“If I Can’t Dance, I Don’t Want To Be Part of Your Revolution”—Emma GoldmanEmma Goldman said it best. She also said, “I’d rather have roses on my table than diamonds around my neck.”
As we head into the great protests that will surround, submerge and define the inauguration—more charter buses for protesters have applied for parking tickets in Washington than charter buses for attendees—we must never forget Goldman’s admonition.
This inauguration ushers in four years of the most dangerous threats to our liberties that I have seen in my lifetime.
I never thought it would happen. But now it has—and the gravity of the threat may rob of us our ability to dance.
They win when we lose our smiles and shuffle instead of dancing.
Armando Lara’s Corn Mother, who has hung under my portale for years, swinging with wind, treated to snow and rain baths, has just been renovated and given a new dance dress as well as new painted hands and feet.
Behind her mask, we can see her smile.
Let’s all smile, then, as we recognize that the violence of this backlash represents the enormous progress we women have made in the past century.
No social movement can be said to have succeeded until it weathers the inevitable storm of fear and anger it arouses.
Not all of it, by any means.
But it is no longer enough to be born white and male to be ensured of life-long employment at a good wage, and a well-funded retirement.
That entitlement had a long life, and created in some of its beneficiaries the belief that they had earned the emoluments which, in fact, were the fruit of inequality, not merit.
Now the tidal wave of anger is upon us.
And so we are gathering in most of the cities and towns in this country, and, spectacularly, in Washington, DC, for the Million Women March. Expect the numbers to be disputed by the press which has just today begun to call the Affordable Health Care Act by its real name rather than by the Republican-coined nickname, Obamacare—which helped to drain it of support. But—that support, missing all these years, is now flooding back when the Act is about to be repealed by the new Republican administration. Maybe calling it by its correct name helped.
Expect our marches not to receive the front page reports or the photos they will deserve. We’ll have to depend on the participants to provide these.
And, if Mr. Trump is allowed to bring his goon squad to the capitol—these are the men who are now replacing the Secret Service around Trump Tower, and who routinely roughed up and expelled demonstrators during rallies—there will be violence.
Look at what happened to British suffragists in BuzzFeed’s “Twenty-Eight Powerful Photographs of Women Fighting For Their Rights.” American suffragists were jailed and force-fed during their struggles for the vote.
And look at what happened to demonstrators on the Selma to Montgomery march—fire hoses, police dogs, manhandling and jail.
I wonder if news photos (if they appear) of women being violently attacked by Trump’s security guards would elicit any sense of outrage on the part of the people who voted for him—especially the many white women.
After all, the president-elect boasted during the campaign that even if he shot someone dead on Fifth Avenue, it wouldn’t affect his popularity.
Perhaps it would have—if he had shot a dog.
[For more on recent protests, please read a post on the “Writer’s Resist” event in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico from my friend and fellow author, Bonnie Lee Black.
We will be hosting a Ghostlight Project event in front of our theater on Thursday, January 19 at 5:30pm. Ghostlight Project is a collective begun by several leading members of the theatrical community to acknowledge theaters as safe, inclusive spaces. On December 19th we will serve as a host theater for a nationwide action intended to “create “light” for challenging times ahead”. Fingers crossed that you can join–come at 5:15 with a charged phone and warmed up vocal chords! Location: McGinn/Cazale Theatre, 2162 Broadway at 76th Street, New York, NY 10024.]