Monday, December 19, 2016

A Cold Protest

I spent this morning standing outside in the 10°F (ambient, much colder when the wind blew!) weather outside the Minnesota State Senate Office Building, where our electors were about to meet at noon. A St. Paul woman named Leigha, who has never organized a protest before, got a permit and set up an event on Facebook and people came, including me.

I'm glad I did. I want to be able to say I did what I could. I will do more than this, but it was one thing. Just start!

When I first got there, a little more than a half-dozen women stood in the middle of the park across the street. Not one of them had a sign, so they were happy to see me walking up with three extras to share. Soon a few other people trickled in as we tried to figure out how to chant ("One person! One vote!") and walked back and forth through the intersection so we would be seen by cars and light rail trains driving past.

My signs were equipped with yarn neck-hangers so you could keep your hands in your pockets (at least one of them at a time, depending on the wind). My third sign, which I didn't manage to get a picture of, said "Do you want HIS finger on the button?" The fourth one, which I carried, said "I Support the National Popular Vote."

It was nice to see these two folks show up with their big banner and its message.

There were so many great messages on the signs, but this one may be my favorite, since it fits with George Lakoff's advice to call Trump a minority president and a loser — and it's so succinct.

There were three signs that used the letters in TRUMP as the beginnings of words.

This guy came with two signs, each two-sided. The others said "Deny Putin His $poil," "1 Citizen 1 Vote," and "Every Vote Must Count the Same." But I especially liked this one.

As time went by, more people joined us, more drivers honked their horns in support. Some people who were just passing by parked and joined in. People took turns with the various signs, and some people came with extras to share, as I had.

At 11:00 we went over to the State Office Building for a press conference by State Rep. John Lesch and colleagues. He was announcing the reintroduction of a bill in the 2017 session to pass the National Popular Vote law in Minnesota. That law would commit Minnesota to give its 10 electoral votes to whoever wins the national popular vote. The commitment would only begin once enough other states have passed it to assure 270 electoral votes. (Details here in a previous post about NPV; this post includes a list of the states that have passed it completely or partially.)

The press conference was also indoors, so we all got a chance to warm up. This mom and daughter were a great duo.

By the time we got back from the press conference at about 11:30, the small plaza in front of the Senate Office Building was completely full of people, probably several hundred, outnumbering the hundred or so of us who had arrived earlier. It was great to see them all and their new signs.

"No Con Man" — great sign!

Another favorite, directed at Republicans generally and even the Minnesota Democratic electors. They could refuse to vote, for instance, demanding a full briefing on the Russian hacking.

Another clever sign, for those who keep up with the stupidity of Trump's tweets.

This woman's sign was very small, but important: "We must VOTE every TWO years, not just every four years!!"

We went inside the Senate Office Building just before noon. I didn't get to see the electors meet because both their meeting room and the overflow room were filled to capacity. So I talked to a few more people, thanked Leigha for all of her work to make it happen, and headed home.

It's a good feeling to work together with a bunch of other people you don't know to make your voices heard. I think we'll be seeing a lot more of this in the next four years. Like January 19, 20, 21...

I wonder if it will be warmer by then. (Not.)


Ms Sparrow said...

I had to note that all the signs had correct spelling and organization and also made a valid point. Does that make me/us elitist?

Daughter Number Three said...

Yes - there were quite a few other signs that I didn't show here, but I don't remember seeing any with spelling or wording errors, and they all made valid points. I like to think people are conscious of the fact that their sign could be photographed, so they're being careful, and that carefulness is available to anyone.