Black Lives Matter Plaza, November 8th, 2020

On Saturday, when the news outlets called the Presidential race for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, thousands of people flooded into downtown DC. They came in by car and by metro, gathering in celebration at Black Lives Matters Plaza.

I wasn’t there. I saw pictures of the crowds later, and I saw the traffic going into the city as I drove past it in the other direction on my way to Maryland. Why did I go to Maryland? You’ll have to wait until Wednesday’s post for the answer to that question.

Nevertheless, I was really curious to see what it was like in person though, so I went the very next day, on Sunday the 8th of November. I took the Metro to McPherson Square, which put me back on the street only about a block or so away from all the hubbub. It was not as shoulder-to-shoulder crowded as the news showed it on Saturday, but it was a warm and sunny day and people were still coming by to see. Also there were a lot of reporters doing reporter things. I walked past a guy with a Reuters camera a bunch of times, so if any of you see me in news footage of the day, please let me know.

Some people held up protest signs, some were just there like me to see it in person. A lot of people were there with their children, showing them history in progress.

Here’s something I never realized about Black Lives Matter Plaza before- it’s gigantic. The painted letters are two full blocks long. In the pictures below, I was standing at the intersection of BLM Plaza with I Street NW. In the first picture, I’m looking north. That’s where the street says BLACK LIVES. The second picture is looking south, toward the White House, and that’s where it says MATTER. I didn’t truly realize just how enormous those painted letters really were until I was standing on top of one.

At one point, I put my phone camera right up to the opening in the chain-link fence that runs along H Street. This is as close as you can get to the People’s House right now, and this is two full blocks away as seen through a zoom lens. Pennsylvania Avenue has been closed off since the protests last summer, and Lafayette Square remains fenced off so nobody can come in.

Speaking of that chain link fence, it was just absolutely covered in protest signs, posters, and artwork for most of the distance between 15th Street and 17th Street, anywhere it touched Lafayette Square.

I’m going to skip my usual thing where I intersperse all the photos with commentary and interesting factoids because I don’t think any commentary is really needed here. No context is missing, and no subtle background details need to be filled in.

These are the protest signs of an angry, stressed out, massively divided country finally allowing itself the chance to have a small sigh of relief. I didn’t see a single pro-Trump thing all day until I got back home and looked at Twitter again.

Enjoy the photos, friends.

Did you see any interesting celebrations this weekend where you live?

30/52 (and 9 of 30!)

Feelin’ Blue (Musings on a Trump Presidency)

I’ve been positively sick and despondent about the election results ever since I woke up on Wednesday morning to find my phone full of incredulous WTF messages from my German friends.   I almost rage-quit my blog out of the intense feeling that I would never have anything to say again-  my faith in our country was that shaken.

But then I saw a bunch of news about the things that are going on, and I feel like I need to say a thing.

To all the #notmypresident protesters. To all the disgruntled Bernie-Bros.   He is our President now. For all of us, not just the Red States.   Half of our country may have voted against him, but the peaceful transfer of the Presidency is part of what makes us America.  Let it go, and choose your battles carefully for the next four years.   This fight is already over.  It’s time to move on to the next challenge.

To all those talking about leaving the country.  Don’t. If you don’t like what this is going to become, stick around and fight. And vote in Democrats at the midterm. And vote in a Democrat four years from now.  And subscribe to your local newspaper, even if you don’t plan on reading it-  we need those reporters to keep tabs on what a Trump White House is up to.

I saw a picture of the electoral map as voted by people in the 18-25 age bracket, and it gives me hope.  This is our future:

18-25map

To all the rampaging bigots who are taking this election as carte blanche to be hateful, a hearty hi ho fuck you.  There are already reports of nasty behavior and intimidation to blacks, muslims, trans folk, and pretty much everyone who isn’t white.  To the alleged perpetrators, get over yourselves.  A Trump presidency doesn’t negate your obligation to be a decent human being.  Stop it.  Just play nice with everyone else.

Ann Coulter said this thing:

…and she missed the point.  She missed the point by a LOT.

There aren’t that many people in this country who have four natural-born grandparents.    I’m a second generation American myself-  only two of my four grandparents were born in the US.  I think that’s true of a great many people, because the country really isn’t that old.  240 years is not a long time when you’re talking about multiple generations.  But I digress… my point in bringing up Ann Coulter is that she missed the point because we’re the United States of America, even if right now it feels like we’re anything but.

My country’s better angels are all about inclusion and adaptation.

My $.02: I am not a Trump supporter. I despise everything he said during his campaign.  I find him to be a misogynist, a bigot and a bully.

However,  he’s our President now, and we have to deal with that. We made it through eight years of Dubya (who seems positively mild by comparison), and we’ll make it through this.  Maybe he’ll turn out to be an OK President- not evil so much as just mildly ineffective.  Maybe he’s the guy that will finally actually unite us all.  I kinda doubt that last one, but I live in hope.

Fellow Blue-State people, we have to accept that this is a done deal and move on.  For my part, I will continue to advocate and fight for minorities, GLBTQ people, and people of all faiths.  Even the ones I think are boogety-woogety nonsense.  (Hint: That’s all of ’em.  I don’t have to share your beliefs to fight for them.)

Besides, now that Sarah Palin is reportedly being considered for a Cabinet position, the late night talk show comedians are going to have a field day.  I mean, what’s next, Michele Bachmann as Secretary of State?

Editor’s Note:  I’m attempting to blog every day in November with CheerPeppers.  I don’t expect to succeed because life be crazy, but any blogging in excess of my previous post-free month is a win, right?