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Wednesday, July 17, 2024

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Home Featured Nothing like this has ever happened before

Nothing like this has ever happened before

The Women's March may be the largest single act of political protest in US history.

Kinda the point.

The scenes from around the world were stunning. I had expected a large turnout – something on the order of the spring protests against Ronald Reagan – but the Women’s March exceeded anything I’ve seen on the streets by a huge margin. Hundreds of thousands of people, from coast to coast. Fifth Avenue packed.

A huge crowd packed the Civic Center -- and even more joined later
A huge crowd packed the Civic Center — and even more joined later. Sana Saleem photo

The quarter million or more in DC more than doubled the record for the most people in an inaugural protest (100,000 against Nixon in 1973) surprised even the organizers. More than half a million in Los Angeles. Events in all 50 states. Overall, this was the biggest outpouring of political action in the streets since the 1960s, and may have been the biggest day of political protest in the nation’s history.

And at the White House, the only comment was that the news media had underreported that number of people at the inauguration, which President (I hate to say this) Trump argued was the largest in history.

Actually, it was a way smaller crowd than the first Obama inauguration, not even in the same league. But truth doesn’t seem to matter anymore. (Trump also told the CIA that the media – “some of the most dishonest people in the world” – had fabricated his “feud” with the intelligence community.

Actually (and I fear we are going to be using that word a lot in the next couple of years) Trump created that feud himself, on Twitter. All the reporters did is quote his tweets.

The scary thing is that a lot of people – and not just Trumpists – will listing to that and say: yeah, the mainstream media is dishonest and can’t be trusted. It’s going to be a problem the next few years; the people who voted for Trump are as critical of the news media as the left used to be, and it’s going to be an ugly world for a while.

It was GW Bush who famously said that “facts are stupid things,” but that’s because he had a little trouble with the language. Trump and his crew, and too many Americans, actually seem to agree.


CNN, of course, tried (and here I am dissing the MSM) to be “objective” by putting on some talking heads who said the rhetoric at the march was “divisive.” Actually, it’s Trump who has been “divisive.” This was remarkably strong and unifying.

Nobody's backing down in SF. Sana Saleem photo
Nobody’s backing down in SF. Sana Saleem photo

But there was an underlying message – and the Democratic Party leadership needs to pay attention. Michael Moore, wearing a San Francisco 49ers cap, noted on CNN that this protest wasn’t just about a Republican in the White House – it was about a Democratic Party that became so linked to corporate America that people lost faith that it could change things.

The fun moment: CNN had to cut off its feed when Madonna took the state in DC and said that if people believe that this March won’t mean anything, then “Fuck You.”


I took BART to the San Francisco March, and I knew the moment that I hit the 24th Street station that something really special was happening.

There was a line up the stairs. The trains were packed. We had to wait about 20 minutes because so many people were getting out a Civic Center that there wasn’t room on the platform for trains to unload.

BART was overwhelmed by the crowds
BART was overwhelmed by the crowds

Credit to BART: Our train operator gave us constant updates, told us exactly what was happening, and kept us informed far better than any airline has ever done when I’ve suffered through delays.

Everyone was headed to the March, and the atmosphere was festive. The Civic Center was packed, so packed that it was hard to hear the speakers. Young women, senior women, and everyone in between, families with little kids, men who supported the women … it was extraordinary.


There will be debates about the size of the crowd, but I have watched a lot of big events in San Francisco, and this was one of the biggest. AT&T Park holds 50,000 people, and I’ve been there for a lot of sellouts, and this was significantly bigger than that crowd. And it was raining.

Kinda the point.
Kinda the point.

Everyone was not only peaceful but polite. As the rain poured down, people helped each other.


I stood along Market Street, starting about 4:45, and watched. And watched. Thirty minutes passed. Sixty minutes passed. The crowd just kept going. More than an hour, and we still hadn’t reached the end.

There was anger, but also hope.


Trump will pretend that this hasn’t happened. But the members of Congress have to notice.

As we heard over and over again today, there were no members of Congress at the early anti-war marches of the 1960s. The people were the leaders; the elected officials came along later.

In this case, we had US Senators Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris addressing the crowds. Rep. Nancy Pelosi was at the march in San Francisco.

And there will be more. Angela Davis proclaimed today that every day of the next four years will be a day of resistance.

No president of the United States in modern history has taken office with this many people in the streets rejecting his policies. This is historic, don’t doubt it for a second: Nothing like this has happened before.

Freida Rafal is 96 and lives in New York. She shared this message
Freida Rafal is 96 and lives in New York. She shared this message

That sentiment has to turn into political action, and it will.

The people in the streets of San Francisco sent a message to Washington. And City Hall should also be paying attention: The Trump agenda is not welcome here.


  1. It’s totally clear we’re outnumbered. That’s why your ilk controls all three branches of government, right?

  2. Political Correctness meaning showing respect to your fellow man/woman will always spark protests? What an interesting concept.

  3. True, protests had little effect on the US terrorists attacks against Iraq cities, but they were extremely effective during the Vietnam War, as the crowds increased in DC protests and violence shot up around the US. Food for thought.

  4. I brought my two daughters and two other young girls there and it was so crowded we left early. But all four of them were proud to be part of history.

  5. .

    as long as Political Correctness is around

    there will be protests of all types

    mark my words


  6. A massive outpouring into the streets across the country. That is an inspirational start to a resistance. But – what will be the follow up? By themselves, large rallies, twitter posts, and SNL sketches won’t change anything significant about political and economic power relationships that govern our country and our lives. The protests leading up to the Iraq war – if you take into account the huge demonstrations in London, Paris, Rome, etc were probably larger than yesterdays marches. But they did not prevent the illegal and immoral wars that ravaged Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Unless the many disparate elements of the left and liberal dems can unite and execute sustained goal oriented plans to take back our government, we are easy to ignore, or (under Trump) throw in jail.

  7. In my memory, the Iraq war protests were almost as big in 2003 if not bigger in some locations. There was a national media blackout of the protests, and here we are on the brink of world war because of those republicans. If we don’t have intense daily pushback every day from here on out, will these protests have any more effect than the anti-war ones?

    I will say this. It’s clear that drumpf and his cadre is outnumbered. He reminds me of Mubarak more and more everyday.

  8. “The Women’s March may be the largest single act of political protest in US history”

    Just the US ?


    “The people in the streets of San Francisco sent a message to Washington. And City Hall should also be paying attention:”

    Unfortunately Muni undoubtedly won’t get the memo; despite PG & E Lee’s best efforts to use his secret weapon, Muni, to thwart marchers plenty still got there – the already worst transit agency in the US, no, make that just agency, ran even more unreliably and infrequently than usual re. getting people downtown – the 5 Fulton ran so infrequently that it was packed enough that nobody could get on after the first couple of stops – many ended up just walking to the march.

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