The preliminary estimates of how many Americans marched in Saturday, Jan. 21st's Women's Marches — the huge one in Washington, D.C. set up in response to the Inauguration of the new President and the hundreds of "sister marches" in every state of the U.S. — and keep in mind this is preliminary and subject to change and famously hard and fraught to precisely measure — is a total somewhere above three million people. Maybe well above, maybe approaching 3 ½ million.
With an estimated United States population of 324 million, that would mean, in round numbers, that 1 in 100 Americans marched today.
1 in 100. Out in the streets, in the weather, in blue and red states, chanting, singing, denouncing a person and a situation so many of us find dangerous. A day after an almost surrealistically underpopulated Inauguration ceremony for that person. A day where, as of 9:00 p.m. Pacific Time, even the biggest of the marches had no arrests.
And how many could have marched? How many were inclined to march? How many don't tend to protest and aren't inclined to march, but are sympathetic to and simpatico with those who did?
How many people who are supporters of the new President are possibly, possibly, starting to shift their feelings based on what they saw with today's marches?
There are very few degrees of separation here. If you're American, you almost certainly either know someone who marched today, or know someone who knows someone who marched. I know at least a couple dozen, in Portland, Seattle, New York City, and D.C., too. I've been watching their updates, photos, and videos, thanks to social media. It's been extraordinary to see. (I am not discounting the marches in other countries, but those protests are not part of the stat in question.)
Not all people are likely to protest. But possibly 1 in 100 of my fellow countrymen did so, on the same day and at the same time, saying in myriad voices with a spectrum of signs We're on record. We believe what is happening is Not OK. That can be enough to change things, change them, we hope, for the better.