January 21, 2017by Jane Lancellotti
There was no way of knowing how many would answer the call to march in Washington, DC, on the Saturday after the inauguration. I was only certain that crowds frighten me. My group of eight—two of us well seasoned, plus three lifelong college pals in their thirties, a pair of young women from Nebraska, and my daughter, a sophomore at Barnard—found our way to the Metro in Alexandria at eight in the morning, early for the ten o’clock program but a strategy for getting up close to speakers and feminist heroes like Gloria Steinem. We were warmly dressed, selfie-ready in our pink pussyhats knitted in the weeks before, health bars in our pockets, and signs in our hands: “Power to the Peaceful,” “Keep Your Small Hands off My Reproductive Rights,” and “Fingers Crossed for the Country. Legs Crossed for Trump.” At every stop, more people in pussyhats with more signs got on. Inside the train we pressed against one another. Someone started a chorus of “This Land Is Your Land,” the obvious choice, a kind of rehearsal for the patriotic upwelling to come. We all joined in, eager to show our solidarity. At our stop, two blocks from the National Mall, the platform of Plaza l’Enfant was jammed. Escalators had been turned off, already inadequate to the task of transporting so many from the underground to the street. The procession was slow. The day was damp, and the sky a colorless backdrop to the fruity pink- and rose-colored heads that gave such a lift to the heart. Every one of them was a joke at the expense of the new guy in the White House, the reality star who could dish it out but couldn’t take it.
Our plan to find the stage proved immediately futile—the crowd size even at this early hour was unnerving—and the idea of getting coffee, pure folly. Yet laughter came more easily than at any other time since the election. We were hitting back hard with humor, a how-do-you-like-them-apples approach. “We Shall Overcomb!” “Think Outside My Box!” “If I wanted my government inside my womb, I’d fuck a senator.”