On election day I hung around my polling precinct interviewing and photographing voters for work. The day after the election, another editor urged me to hit the streets and do the same thing. Where people had been cautiously ebullient on the 8th, by mid-afternoon on the 9th, an oppressive heat clogged Southern California’s collective mind and it furrowed all of our brows. We voted for someone else.
That night, sirens overran the neighborhood as police fought to keep more protesters from entering the 101 Freeway in Hollywood as they’d done successfully in downtown Los Angeles. The night overflowed with helicopters, their urgent thrum punctuating an already electric nightmare.
Earlier in the day, worried parents flooded social media with the same question; how do you talk to your kids about Trump? By nightfall, the discordance of police vehicles rushing from one part of the city to the next added a hysteric undercurrent to the day’s funereal tenor. On Saturday, the next wave of protests shut down Wilshire Boulevard, to the repeated chants of Not My President.
It wasn’t just Los Angeles. New York was protesting. Baltimore and Louisville and Chicago had protests. A friend in Portland, Oregon reminded the lot of us that Reagan and Bush Secret Service members referred to that town as Little Beirut, and Little Beirut is back. Everything is a question. Nothing is an answer. But when the group of students called out to the protesters, BLACK LIVES MATTER, it was heartbreakingly clear. We have to find a better answer.