Here's my completely idiosyncratic take on Saturday's march in D.C. First, the good news: about half a million people showed up. Now the bad news: about half a million people showed up.
After a ride on the D.C. metro that reminded me of the worst rush-hour crush on the NYC subway, my son and daughter and I arrived near the site of the march at about 9 a.m. and followed the throng to what we assumed would be a decent viewing area, since nothing was scheduled to start until 10. By 10:30 or so we realized that the speeches had begun but that we could see or hear nothing of them. The signs people were holding up around us were great, though. "I'm With Her," and arrows pointing in every direction. "America: What Were You Thinking??" "Why Are You So Obsessed With My Uterus?" Maya Angelou quotes everywhere. A small girl on her father's shoulders, wearing a cape that read "Not Up for Grabs."
We had little space to move around and no idea where to go even if we could, so at 11 or so we left the march site to get something to eat. We returned an hour or so later and stood around, waiting for the march to get going. At some point we realized that we were being funneled in a particular direction, but had no idea why. Then at about 1:30 the people around us began walking to, and then up, Pennsylvania Avenue, and we followed along. The march was fun, partly because it was such a relief to get moving, but more because it felt empowering to be among hundreds of thousands of people who were so determined to resist the pseudo-election of our pseudo-president and his very real, very threatening agenda and appointments.
Most of the marchers were women - elderly women with walkers and canes (one of my favorite signs was "I marched in the 60s and now I'm marching in MY 60s"); middle-aged women in clusters, representing states up and down the East Coast as well as other regions of the country; young mothers with babies strapped to their chests or toddlers hoisted on their shoulders; knots of millennials focused on climate change and reproductive rights. But men were well represented too, many of them carrying signs that said things like "Quality Men Are Not Threatened By Equality."
One sign I didn't see, but which my son told me about, really struck a chord with me: "Things Have Gotten So Bad, Even the Introverts Are Out Here!" Indeed. I'm so glad I had my kids with me for protection; they made me feel less overwhelmed.
But now the marches are over and we need to turn to the question of what we can do next. Which brings me to the secret project I've been hinting about. It's no longer secret, but it might also be no longer viable, which is where YOU come in! My friend Julie, who designs websites and video games for a living, came up with the brilliant idea of creating a free app to make it incredibly easy for young people to become politically active via their phones. Here's how it works: the user will check off boxes to indicate the issues which are most important to them. The app will then send them an alert when a vote on a bill involving one of those issues is pending a vote in the House of Representatives. It will give the user contact info for his or her Representative, and provide a sample script for a phone call to the congressional office. That's basically it. Beautifully simple. The idea is that, until we can recruit other volunteers to help, Julie does all the tech stuff and I monitor pending bills and write short blurbs about them.
Here's the problem. We have zero seed money. It costs money to develop apps, and so far Julie has financed everything by taking the money out of her savings. We're now at a point where the app development is on hold, and we need some kind of assurance that it will have a following before we proceed with development. Bottom line: we don't want to start a crowdfunding campaign until we have a reasonable number of followers first. If the app sounds like a good/great idea to you, could you please show your support by following the Facebook page, facebook.com/CalltoActionApp, and/or the Twitter account, @calltoactionapp? I want so badly to get this thing off the ground, and very soon, but we need supporters. Please help, and please tell your friends to help too! I will be eternally grateful. Thank you!!!