We arrived and marched to the site, seeing welcome stations, people standing on their lawns with signs, high-fives and cheering. We slogged past the garbage and barricades from the day before.

There were so, so many people everywhere. We never made it to the forward area with the stage, speakers and performers. Completely divorced from the structured pageantry we were a multitude of people literally going in every direction at once, no one knowing what was going on. We couldn’t hear or see any of the speakers, so we just moved forward. I wished there were more people of color, immigrants, and various religions. I hope to see more inclusive demos as we go on resisting. I know I can do more. Show more support, go to more demos.

Since we were out of the range of the scripted festivities, we became part of this free-formed gathering of all kinds of people. There was NO interference at all from police or National Guard! I even saw policewomen wearing the pink demo hats. In fact, they were so nice and so helpful that I couldn’t resist going up to one and telling him. “This is what it’s all about,” he said. “Peaceful protest.” Imagine hearing that from a cop in NYC!

As a result, I felt part of something I hadn’t felt for many, many years—a country of compassionate fellow citizens. We were everywhere. It was an open, friendly, upbeat chaos.

There was a feeling of, “Damn right this is our country and we’re taking it back!”

And then a tiny ember appeared, slow burning, deep down inside of me that I have named, HOPE.