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Hullabaloo


Sunday, January 22, 2017

 

Worldwide women's marches "unpresidented"

by Tom Sullivan

White House press secretary Sean Spicer near-shouted at the press room yesterday that the Donald Trump inauguration was "the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period." Contradicting all data, CNN added. Maybe he was referring to the largest crowd to ever protest an inauguration.

Millions of people poured into the streets Saturday for the Women's March on Washington, the day after Trump's swearing-in ceremony. Sister marches across the country and across the planet drew another quarter million, including 30 in Antarctica.

The online headline for Trump's new hometown newspaper this morning says "more than one million" protested worldwide. True, but understated. An unscientific tally by University of Connecticut professor Jeremy Pressman and Erica Chenoweth of the University of Denver estimates between 3.7 and 4.5 million turned out in the United States alone. If so, far more people protested Trump Saturday than the 2.9 million vote margin by which he lost the popular vote. One Twitter user observed, "It took years for the opposition to Johnson and Nixon to reach this intensity. Trump is feeling it on his first full day in office."

In Washington, 500,000. In New York, 400,000. In Chicago, 250,000. In Los Angeles, 500,000. "Welcome to your first day, we will never go away," some protesters chanted in the streets of Washington, D.C. late into the afternoon.

The Independent of London reported:

Organisers of the Women’s March on Washington had hoped that up to 200,000 people would come. In the end, officials estimated that 500,000 or more showed up – far larger than the crowds who attended Donald Trump’s inauguration the day before, and so big that officials were obliged to change the route and rule out a march towards the White House.

[...]

“We march today for the moral core of this nation, against which our new president is waging a war,” said actress America Ferrera.

“Our dignity, our character, our rights have all been under attack, and a platform of hate and division assumed power yesterday. But the president is not America. We are America, and we are here to stay.”
The London March drew "close to 100,000."

A collection of signs from the Washington march Dana Milbank assembled made it clear the march was largely about Donald Trump:
  • #FreeMelania
  • No Country for Dirty Old Men
  • Sad!
  • Resistance is Fertile
  • Too Worried to be Funny
  • If Mom’s Not Happy, Nobody’s Happy
  • I Have a Vagenda
  • Manchurine Candidate
  • Orange Is the New Fascism
Steve Lopez of the Los Angeles Times admits many of the signs in evidence in Los Angeles were unfit to print, but offered this selection:
  • We Shall Overcomb
  • Make America Think Again
  • Think Outside My Box
  • IKEA Has Better Cabinets
  • Did You Remember To Set Your Clocks Back 60 Years Last Night?
  • Tweet All People Kindly
One Twitter user criticized marchers as elitists able to afford a trip to Washington while while Donald Trump supporters are "everyday Americans." Yet many of the over 350 American protests tracked by Pressman and Chenoweth are in cities far from both coasts in smaller cities that also turned out thousands: Helena, MT; Grand Junction, CO; Santa Fe, NM; Traverse City, MI; Champaign, IL; Oxford, MS.

Trump White House decrees size matters

One would think the narcissist-in-chief would be pleased to get that much attention focused on him. Instead, in a visit to CIA headquarters Trump launched into an attack on the press coverage of his inauguration speech:

During his remarks on Saturday, Trump took the opportunity to blast the media for their coverage of the inauguration, accusing news networks of lying about the size of the crowd that attended the event.

"Honestly it looked like a million and half people, whatever it was it was. But it went all the way back to the Washington Monument ... and by mistake I get this network and it showed an empty field, and it said we drew 250,000 people. Now that's not bad, but its a lie," Trump said.
Trump's speech troubled the agency's former director, John Brennan:
"Former CIA Director Brennan is deeply saddened and angered at Donald Trump's despicable display of self-aggrandizement in front of CIA's Memorial Wall of Agency heroes," Nick Shapiro, a former aide to John Brennan at CIA, told NBC News' Andrea Mitchell.
Besides his other comments about size, Trump spokesman Sean Spicer lashed out at the press claiming press agencies had "intentionally framed" photos to misinform the public about the size of Trump's audience. You don't have to be unhinged to join the Trump administration, but it helps:
He also expressed objections to specific Twitter posts from journalists. And he said, "we're going to hold the press accountable," partly by reaching the public through social networking sites.

His statement included several specific misstatements of fact in addition to the overarching one.

"This is the first time in our nation's history that floor coverings have been used to protect the grass on the Mall," Spicer said, claiming that this "had the effect of highlighting areas people were not standing whereas in years past the grass eliminated this visual."

In fact, coverings were used for Obama's second inauguration in 2013.

One would think a crew with so much practice at lying would be better at it. And speaking of overarching matters, if the Trump administration will lie this angrily about crowd size, what won't it lie about?

Michael Cohen ("American Maelstrom") observes, "The most direct political impact of today's march is that it'll make it that much harder for Democrats to cooperate with Trump." That is, if the party's elite are not just as tone deaf as Trump. It will take persistence and constant pressure on electeds to punch through the culture of Washington business-as-usual. One day of marching is not change, but can set the stage for it. It was inspirational enough.

Now comes the hard part for the resistance: keeping it going.