Silver City, New Mexico is the boyhood home of Billy The Kid. It has a population of 10,000. Fifteen years ago, when I asked my father-in-law why he moved here, he replied longitude, latitude, altitude (5,999 ft.) and attitude. On the day of The Women’s March, I saw what he meant by attitude.
I had considered joining the local marchers, but when I woke up Saturday morning it was snowing with a temperature in the 20’s. I pushed the dogs out to pee and headed back to bed before they could beg for treats.
Why should I go out and risk slipping on the ice? What kind of lunatic would even show up on a miserable day like this? And what difference would it make? Who cares about the actions of a few dozen people in an out of the way village with no major airport?
Just as I was easing back into dreamland, my phone rang. It was an extremely annoying activist friend saying she and her husband looked forward to seeing me at the march (actually they called it a “Procession”). The call lasted just long enough to assure I could not return to my dream of being buried in an avalanche of pies and having to eat my way out (Dr. King had his dream, I have mine).
Just to prevent my friends from experiencing moral superiority, I put on most of the clothes I own and headed out into the storm. By the time I had purchased my Latte at Javalina coffee shop, word reached me that the marchers had already left the little hill outside of town and were about to hit Main Street.
I heard them before I saw them. “Impressive,” I thought. I hadn’t expected 25 or so marchers to chant and sing so loudly. When they turned left off Broadway onto Bullard, I got a real shock. Instead of a few dozen, 500-600 committed souls made the turn, emitting so much energy I found myself actually jogging to join them.
Of course there were women’s rights signs. But there were also LGBT banners; artwork for environmental causes; a strong showing by those advocating humane treatment of immigrants; and many others. My fellow processionists and I were literally giddy with joy. The snow turned to hail. We proceeded onward. The wind rose from 20 mph to 35. We proceeded onward. Half of us got too hoarse to chant. We proceeded onward.
Even folks along the route who did not agree with us politically waved and smiled.
I suppose partying our way through a blizzard for what they saw as “no good reason,” confirmed their suspicions about our judgment and our sanity.
“Exhilarating” is the only word for it. Most of us had been living in a fog of gloom since Election Day. But gathered together in this unlikely place; in this unlikely weather; with this unlikely coalition – we experienced HOPE. Hope for the first time in months. Hope of the people by the people and for the people.
Thank you Silver City!
James BigBoy Medlin © 2016
James BigBoy Medlin was the sports writer for the original Austin Sun. His column was called "Why Not?"
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