With Natalie Merchant, Mark Ruffalo and Cher leading the frozen hootenanny, a rally tonight outside the Trump International Hotel & Tower concluded with the crowd —estimated by the NYPD at 20K to 25K strong — singing the Woody Guthrie anthem, “This Land Is Your Land.”
The song culminated an emotional two-hours-plus protest near New York City’s Columbus Circle that had been quickly organized by filmmaker Michel Moore, Robert De Niro, producer Fisher Stevens and Ruffalo. A cavalcade of stars including Rosie Perez, Sally Field and others, introduced mayor Bill de Blasio, his wife, Chirlane McCray and labor, political and religious leaders across the spectrum to speak out on behalf of retaining the Affordable Care Act and other programs under threat from the incoming administration of Donald J. Trump. Trump and his family were in Washington attending a somewhat different event.
“I’m an elitist libtard whose grandmother picked cotton and whose mother sang in bars during the Depresssion,” Cher said, in her introduction of Moore. “I have been accused of being so many things,” she said, reminding the crowd that on the night of the election, she was with Hillary Clinton. “The only thing that can save us is you,” she said. “Nothing happened to stop Vietnam until we got into the streets. The power of the people is bigger than those a88holes who are there in Washington.”
Cher brought Moore onstage to thank Stevens, Ruffalo and the NYPD, “and you for showing up on this final night of what anthropologists will call the pre-Trumpian age. It will be a short-lived anger but it will be significant and it will be studied for centuries.”
Moore then introduced singer Natalie Merchant, who began with a powerful rendition of her song “Motherland,” whose lyrics include these lines: “Don’t miss this wasteland, this terrible place / When you leave, keep your heart off your sleeve.”
She then brought most of the speakers back to the stage, including Cher and Ruffalo, to lead the crowd in a rousing version of “This Land Is Your Land.”