Democracy on Display
To the Editor:
Along with many other women and a few men, I went to Washington on Jan. 21 for the Women’s March on Washington. I have seen varied reaction to the march online, on the news and on Facebook. I want to give you one woman’s experience.
It started at 5 a.m. with the bus trip to Washington that was organized by the New Jersey Organizing Project. Our final stop was in College Park, Md. We couldn’t get any closer to D.C. than that. The plan was to hop on the Metro and go to the March site. The line for Metro tickets was a mile long, literally thousands of people. Everyone took the wait with a good attitude and laughed and got to know the other people in line.
After 50 minutes of standing on line, a very nice woman came to our section of the line and said she had two extra Metro tickets and was there any group of two? I was with another LBI lady, an acquaintance, and we got the tickets. As we left the line, the other people in line cheered for us. Mind you, they had at least another 30 to 45 minutes before they could get tickets and they cheered for us. I realized then how special this day was.
We got on the train and as we entered, again more cheers. In fact, at every stop, as more and more people got on the train, everyone cheered and clapped – not something you see on a subway. The train trip took a while and people began singing. Songs like “We Shall Overcome” and Katy Perry’s “Roar” rang out. It was really great.
We finally got off the train two stops before we were supposed to because the last two stops were closed. They couldn’t handle any more people. We got off and immediately found ourselves in a sea of people: women, men, lots of children, gay, straight, Muslim, old, young, babies and lots of strollers. We began marching with lots of signs, pink hats and chanting. The most popular chant and the most on point was “This is what democracy looks like.”
By the time we finally got to the mall, all the speeches were over and in fact we only spent 30 minutes there and had to turn around and go back. We saw John Kerry interacting with the crowd as he walked his dog.
All day was a real hoot. Everyone was respectful and considerate of each other. There was a sense of purpose and a real sense of community. We were united and shared the same values. Smiles, laughing and cheering were the orders of the day. There was such irrepressible good will and energy.
The next day the New York Times used the word jubilant to describe the march and the marchers, and that is the perfect word for it. I will never forget it and am so glad that I was there.
That is what democracy looks like. Truly.