Thursday, April 27, 2017

The Blue Lady Travels to Meet Some of Her Tribe at The March For Science

The president was in residence on Earth Day.
He tweeted something about loving our wonderful rivers and things like that,
and went to Walter Reed to present a Purple Heart to someone.
BTW, the garden is protected. It's under the care of the
National Park Service.
As soon as I heard it was going to happen, I knew I wanted to go. A March FOR Science on Earth Day in Washington DC. I did not make arrangements to go to the Women's March the day after the inauguration. I would have liked that, so I felt the need to do something similar at some other time. Bingo! Let's go to DC in April. I got a plane ticket and a hotel immediately.

It had never really occurred to me that people needed to get passionate about and advocate for SCIENCE of all things. I mean, who doesn't know that science as a whole way of knowing is just super important. It turns out the present administration doesn't and doesn't seem to care about it. And that matters because they are very powerful people.


I could enumerate a whole pile of reasons why science is important, why the world needs lots of it, why it needs to be supported by the public sector, why science is one of the HUGE factors that has already made America great, etc. etc, etc.

Not everyone needs to be a scientist or to work in science. We also need plenty of artists of all kinds as well as people who use the results of scientific investigation to make the world just work. For example, we know how to make food grow effectively because of science. Science helps us build things of all kinds well. Science is integral to health and health care. Science has given us ways to create superb colors for all our clothing and household goods. Science has given us the internet. Science has shown us those billions and billions of galaxies. But then, you know all that and more.

And of course, science has given us all those inconvenient truths about climate change. Darn it!. Maybe if we stop studying and measuring all that stuff related to climate and the changes it has already brought us, the whole thing will just go away. You know, the three monkey theory of knowledge.... see no climate change, hear no climate change, speak no climate change. That ought to work, right?
from Wikipedia Commons

So Sock Monkey and I had a quick 3 day weekend going to and from Washington DC. We left early Friday morning, stopped for awhile in the lovely modern Detroit airport where we had a nice long walk and ate a good lunch. We arrived in the late afternoon at the horrible Regan airport in Washington, and had a long wait to get a shuttle ride to our hotel with a driver whom we did not like at all.
Good thing the hotel was nice and warm.
This is the ballpark, across the street from where we lived.
And you can see the great weather we had all weekend.

Our hotel was very nice and comfy. It was quite new, a Hilton property in a neighborhood (Navy Yard) which is clearly undergoing very rapid development. The hotel is quite close to the new baseball park, and is surrounded by a whole lot of brand new high rise condo or office buildings. The Department of Transportation has a nice, new office building just down the street. Capital Hill is not far away. A good location in many ways.

It was cold and drizzly the day we arrived. The next day, March Day, it was pouring down rain. I decided to skip all the morning activities, the teach-in and the speeches, and just plan to get to the site about 1400, march time. So we stayed in and I did some knitting, and just before 1200 we headed out.
I had been to the museum before, but it was the first time
for Sock Monkey.

We walked to the National Museum of the American Indian which was not far away where we had lunch in their really nice cafeteria. Clearly we were not the only marchers with the same idea. The place was hopping. We stuck around awhile longer, did our souvenir shopping there, and eventually got up the courage to head out into the weather for our main purpose.

What a slog down to the Washington Monument. Rain, rain, rain and cold. The interior walkways in the Mall are made of gravel which then meant gravel atop mud. The grass, which would have been slippery, was roped off ... just as well.
Yup, I WAS there with my big pin that plays
the UofU fight song "I am a Utah Fan"

We were joined up with more and more people along the way. All kinds of people. All colors, shapes, sizes, sexes, ages ... very heartening to see. Lots of people had creative signs. I really liked the ones which were on the theme of "Mad Scientist." ( I saw a photo on the web which I adored. It was a dog with a sign that said "Cat : Alternative Fact.")

I didn't go as far as the monument because others were clearly leaving that area and heading out by the time I got close. I ended up joining the crowd at 15th & Constitution Avenue, kitty corner from the Department of Commerece building.

And there I stopped. I spent the rest of my afternoon not marching but rather Standing Around for Science in the Rain. No one was moving anywhere for any reason. But we were a pretty jolly crowd. Everyone was friendly and polite. Lots of people put up umbrellas which together sheltered several others, including me.

I didn't talk with strangers ... my introverted tendencies came to the surface. But then, most others did not talk with strangers either. Maybe that's because we all have some connection to the sciences. We really were a big bunch of introverted geeks. But we were all surrounded by hundreds of other introverted geeks, so, really it was ok, comforting even. We all had actually gotten out there together, which is really something when you think about it. We were happy.
Standing Around for Science.
We all really do care about the cause,
but it's kind of boring after awhile,
not to mention cold, wet and uncomfortable.

Eventually my legs were telling me this standing around business was not making them happy. There was a group of people who decided to cross Constitution Avenue horizontally but hanging into each other in a kind of conga line and cutting through the crowd. I joined the line at the end and took advantage of how they were able to part the sea. Once on the other side, there were still lots of people, but plenty of room to move in any direction.

I ended up walking around the White House in two directions (don't ask me which ones. I cannot tell the cardinal directions in DC the way the city is planned as a rectangle but rotated so that it becomes a diamond.) I ran into another march of people from Cameroon, across from the World Bank, who were protesting how the World Bank's policies support dictators. Who knows? Maybe someplace else another group was protesting something else totally different. That's what you do in DC, after all.

With the help of a very nice lady working for the Secret Service I found my way to a Starbucks where I was able to get out of the rain and relax and get warm. Again, plenty of other marchers joined me there.

And next I called upon a Secret Service gentleman to help me find a Metro station. I needed the help of a station employee to figure out the ticket machine and where to find the correct train. One thing I will say about DC is that I have always observed the locals being very nice and helpful to visitors.
All streets lead to a Starbucks, thank goodness.
Can you see the sweet little girl with the brain hat?
Starting early to be an activist. What good parents.

And before too much longer I was "home." Nap time, supper, TV, bedtime.

We had to get up at 0330 in order to get to the horrible airport in time for our very early morning flight, but that meant we were home in Salt Lake before lunch.  We had a short layover in Minneapolis, and our luggage did not get onto the same plane as we were on, but we spent most of the afternoon napping happily with Smokey Rose, and the suitcase got delivered around supper time in good condition. Everyone was safe and happy.

I have never taken part in a real news making event such as this one. It was great. Maybe I'll do it again for some reason, although I hope I don't have to. I'd rather go to witness the inauguration of the first woman president of the US. That will take place in my lifetime, right? Darn well better!
Sock Monkey came home with a piece of lovely new jewelry,
a souvenir of the annual Cherry Blossom Festival.
I hope we can go back to DC some year just to enjoy the beautiful trees.

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