“Why didn’t these people vote?” tweeted Trump in response to the Women’s March on Washington.

Actually, Trump, plenty of us did. And we didn’t vote for you.

Vancouver’s simultaneous sister demonstration was the largest protest I’d ever witnessed, of any kind, since moving to this town many years before. Taken together, the marches across the U.S. and worldwide spawned by Washington’s mother protest added up to a collective experience that we’ll recount to our grandchildren, actual or proverbial.

Crowds gathering to hear speakers at Jack Poole Plaza, Vancouver Women’s March/Naomi Reichstein photo
Speeches at the Olympic Cauldron/Naomi Reichstein photo

Whereas some 2,500 were expected for Vancouver, an estimated 15,000 women, men and children showed up at Jack Poole Plaza by the Olympic Cauldron: a stupendous testament to the unity this traumatic election has, ironically, triggered in many of us.

Despite the anger, a stirring feeling of comfort, solidarity’s offspring, permeated the throng. It was far too crowded for many of us to hear the speakers, but protestors smiled and snapped pictures of one another’s signs, bent their heads to allow others to take photos of the scene and complimented one another’s small children. This crowd was its own security.

Any number of handmade signs could’ve been contenders for best: “Denounce Twitler,” “Not my president, still my problem,” “The Fempire strikes back,” “Grab ’em by the policy,” “Without Hermione Harry would have died in Book One,” “I’m so angry I made a sign” and the one that said it all, “I can’t believe I still have to protest this fucking shit.”

Circling back to the protest's origin at Jack Poole Plaza/Naomi Reichstein photo
Naomi Reichstein photo

After the speeches at the plaza, we wound around several square blocks toward Vancouver’s Trump Tower before returning to the origin, where we were welcomed back by the diamond-precise live harmonies of Vancouver country girl band the Heels.

And in the end

What does it say about the centre-left that it has taken a disaster of this magnitude to unite us in seeing the big picture? We’ve become so splintered over the years, working at cross-purposes and getting paralyzed by overwrought, overthought internal skirmishes about things that often don’t matter much, to the point of missing the things that do. This is a message that this election has broadcast to us, via megaphone.

Perhaps it takes a personification of everything we don’t want to be in order to show us, beyond any possibility of debate or denial, what we do.