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Songs, signs, and solidarity

More than 200 turn out to show support for women's marches

BRATTLEBORO—There were no speeches, and the political messages were confined to the signs carried by the women, men, and children who crowded into Pliny Park on Jan. 20.

This was a political gathering where speeches were unnecessary. Having more than 200 people singing the old songs of battles past — from “This Little Light of Mine” to “America the Beautiful” — was powerful enough.

On a warmer-than-usual Saturday morning, people gathered at the corner of Main and High streets for a reprise of last year’s vigil in support of the women’s marches that took place around the world the day after President Donald J. Trump was inaugurated.

Maggie Cassidy of Putney, who organized last year’s vigil, stuck to the same format as last year — focusing on the positive power that can be generated when people gather together.

The closest she got to politics was when Cassidy asked those in the park to turn to the person they were standing next to and ask them what was the one issue that motivated them to come out to the gathering.

Otherwise, songs, solidarity, and clever signs were the order of the day.

The focus of the vigil-goers was on November’s mid-term elections and the role that women have played in special and off-year elections in 2017.

According to Emily’s List, a Democratic Party-affiliated group that helps train and fund campaigns of women running for elective office, more than 26,000 women have contacted them seeking help in local, state, and federal campaigns. And, of the 34 Democrats who won Republican-held state legislative seats in special elections around the country, 22 have been women.

The focus of this year’s marches around the country was on getting people registered to vote and making sure they get to the polls. The campaign, “Power To The Polls,” kicked off in Las Vegas on Jan. 21 with a goal of adding at least 1 million new voters to the electoral rolls by November.

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Tamara Stenn
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Tamara Stenn (Brattleboro, Vermont, US) says...

Thanks for writing this Elayne. I was thinking the same thing myself. The silence we received from the hospital is quite deafening. Unfortunately we\'ve had to continue working with the hospital as other (minor) heath issues come up.

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Judith Skillman
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Judith Skillman (Newcastle, US) says...

Excellent and informative writing about the media and about the state of our nation. We must support the press speak truth to power, now more than ever before.

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Ruby Bode
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Ruby Bode (Westminster, Vermont, US) says...

We are also obliged to criticize the press when they merely echo the lies of the powerful. In this case, much of the press has taken a side, not just against the policies of the President, but against the election itself on behalf of the parties of war and Wall St. Just as the US has in the past agitated in other countries for coups against democratic outcomes they don’t like, much of the press, including this editorial, is now agitating for a coup here at home.

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Peter Ford
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Peter Ford (Dallas) says...

Nailed it - Thank you.

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TB Smith
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TB Smith (Ba, Oklahoma, US) says...

The divisiveness brought on by this shamefully poor excuse for a president has been once again, borne out by this article, and the responses to it .. his most devoted followers are the most gullible and easily swayed sheeple since the \"Kool-Aid party in Jonestown\" ... those who stand up the most fervently to this dictator \"wanabe\", will , inthe end, see him and the fellow purveyors of his garbage rhetoric like FOX News, Alex Jones, Breitbart, etc., crumble and be dumped like stale crackers (pardon the pun) .. we must impeach this tyrant before too much damage is done, either from within or outside our borders.

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Ruby Bode
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Ruby Bode (Westminster, Vermont, US) says...

So it’s OK that access to outlets that simply recognize Trump as President is indeed being shut down? But isn’t that exactly what this editorial is against? Should outlets that cheered on Obama’s wars and love of Wall St have likewise been shut down? Only John Birch Society–inspired screeds against Trump indicate the “legitimate” press?

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Ruby Bode
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Ruby Bode (Westminster, Vermont, US) says...

TB Smith’s comment in apparent support of the us-vs-them tone of this editorial illustrates why so many people distrust so much of the press (although, again, it appears to be only pro-Trump and anti-imperialist outlets that are actually being shut down): They are promulgating hysterical claims about fascism, Russians, and “crackers” not in the interest of the people, but wholly on behalf of the neoliberal/neoconservative program of Reagan, Clinton, Bush, and Obama to deny Trump the Presidency and even remove him from office – not democratically, but by coup if necessary. That makes the press rather anti-democratic and, indeed, against the people.

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Amelia Stone
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Amelia Stone (E Dummerston, Vermont, US) says...

Kudos to the Boston Globe for encouraging newspapers across the country to remind us all of the value of a free press, and to the Commons for hearing that call. The NYTimes article, A Free Press Needs You, concludes with the following: \"If you haven’t already, please subscribe to your local papers. Praise them when you think they’ve done a good job and criticize them when you think they could do better. We’re all in this together.\" Today I plan to subscribe.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #443 (Wednesday, January 24, 2018). This story appeared on page A1.

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