A Presidency Of Perception Can’t Minimize Our March
Pairs well with “Keep Lying,” by Donna Missal
I’ve never put much faith in movie reviews. So much about the consumption of art is based on taste, how could I trust someone else to tell me whether or not I’ll like something? As a kid, someone holding a spoon in my general direction and saying, “it’s good, taste it,” was met with zero trust whatsoever. I always assumed there was something questionable, potentially green on the end of that spoon. I guess it’s always been hard to tell me the way things are, I’ve had to experience them myself to know them.
Three things about yesterday’s events stand out to me. First, the biggest nationwide protest in American History took place. Second, one of the biggest lies ever told from behind the podium in the White House press room took place. (Note: This is an assumption, I have no way to know about the factual accuracy of every press briefing since they began. This one just seems pretty fucking obvious.) And third, our newly sworn-in President tweeted this:
It’s a lot.
As I write this, at 9:00am on Sunday, January 22nd, 2017, the estimated tally for the Women’s Marches in DC, New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles alone totals over 2 million people. Many other American cities held marches as well. We will never have an exact number of Women’s March attendees, only estimates. But we will have photos, lots of them.
Last night, White House press secretary Sean Spicer held a press briefing during which he did not take questions (you know, from the press at a press briefing), where he said these two things, among many others:
“Inaccurate numbers involving crowd size were also tweeted. No one had numbers, because the National Park Service, which controls the National Mall, does not put any out.”
“This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration — period — both in person and around the globe.”
So no one has numbers, but he knows that the inauguration’s audience was the largest ever to witness an inauguration. That sounds like bullshit, Sean. You’re not fooling anyone Sean. You’re a joke now Sean.
And lastly, the day after his inauguration as the 45th President of these United States, Donald Trump made sure to thank Fox News and other outlets for the “GREAT reviews of the speech!” in reference to his inaugural address. The reviews. He’s mentioning the reviews. Not highlighting his message to the American people, but thanking the press (some of the press) for giving him great reviews. Because apparently to our new President, it’s not about what actually happened, it’s about what people think about what actually happened.
Why do I mention these things? Why am I not prepping my work lunches for the week or Swiffer dusting my living room or folding all the clothes on my sacrificial chair? Because in the last several hours it has become clear to me that this Presidency will not be about what is, but what we are told is. We are standing in the rain listening to authority figures remark on the radiant sunshine. This is day three.
We should be scared, alert, and vocal. We shouldn’t just scrunch our faces at the TV like it just farted, as we sit comfortably on our West Elm couches. We should get up. We should talk to each other, ask questions, seek out information, share it, and become a nation of people holding the leaders of it accountable. The trolls are a waste of our time, the truth isn’t.
We should worry when our President cares this much about the public’s perception of him, rather than his own service of the public. We should worry when his Press Secretary tells blatant lies to us, in an effort to glorify an event celebrating our nation’s leader. We do not live in North Korea, but for the briefest of moments, it felt like we did last night.
Those who participated in Women’s Marches across the country (and globe) yesterday do not have to rely on reviews, reports, or perceptions. We were there. We marched, we carried signs, we chanted, we took enough iPhone photos to kill our batteries, and we did it with a crowd of people. An uncomfortably large crowd of people. I believe the technical term is a shitload of people.
It was a march full of women, and honestly the last thing we need to talk about is size. Instead, we need to talk about impact. We did it, we showed up, we were too loud to ignore. I don’t know anything about what comes next, but I do know that a global gathering like this isn’t one you can lie to. We are strong, smart, and watching. Our eyes witness, they do not perceive. We consume information, not misdirection. And we know what they’re holding on the end of that spoon.
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