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I Went to Both the Inauguration & the Women’s March. This is What I Learned.

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History is a tricky thing. It’s rare that you can perceive the exact moment a cultural shift occurs while it’s actually happening. Usually the slow, steady, relentlessness of time obscures the importance of events, and it’s not until you look back that you realize “That! That was the moment everything changed”. What happened last weekend was the opposite of that. The impact of what went down was so immediately felt that anyone who knew about it (which was pretty much the entire world) understood that everything was now different.

As I walked out of Donald Trump’s inauguration there was a gaping chasm in my stomach because I had the stark realization that something monumental had just taken place. While I was right, this was the start of a cultural shift, what I didn’t know was that the real monumental moment had yet to occur.

To be honest, it was ridiculous that I was even in D.C. in the first place. Back around Christmas my cousin Barbara had invited to me to meet her for the Women’s March, “Come stir shit up with me we’ll march together and get arrested together and it will be amazing,” she told me over the phone. All I had to do was cover my plane ticket. But when I looked them up, they were all in the $400 range, which was too much considering my stupid fine from the Ethics Commission and the fact that I was also getting audited by the IRS. So I decided not to go.

About a week into the new year I got a text from SF Examiner reporter and columnist Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez (aka Joe Fitz) that said “I just got word that me and a friend officially got 10 tickets…maybe 30…to the inauguration. We also have a hotel room. Wanna come? Or recommend some Trump rebels who want to stir up the pot?” Suddenly it became opportunity I couldn’t say no to. The tickets were coming from Congresspeople and Senators so we were guaranteed good seats. I’d be close enough to pull some kind of shenanigans, at the actual inauguration. I just had to figure out what that would be…and of course figure out how the hell to get out there.


Joe and I aren’t always good at typing on our phones.

A few days later I was on Ryan Scott’s radio show on KGO and telling him about my predicament. Ryan being the solid cat that he is said, “Well you’ve gotta go there man! I’ll give you airline miles.” Suddenly, within a few days I had plane tickets, a place to crash, and a ticket to the inauguration. How could I say no to that?

Our crew of people “willing to stir the pot” was amazing. There was Joe Fitz, myself, Captain Katie, Lee Houskeeper, and his son James. Lee is a legendary press agent and man about town in San Francisco who secured our tickets, our hotel room, and kept us fed. He and James (a film producer and martial arts expert) had a tradition of going to inaugurations and Lee being Lee, he wanted to figure out ways to prank some shit (he visited the offices of representatives like Nancy Pelosi and Kamala Harris and dropped off naked Trump bobble head dolls). Captain Katie was one of the badass veterans who went to support the Water Protectors at Standing Rock. All around our crew was solid as fuck.


Our crew of weirdos (L-R): Joe Fitz, Captain Katie, Lee Houskeeper, James Smith, me. (image from Lee’s FB page)

The thing about going to the inauguration one day and the Women’s March the next was having the sudden and immense understanding that we actually live in two different Americas. One was mostly white and excited to have a president who they felt was looking out for them because, they too were white and had been left behind in this new economic reality. They were trying desperately to grasp on to whatever was left of their American dream. If they couldn’t go back to when America was “great” at least they could hold on to what they had. These folks were smiling, cheering, and smug, feeling safe in the fact that they thought they won a major victory for all the people who were just like them. They couldn’t see Trump for the lying sociopath that he is and most won’t realize it until its far too late…if they even realize it at all.


Trump supporters almost entirely white lining up to see their man get coronated.

The other was diverse, multicultural, and fighting not for a backwards looking America or even one that was holding on to the present. They were looking to the future with hopes of changing this country for the better – though they had different visions as to what that might exactly be. From full blown socialists to moderate Democrats, nearly all the factions on the left finally had a common enemy and a place to direct their anger. Nothing unifies people like hatred, even when that hatred comes from a place of wanting to protect and defend everyone, not just the people who look like you.


A FAR larger and more diverse crowd at the Women’s March

Other than Captain Katie (she went to a different protest later in the day) we all arrived at the lawn in front of the Capitol Building around 6am and added to our group was photojournalist Amanda Andrade-Rhoades. We had to get their early; Lee had been to many inaugurations and said they fill up fast. So we got there and waited…and then waited some more. Lee told us that for the Obama inauguration the place had been packed by like 7:30am. For Trump, people didn’t start showing up en masse until 9:30 or 10am. The turn out was weak, trust me, I was there.


While this was at sunrise, the seats were pretty empty till just shortly before the ceremony began.

And I was there to do one thing. I wanted all the Trump supporters to know that no matter where they went for the next four years, there would be dissent. Once Trump arrived and the ceremony began, I stood up, put my fist in the air, held Shepard Fairey’s “We the People” print from that day’s Washington Post, and stared silently out into a sea of red hats. I got heckled and yelled at and told to sit down but since I really wasn’t doing anything but silently standing there, security didn’t do anything to kick me out. After a few minutes of this I sat back down and once Trump started to speak I left. I couldn’t stomach the rest.


The amazing Allie Caren caught my moment of protest at the inauguration

As I left, I put my fist back in the air, held the poster again, and walked through the masses on my way out of the inauguration. I got some stares and some heckling, but the most poignant thing was seeing members of the military and the Secret Service who were people of color, give me knowing looks that said, “I would be with you if I could.” One African-American Secret Service member looked me right in the eyes and nodded at me sending as much solidarity as he was possibly allowed to do.

I ran into my friend Aviva on the walk out and we went to a nearby place to get a bite and a much needed drink. The restaurant was filled with red faced people wearing red hats. As everyone watched the Obamas get on a helicopter and leave DC the woman sitting behind me said, “Sheesh! I wonder which one of their three houses they’re going to. I mean how did they get so wealthy? I bet they’re going to their house in Kenya.”


Shortly after I ran into Aviva a woman took this photo of us.

At that point, after spending hours surrounded by people who were excited about sending America backwards in time by 50 years, I was exhausted and deflated. I didn’t have the energy to ask the woman if she realized how ironic it was that she voted for someone who was born a multimillionaire. I left there dejected, thinking that I had witnessed a crucial turning point in the history of the world and it was a dark and ominous one.

It wasn’t until the next day, when I was at the Women’s March, that I realized I was indeed witnessing a cultural shift, but not the one towards evil that I had first thought. I was witnessing a cultural sea change that might actually save our country and the world.


Lee Houskeeper with the foam bust of Donald Trump wearing a Pink Pussy Power hat. He paraded this thing through the streets. What a beautiful weirdo.

I don’t have to tell you how incredible the Women’s March was, there’s a very good chance you were at one yourself. We marched and chanted and listened to brilliant speakers. We came out to support not just women but our brothers and sisters who are queer, Muslim, black, brown, disabled, or marginalized in a multitude of other ways. We were in the streets fighting for healthcare and women’s reproductive rights. We were there to struggle against everything Trump stood for. And not only was the world watching and listening, they were marching along beside us. It was magnificent and beautiful and truly gave me hope.

I realized that a cultural shift was happening, right there at that very moment. There were three or four generations of Americans out in the streets in numbers no one had ever seen before. I recognized that Trump and his evil cronies were single handedly going to be responsible for creating some of the most badass artists and activists that had ever existed. A change was actually coming but it wouldn’t come easily. There was a lot of work ahead of us to do, but for the first time in my years of activism, it felt like we might have the numbers and the conviction to actually achieve it.


One thing you can say about the left is that our sign game is always on point.

The funny thing is that almost exactly 24 hours after being in the restaurant full of people in Trump hats, I was in the Thai spot directly next door and it was full of women in Pink Pussy Power hats. Up until that moment I knew that people lived within their own echo chambers and bubbles, but it wasn’t until then that I fully understood that there are really two Americas. On Friday Washington D.C. had been Trump’s town. On Saturday it was ours.

In the past few days since Trump was inaugurated have seen some really dark shit. He’s gunning for women’s rights, immigrants, Muslims, healthcare, and even our National Parks. He’s keeping his word on all the insidious campaign promises he made and not doing any of the ones that might actually do good. The man who claimed he was campaigning for working people turned around and put together a cabinet full of billionaires. He’s a liar, a thief, a sexual predator, a narcissist, and a sociopath. Things are going to get darker and more fucked before they get better, but please know this, they will get better.

Often times when people are dying from a terminal illness, they get a two or three day reprieve right before they die. Their body feels healthy again and it feels like they are bouncing back and recovering. Then shortly afterwards they die. This moment, right now, this is White Supremacy’s bounce back. But what they don’t realize is that this is their last hurrah and soon it will be gone. If the Women’s march showed us anything it’s that there are far more of us than there are of them. The future is ours as long as we stay in this fight and keep on pushing.

Welcome to the Resistance.


Grab one of these Welcome to the Resistance shirts (we have lots of colors) and 1/3 of my profits will be donated to the ACLU.

Men’s crew neck here. Women’s v-neck here. Women’s crew neck here.

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Broke-Ass Stuart - Editor In Cheap

Broke-Ass Stuart - Editor In Cheap

Stuart Schuffman, aka Broke-Ass Stuart, is a travel writer, poet, TV host, activist, and general shit-stirrer. His website is one of the most influential arts & culture sites in the San Francisco Bay Area and his freelance writing has been featured in Lonely Planet, Conde Nast Traveler, The Bold Italic, and too many other outlets to remember. His weekly column, Broke-Ass City, appears every other Thursday in the San Francisco Examiner. Stuart’s writing has been translated into four languages. In 2011 Stuart created and hosted the travel show Young, Broke, and Beautiful on IFC and in 2015 he ran for Mayor of San Francisco and got nearly 20k votes.

He's been called "an Underground legend": SF Chronicle, "an SF cult hero":SF Bay Guardian, and "the chief of cheap": Time Out New York.


  1. Mark Kregel
    January 26, 2017 at 1:21 pm

    Some people have been reading “Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire” as of late. I have been reading Albert Camus’ “The Rebel.” Let there be a million invincible summers out there.

  2. Admin User
    January 26, 2017 at 4:09 pm

    Your characterization of Trump supporters is short-sighted and small-minded.

    Some of us voted for him merely to upend the status quo. Bernie Sanders would have done it, but not as thoroughly as Teh Donald.

    You’re With Her? Good For You…

    I voted for Obama twice and could not have been more disappointed, especially when I lost my house and everything I owned in the Great Recession.

    Keep marching in circles and setting trash cans on fire and let us all know how that works out for you…

    • Jane Dough
      January 26, 2017 at 7:27 pm

      You think it’s Obama’s fault that you lost your house in the recession? And you think Trump is going to give you something better than the status quo? Talk about short sighted and small minded!

    • The Jube abides
      January 27, 2017 at 10:29 am

      Next time you go into surgery, upend the status quo and have the janitor perform the operation. You clown.

  3. elena rose
    January 26, 2017 at 8:47 pm

    thanks, I needed that

  4. Machine1123
    January 27, 2017 at 11:22 am

    i was there and i witnessed entrances being blocked off, people getting assaulted by the tolerant left ,and the police closing the gates because it was a liability of too many people getting hurt to gain entry into the Inauguration. You left out how Trump supporters including myself a San Franciscan Trump supporter along with tons women/senior citizens getting beaten up and chastised that morning for showing support to President Trump. It wasn’t just Trump supporters getting assaulted, it was anybody who was heading towards the Inauguration (regardless of political beliefs) who just wanted to experience the Inauguration. Also as I was making my exit after it ended, people were still in line trying to get in and were visibly upset when word broke out that it was over. Keep in mind thousands of people were kept out because of the shenanigans orchestrated by the left and anarchists.