Just a thought… Trust me, Wilbur. People are very gullible. They’ll believe anything they see in print. [E.B. White, Charlotte’s Web]
I’m still feeling a glow from that weekend in Seattle and the most surprising element of it all: the empowerment that came from joining in a sea of pink hats and clever signs and taking to the streets of a city that wasn’t my own, but that welcomed Rob and me to take part in the Women’s March on Saturday.
Maybe those are the most memorable events in our lives: the ones that pop up and surprise you. The comedy show we went to see on Sunday night was all we’d hoped for; Lewis Black was profound, profane and very, very funny. We did have more than a few minutes of “oh, no…” when there were not one, but two opening acts. We’d figured with Mr. Black taking the stage at 7, we’d be out by 9 at the latest and have plenty of time to get to the airport for our 10:45 pm boarding.
There was a huge long intermission after the second warmup and then the TV comic, playwright and actor (you may have seen him in Big Bang Theory, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, among numerous other appearances) finally took the stage. As soon as he took his bows at around 9:30, we dashed up the dark aisle to get out and jog the four blocks to our hotel where we retrieved our bags and hopped into a cab.
But that was only the beginning of yet another adventure, as a trollish older man drove us in his well-worn-out yellow cab the twenty minutes to SeaTac. As the car’s hot smell began to rise and I wondered if we’d be stranded at the roadside, its driver began telling us about all of the drugs at the top of the tech industry (he says he’d driven a Google exec who was obviously on “illicit drugs,” how hemp oil hooked people and then got them on cocaine and meth, how Supreme Court Judge Scalia’s death should have been looked into more closely by the Republicans, how Germany wants to take over the world while the US wants to be like Denmark….
I engaged in the conversation, trying to point out other sides to some of the ideas he was espousing, but I knew there was no point. This guy was getting his “facts” from Fox News or Alex Jones and Info Wars (or worse) and there wasn’t going to be any real discussion here.
Sometimes just reading the comments on political articles, I get the feeling there are a lot of people out there like this man – and not just in the US, either – and the internet just feeds their strange ideas and theories. I mean, when a commentator comes on Fox saying that the massacre in Las Vegas might have Isis ties – and you know people (including the American president) treat what’s on that station as gospel – how do you even fight that?
Instead, you raise your voice and march. Did the hundreds of similar demonstrations around the world on Saturday and Sunday make any difference? I know change won’t come today or tomorrow, but we’re building yet another generation of strong young women and men who know that things need to change and that the status quo isn’t good enough. I overheard a little girl holding her daddy’s hand as her mother held a toddler in her arms. As they walked behind me, the girl asked her dad, “Why is everyone wearing pink?”
I struggled to hear his answer and was ultimately unable. But here’s the short version of what I would have told Lauren: it’s because there are things that are happening to girls and women that are unfair here and around the world. And because pink is a colour that’s long been associated with girls, they’re wearing it to show that they’re all sisters and that they’re stronger together, helping each other.
That’s sure how it felt. Tomorrow: helping to heal what we miss about Toronto by taking in some theatre.