Droves of people filled the streets of downtown Ann Arbor, blocking every intersection that might lead me to a parking spot that might not be taken. Fifteen minutes later, I was parked on the outskirts of downtown, where the city didn’t deem it necessary to update the meters from the pre-digital age. After another ten minutes–and me digging far deeper into my cup holder than I had every wanted to go before–and I was on my way…only four or five city blocks to go.
The event began in the Diag–the center of the University of Michigan campus–where a crowd of thousands listened to various speakers, and organizers, including Dr. Scott Barolo. Last to speak, Dr. Barolo began his speech, “We’re going to talk a little bit about science, then go do something about it.”
The march wrapped around the center of campus, then–with the help of police escort–went into the city, closing down intersection after intersection. The people in green were the volunteers and official leaders of the event, but it was evident the real leaders were in the crowd, which–once stopped at the Ann Arbor Post Office at 5th and E. Liberty–burst out into chants, and drum beats.
In truth, this is what everyone came for anyway. It wasn’t about hearing someone say, “Remember: it’s Earth Day. Make sure to pick up some trash on your way out.”
They were there to let their anger be heard. Knowledge has a place, even in the Age of Trump, and in the Angriest Year on Record. So the drums beat. The chants ensued. The homogenized sloganeering rang out in a universal voice of discontent.
If there was any opposition here, it could not be heard or seen. Only signs and chants and thousands standing, “With Her.” The “Her” being the planet.
Though, to be honest, had a few more of these folks turned out to support, “her,” Hilary Rodham Clinton a few months back, we wouldn’t be in this mess to begin with. Still, it’s reassuring to know that thousands of people are still willing to turn out on a Saturday, and remind the world that, “This is what democracy looks like.”