I stood with my daughter at the bronze feet of John A. MacDonald, Canada’s first prime minister (and possibly the reason Canadians say ‘eh?). Daughter and I held half of the Democrats Abroad banner: ‘Women’s Rights Are Human Rights.’ A fact (not an ‘alternate’ one), though they were dull words compared to the many clever signs poking up from the crowd. A favorite: “Teach your daughters to worry less about fitting into glass slippers and more about shattering glass ceilings.” See that, husband and I said to our teenager.
We looked over a mosaic of heads, 60,000 of them, on the wide lawn facing the provincial parliament, Queen’s Park. What a difference compared to yesterday’s inaugural tristesse (“inauguration,” from “augur,” v.: to portend a good or bad outcome). The women, men, children, and dogs (many dogs, ours included) behaved with good will and good humor, civilly, respectfully, Canadianly. Hopefully. There were balloons. One escaped. An air of celebration almost let us forget what spurred our protest.
Then a man approached those of us standing on the plinth with John A. He introduced himself as a United Church minister. “You’re Democrats Abroad, right? I’m wondering,” he said, “whether we should be organizing an underground railroad. For people who are now at risk. Activists, minority organizers.” Below us a woman carrying a small sign reading “I Do Believe” began singing “We Shall Overcome.” Many voices joined hers. We Democrats Abroad looked at one another. We seemed, overnight, to have lost twice four score and seven years.
Or perhaps we have found 1984.
On January 21, 2017, at 1:00 p.m., we began to march. My dog barked.