‘My whole soul is in it’

Four years after they rallied against President Trump, Women’s March participants hopeful about Biden’s presidency.


Four years ago, some women were mad as hell — and quite a few men, too — at the election of a president who was caught on tape saying he could “grab women by the pussy.”

It was a line that launched a movement. One day after Donald Trump was inaugurated, the Women’s March attracted nearly 500,000 people to the nation’s capital, and spawned smaller, but no less exuberant demonstrations across the country, including at Five Corners in Vineyard Haven.

Four years later, The Times checked in with some of the people we talked to then to find out how they’re feeling as President Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, the first woman elected as vice president, take office.

On Wednesday, Trump moved out of the White House, and Biden was sworn in as the 46th president.

“My whole soul is in it. Today, on this January day, my whole soul is in this, bringing America together. Uniting our people. Uniting our nation,” Biden said during his inaugural speech. “And I ask all Americans to join me in this cause. Uniting to fight the foes we face — anger, resentment and hatred, extremism, lawlessness, violence, disease, joblessness, and hopelessness. With unity we can do great things, important things. We can right wrongs. We can put people to work in good jobs. We can teach our kids in safe schools. We can overcome the deadly virus. We can reward work and rebuild the middle class, and make healthcare secure for all. We can deliver racial justice, and we can make America once again the leading force for good in the world.”
Susan Desmarais, who helped organize a companion rally to the Women’s March at Five Corners for those who couldn’t travel to D.C., told The Times she watched the Inauguration on TV with her “pussy hat” on. 

I hope I won’t be needing this hat again, and I’m wearing it [today] to celebrate the Inauguration of our first female, multiracial vice president,” she said. “While being very aware of all the work we need to do as people and as a country, I feel hopeful, inspired, and safer with Biden-Harris in the White House.”

Reached in the suburbs of Washington, D.C., Oak Bluffs transplant Trish Moreis-Stiles, who attended the Women’s March four years ago with her then-16-year-old daughter, had one word to describe how she’s feeling now: “Thrilled!”

Washington, D.C., was in lockdown for Biden’s inauguration, 25,000 members of the National Guard standing guard, because of reported threats in the wake of the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. “You can’t get into the city,” Moreis-Stiles said. “I’ve never seen anything like it.”

Morris-Stiles said with Biden-Harris in charge, she’s looking forward to an administration that works for the people again, instead of someone using his office to benefit himself and his family.

“I’m looking forward to normalcy,” she said. “How many times in the last four years have we watched TV and thought that could never happen? Like when tear gas was used to clear out demonstrators for a photo op outside a church.”

Lara O’Brien, who is now living in Ireland, wrote in an email that the Irish people are watching with a sense of relief. “As a nation, we engage and watch politics both Irish and international, and the U.S is always a topic of great debate, along with Brexit and now the damned COVID pandemic,” she wrote. “The talk on the street here in Howth seems to be relief that Trump is leaving, and hoping no more lives are lost, or lies are told.”

O’Brien wrote that Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, Biden’s pick as labor secretary, has gotten a lot of attention in Ireland. “He speaks Irish, or Gaeilge, from his summers as a child in Connemara; that’s nearly more interesting than Biden’s ties to Mayo,” she wrote. “Anyway, we will be watching and cheering the Biden-Harris team on, and expecting great things from them, including peace, progression, and repair.”

Carla Cooper of the Martha’s Vineyard Democratic Council said she thinks President Biden is “the right choice for this moment,” and noted that both Biden and Harris have empathy and humanity that has been absent in the prior administration.

“This country needs to heal from the psychological abuse we have had to endure from Donald Trump, and from COVID. We still have a lot of work to do, but we aren’t going to be reacting to the latest egregious, inhumane things that come out of this administration,” Cooper said. “I am really looking forward to doing work that isn’t just playing defense.”

Cooper broke out her pearls on Inauguration Day, in honor of Kamala Harris and her new position as vice president. Although Cooper said she is “elated” to see a woman of color in one of the highest offices in the nation, she wondered, “What took so long?”

She said she hopes the next four years will be filled with new representation that embodies the diversity of the American people. “It is going to take a lot to break down that white male dominance,” Cooper said.

Holley MacKenzie, also of the M.V. Democratic Council, said Trump tried to lead through mockery, intimidation, and inflammatory language. But she said a president must lead by positive example, through compassion and empathy.

“Trump spoke in a manner that I wouldn’t even allow my children to speak in. I think Biden understands the importance of words, and will lead by example,” MacKenzie said.

In acknowledgement of the first woman of color being elected as vice president, Mackenzie said she is happy that young women of color will be empowered by seeing someone who looks like them, whether it’s race or gender, representing the American people.

“It’s 2020 — women represent more than half the population, and we are still in the 20 percent range of members of Congress,” MacKenzie said. “We need representation so when young children look to our leadership and see someone who looks like them, whether it’s the color of their skin or their gender, it makes it more realistic to them that those dreams are attainable.”

Island activist Lisette Williams said the fact that a woman of color is going to be serving as vice president shows countless young women and girls that their dreams are attainable.

Williams quoted Harris, who said, “I may be the first woman to hold this office, but I won’t be the last.”

She added, “I woke up feeling energized, knowing that this four-year-long nightmare ends today,” and said that, just like when Barack Obama was elected as the first Black president, many young boys of color could see themselves being president one day, in a way they could have never envisioned before. “That is what this day gives people, someone different to look up to,” Williams said.

Don Keller, a frequent Trump critic in The Times comment section, and a self-proclaimed “out of the pantry” Pastafarian, donned his colander and celebrated Wednesday’s inauguration by flipping the American flag decal over on his Mini Cooper.

“I bought the car the day after Donald Trump was elected president. I put the flag on shortly after his inauguration in the upside down position,” said Keller, a U.S. Navy veteran. The flag is flown upside down as a sign of distress, according to flag protocol. That resulted in a couple of “road rage” type incidents, one of which Keller described in a Letter to the Editor. “Another time, a guy took a picture of it and said he was going to have me arrested,” Keller said.

But on Wednesday, Keller put that all behind him. “I feel hopeful so I just wanted to flip it over and literally flip that chapter behind us.”

Lucas Thors contributed to this story.


  1. Thank goodness this era of peace and prosperity is over. Thank goodness that the President who has done more than any other President in history to stabilize the Middle East is gone. Hopefully the Isis he destroyed will come back stronger than ever. Hopefully the middle class will have their taxes rise again. No more medical miracles like getting the covid vaccine developed in record time. Maybe those 7 million Americans who came off the food stamp rolls will become poor again. Hopefully we can return to high gas prices, higher unemployment for Afri can-Americans and Latinos, more dependence on foreign energy and the closure of North Atlantic waters for our fishermen. Here’s to the good times ahead!!

    • Truth speaks! Thank you sir for the obvious! Well saidJohn! Can’t believe the press allowed this, hurry and read before they take it down! I made a screen shot!

    • John– the regime of lies and bullying is over.
      We , as a nation can now stop drinking the Kool aid and start taking some baby steps on the long path to recovery from the recent national psychotic episode.
      Perhaps we can start with the middle east.– Since that one is easy–
      Unilaterally pulling out of an agreement signed by a wide coalition of governments and allowing the Iranians unrestricted development in their program to acquire weapons grade fissionable material is not a “stabilizing” development. Murdering a top Iranian military official is not a stabilizing development. Unilaterally allowing Israel to move the U.S embassy to Jerusalem over the objections of nearly every party involved in middle east negotiations is not a stabilizing development. The U.S. arming of the Yemeni rebels and being complacent in war crimes perpetrated with the use of our weapons is not a stabilizing development.
      Isis was on it’s way out the door when trump came into office– under trump, the U.S committed 2000 troops to “back” mostly Turkish and Syrian forces which did the dirty work.
      And by the way– the Highest average price ever for gas in the U.S ( not adjusted for inflation) was $4.11 on July 17, 2018– Guess who was president?

      Yes, John, I am looking forward to the good times ahead now. We seem to have something in common.

        • John– Why does The fact that my holy book says that there are beer volcanoes and stripper factories in heaven, and I believe it make me “not a serious person.”
          The Christian notion of heaven is one of singing and rejoicing before God in a “new heaven and a new earth.” There is a river of “the water of life,” which flows from God’s throne, and trees of life line the banks of the river and produce fruit every month. Believers will have God’s name written on their foreheads, and all pain, tears, and death will disappear forever.

          The Islamic version of heaven is a paradise. Heaven is a garden where the faithful lie upon couches in a climate-controlled environment surrounded by “bashful, dark-eyed virgins, chaste as the sheltered eggs of ostriches.” They will drink from crystal goblets and silver vessels as “immortal youths” hover about them looking like “scattered pearls.” The believers will be clothed in green silk and brocade and will wear silver bracelets, and they will “drink a pure draught” drawn from Allah’s own source as a reward for their striving and patience.

          And Jesus walked on water
          And Moses parted the red sea.
          And the earth was flooded high enough to put Mt Ararat (at a height of 12,000 ft.) under water.

          Do you think all the believers of these holy books are ” not serious persons” ?

          And by the way, when I was about 12 years old, the Catholic nuns convinced me that I was going to hell.
          Now, if you know the Christian version of hell, you don’t want to go there even to visit, let alone stay there for eternity. In Pastafarian hell, the beer is flat, and the strippers have STD’S . So says the holy book.

          It seems to me that if I am condemned to hell , it’s a rational choice to pick that one.

      • Not that I really care, but Don is wrong about the highest gas prices being in 2018 while Trump was president.

        he mistakenly incorrectly quoted the USA article which he linked to in the article — the highest gas prices, according to the article he referenced, was in 2008 when Obama was still president.

        • james– you are absolutely right— That was a typo. It was July 17 2008. Bush the son was president. That kind of stuff is why I often post a link as proof for those who would not believe me. Thank you for pointing out that significant typo.
          And perhaps it is an ironic nod to the fact that we all do typo’s but you mention that Obama was still president in 2008… 🙂

    • A nice read John and the good times are already starting to roll we just lost 50,000 jobs along a pipeline project that changes nothing for the environment. All it does is make a few people symbolically happier. Yes the good times have started. What I find most amusing on this far left liberal island is the hypocrisy of most all of them in that they say lets just get along but only as long as you agree with them. If you have a different opinion than them their fangs and Barb’s come out. Thinking about moving to Portland where it seems so calm and peaceful and should be a pleasant place to walk the streets at night.

      • Bob– do you just pull numbers out of the air ?
        The company itself has stated between 1000 and 11,000 mostly temporary jobs will be lost. If it were completed , it would need 50 full time operators to run it.
        As for making “a few people symbolically happier” tell that to the thousands of people who would have their land seized for this or if it leaks into the local water supply.
        I have yet to see all these liberal hate mongers you speak of.
        Perhaps you perceive it as hate if someone like myself points out that your facts are incorrect. Let me make it clear, Bob- I for one do not think we can’t get along just because I bother to check on the facts related to an issue like the pipeline jobs lost
        (11,000 according to the company) and you pull numbers out of the air (50,000 )or believe radical extremist who are too lazy to find the facts. or care about the facts, and post wildly inaccurate numbers on the internet that THEY pull out of the air.

        Clearly , the most offensive post on this thread was one from John Axel ( who I doubt is a liberal) who said I was “not a serious person” because his religious beliefs are different than mine.

        You can make up your “facts” and I will dispute them when they are wrong, but that is not intended as an act of hostility on my part.
        We actually CAN disagree, and get along, as long as both parties agree to get along.
        It’s called civil discourse.

    • Joseph Corbo, hopefully they are not taking the same path of extreme censorship as the other island newspaper!
      I am glad to see that John Axel`s passed by the shredder.

      • Every one of his comments was posted. They were submitted last night after 8 and after I moderated comments for the last time Wednesday.

    • Carl– The kids you speak of need to know that a person who used and still uses such vulgar language managed to become the president of the United States. If you are concerned about the children, may I suggest that we, as a society tell the children that it it will be their responsibility in the future to make sure that such a vile and immoral person never ascends to anywhere near this high of an office again.
      When the children ask “what does that mean”? Tell them EXACTLY what it means. Do you know any responsible parent that does not tell their daughter about the sanctity of private parts ? Tell them that it means that we, as a country, as a society had a ( hopefully) temporary lapse in morality, civil behavior , and moral decency.
      Yes Carl, that needs to be quoted, and it needs to be challenged.
      It is an opportunity for us to educate the next generation about the consequences of being silent, and of being complacent.
      Otherwise, someone may think it’s ok to walk up to your attractive daughter or granddaughter, or mine, and grab her by her genitals.
      Keep it in perspective Carl. trump said that, and he was elected to the most powerful office in the world.

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