Protesters set fires and burned a “Make America Great Again” hat. They clashed with supporters of President-elect Donald Trump and scuffled with the police, who used teargas and pepper spray. Yet the most striking visual as hundreds demonstrated outside the pro-Trump gala at D.C.’s National Press Club on Thursday night was this $1,700 nylon inflatable:
The elephant is a veteran of protests. It’s already been to the Washington State Capitol and Capitol Hill, as a favorite prop of the Backbone Campaign—a group from Vashon, Washington, that offers “creative strategies and artful activism tools,” according to its director, Bill Moyer. The goal of the elephant is to generate discussion about “the elephant in the room.”
I asked Moyer to name an elephant in the room as the new administration begins.
“The folks who really deserve change—and voted for Trump to get change—aren’t going to get the kind of change they want,” he said.
But Moyer and his friend Kevin Zeese, co-director of the Occupy offshoot Popular Resistance, had more immediate concerns than the Trumpocalypse: keeping the elephant inflated by guarding its butt zipper.
“We’ve already had one incident tonight where one of the fascists unzipped the rear,” Zeese said.
A little after 9 p.m., though, the elephant was deflated by something more mundane than fascist saboteurs: Its wind fans ran out of batteries.