. It's requires a presence of mind to follow the issues and call every day, to stay on your Representatives.
And so, yeah. I understood the worry. But then I woke up this morning and checked my email. After I went to bed (and it's possible I went to bed at 9 on a Saturday night, although I can't confirm that), 200 people signed up for Indivisible Chicago. Two hundred. We average between 20 and 30 people signing up, and in an 8 hour span, we got 200. So do I think the march quenched people's desire for activism? Their desire to resist our President's lies, his assaults on first amendment rights, his hate?
I do not. I do not see a populous satisfied, I see a fire stoked, a passion ignited.
And I see people ready for the next step forward. I see people ready to fight.
Ready to resist