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Sunday, January 22, 2017

The first counter-offensive of The Resistance

by digby

Los Angeles, January 21, 2017

A few random tweets from yesterday:

It's been raining here in LA for days (thank goodness) and it is again right now. But yesterday the skies cleared and it was beautiful and sunny and cool. And they say something like 750,000 people showed up, which I believe. It was massive. And it was beautiful. The streets were filled with out and proud feminists and decent people of all stripes to make a strong but peaceful statement against the odious new leadership in Washington DC.

But it wasn't just in the cities like mine. This thing brought out people all over the world, even in Trump country:

Michelle Barton wishes she could be part of a big women's march on Saturday, but she lives in the tiny town of Longville, Minn.

"I thought OK, I'll just see what happens if I create my own march," she said. "It was kind of a lark."

Barton went to the Women's March website and signed up to host her own. She got out some tagboard and markers.

"My hope was that some people might join me," she said. "I have a very active imagination, so my worst case scenario was people driving by and taking pot shots at me."

Barton and her family moved from Denver to Minnesota in June, after her husband had a series of strokes and had to stop working. The cost of living in Longville is lower.

But the transition to living in a conservative rural town of less than 200 hasn't been easy.

Moving in the middle of a contentious election didn't help. She overheard people in local businesses talking politics. Mostly they supported President Donald Trump, who won Cass County.

Once she saw a guy wearing a T-shirt with an AK-47 on it. "It said, 'Over my dead body,'" she recalled. "That's a little bit of a culture shock for us."

• Related: In rural Minnesota, high hopes for President Trump

Barton retired from the Denver library system and she spends her days caring for her husband. She can't leave him alone long enough to drive to the closest women's marches in Bemidji and Fargo.

In the last six months, she's been trying to understand her new surroundings like any good librarian would, with books.

"Of course I read 'Hillbilly Elegy.'" she said. "That's extremely popular right now, and it's very interesting."

She hopes a march, even a very small one, might open up a conversation about equality.

Until very recently, Barton thought she'd be marching alone. She was fine with that, but a few days ago a total stranger saw her event on Facebook and said she'd stop by with her sister on their way through town.

But on Saturday, 66 people from Longville and nearby towns showed up to walk with Barton.

Lori Burks signed up via the website Friday night, and expected to be one of two marchers. When Burks got there, she said people looked at each other, amazed at the turnout in the area notorious for being quiet in the winter.

The marchers carried signs reading, "Love," and "Bridges, not walls."

Now that is amazing. And it means something. You don't get people off the couch for a protest against the right wing in places like that, or anywhere, for no reason.

People asked me yesterday what I thought it was all about. And in my mind it was a very simple thing. It was the first major action of a spontaneous, peaceful counter-offensive against Donald Trump's white nationalist, authoritarian regime. That this first action of the Resistance was led by women was not surprising because Donald Trump's egregious assaults on basic, human decency comes at the expense of fully half the population, encompassing people of color and racial and ethnic minorities, all of whom were represented.

This march took place on the day after the inauguration because it was a spontaneous reaction to the election of an unfit, unreconstructed misogynist pig, under dubious circumstances, against the first woman nominee for president. It was the slap heard 'round the world. But he is about to slap a whole lot of other people, for other reasons.

It's just the beginning, sadly because Donald Trump is just beginning. The Resistance has officially begun, folks.

Check out all these pictures from around the world. It is amazing.