The Women’s March came to Portland yesterday. Tens of thousands turned out. The mood was festive and family-friendly (that is the kiddies’ physical well-being wasn’t immediately threatened), contrasting the march of the day before, which degenerated by late night into countless small standoffs with police who used tear gas and flash bangs to clear streets and protect businesses.
Affable–cloying even–foot police in small groups along the route fielded handshakes and thanks from marchers. They spent the night before in riot gear hustling from scene to scene as people hurled verbal abuse and the occasional projectile. I saw one pair of officers wearing the ubiquitous “pussy hats”. Still, their very presence set off the occasional autistic screecher.
Many brought children. “Nasty girls” was one theme; one shoulder-borne very young child carried a sign saying “future nasty girl”. Vagina was the overarching theme; women in vagina costumes complete with labia majora and minora and clitoris, signs playing on the word “pussy” or “grab em by the pussy” were everywhere, sketches of vaginas and fallopian tubes fashioned to look horns, one such formed into the “Don’t Tread on Me” snake from the Gadsden Flag.
One group of young women performed a Pussy Riot-like dance routine to an obscene rap song as they moved along with the paraders. Lots of families with kids who wouldn’t have looked out of place at Epcot center, if not for the signs they were carrying. Piles of trashed signs everywhere. As we passed City Hall I saw the mayor out front giving an interview to a lone reporter; no one paid him any mind except a small child, flush with all the indulgent treatment, telling her day she’d like to go meet the mayor.