Think everyone who marched on Saturday was a liberal coastal elite? Think again.

Rebekah DeFreest was holding court with four of her fellow Women's Marchers in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, when five college-age men with Trump signs taped to their chests came by looking for a laugh — or a fight.

The standoff rapidly devolved into a screaming match. But DeFreest was determined to get into their heads.

"I pulled all of the men aside and we talked for probably half an hour. Some other protestors came up and encouraged the conversation, thanked them for coming out," DeFreest says.


DeFreest talks with Trump supporters. Photo courtesy of Rebekah DeFreest.

Bethlehem isn't Washington, D.C., and DeFreest isn't a Democrat. She voted for Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson. But her concern about what a Trump administration might do for the environment and Planned Parenthood, which saved her life by detecting her cervical cancer twice, led her to her local Women's March — in a city of 75,000 in a county that barely went for Hillary Clinton in the heart of coal country.

Attendance at Saturday's Women's Marches across the country — totaling around 3.2 million, according to a FiveThirtyEight estimate — surprised even many of the event's organizers.

Early reports of high turnout in D.C., New York, and Los Angeles prompted snap accusations that the march was a vanity project for "wealthy coastal elites." Unsurprisingly, the rally generated its biggest crowds in large urban areas in states won by Clinton.

But the proliferation of smaller rallies in red states — from Fairbanks, Alaska, to Sarasota, Florida — where marchers didn't have the luxury of preaching solely to the like-minded, are a signal that the movement has surprising strength and organizational seeds beyond its urban core.

Retired educator Linda Houston helped organize a march in her hometown of Wooster, Ohio — population 26,384.

Houston, a longtime Democratic activist and former local officeholder, was surprised at the turnout in a town she describes as leaning red.

"The last time I remember that many people was during the Vietnam War, so that was a long, long time ago," she says.

Houston (right) with the Wooster march planning committee. Photo courtesy of Linda Houston.

Some attendees were motivated by issues with particular local impact.

"Utah is gorgeous. It’s absolutely beautiful here. We have amazing outdoors, but we have some of the worst air quality in the entire country," says Katie Dabling, who marched in Ogden, Utah, despite a snowstorm that shut down roads and transit in the area. She worries that the Trump administration will gut environmental regulations and make health care less accessible for many in her state.

Utah is one of 19 states that refused to implement the Affordable Care Act's Medicaid expansion, stranding many of her friends and leaving members of her family trapped in the law's "gray area" — with an income too high to qualify for traditional Medicaid but too low to afford insurance on the ACA exchange. She fears the government won't patch the hole.

Some marchers in these small heartland towns and cities saw them as life rafts for their neighbors who might feel like they're the "only one."

Dabling, who grew up Mormon and has many friends and loved ones who have come out as LGBTQ only to lose their faith community, marched to remind them and America that her state and hometown aren't homogenous.

The Ogden rally, which had to compete with a snowstorm. Photo courtesy of Katie Dabling.

"Don’t count the little states out, or the red states, because definitely there’s people like me here who are angry, who didn’t want what’s going on to happen, and there’s just a lot of work to do," Dabling says.

"Do I have hope? Only if we continue with this," Houston says.

Houston is already organizing with a group of local residents to lobby their congressman against repealing the ACA. Traveling to his office will require securing care for her husband, who has Parkinson's disease, but she believes the stakes are too high to skip the trip.

Rallygoers in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Photo courtesy of Rebekah DeFreest.

"I have a granddaughter that I worry about constantly. And I keep telling her, ‘You’re important for who you are,'" she says.

DeFreest hopes to continue talking to the Trump supporters she met at the rally. After a wide-ranging debate over birth control, abortion, and public welfare programs, she invited them to join a Facebook group she started called "Finding Common Ground." The rules: Be informed and back up your points with facts from neutral sources.

All five joined.

"The next step is dialogue, and not hate or bashing," she says. "And if we could have good constructive conversations, like we did with them, we’d be able to break down so many boundaries."

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I'm staring at my screen watching the President of the United States speak before a stadium full of people in North Carolina. He launches into a lie-laced attack on Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, and the crowd boos. Soon they start chanting, "Send her back! Send her back! Send her back!"

The President does nothing. Says nothing. He just stands there and waits for the crowd to finish their outburst.

WATCH: Trump rally crowd chants 'send her back' after he criticizes Rep. Ilhan Omar www.youtube.com

My mind flashes to another President of the United States speaking to a stadium full of people in North Carolina in 2016. A heckler in the crowd—an old man in uniform holding up a TRUMP sign—starts shouting, disrupting the speech. The crowd boos. Soon they start chanting, "Hillary! Hillary! Hillary!"

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via EarthFix / Flickr

What will future generations never believe that we tolerated in 2019?

Dolphin and orca captivity, for sure. They'll probably shake their heads at how people died because they couldn't afford healthcare. And, they'll be completely mystified at the amount of food some people waste while others go starving.

According to Biological Diversity, "An estimated 40 percent of the food produced in the United States is wasted every year, costing households, businesses and farms about $218 billion annually."

There are so many things wrong with this.

First of all it's a waste of money for the households who throw out good food. Second, it's a waste of all of the resources that went into growing the food, including the animals who gave their lives for the meal. Third, there's something very wrong with throwing out food when one in eight Americans struggle with hunger.

Supermarkets are just as guilty of this unnecessary waste as consumers. About 10% of all food waste are supermarket products thrown out before they've reached their expiration date.

Three years ago, France took big steps to combat food waste by making a law that bans grocery stores from throwing away edible food.According to the new ordinance, stores can be fined for up to $4,500 for each infraction.

Previously, the French threw out 7.1 million tons of food. Sixty-seven percent of which was tossed by consumers, 15% by restaurants, and 11% by grocery stores.

This has created a network of over 5,000 charities that accept the food from supermarkets and donate them to charity. The law also struck down agreements between supermarkets and manufacturers that prohibited the stores from donating food to charities.

"There was one food manufacturer that was not authorized to donate the sandwiches it made for a particular supermarket brand. But now, we get 30,000 sandwiches a month from them — sandwiches that used to be thrown away," Jacques Bailet, head of the French network of food banks known as Banques Alimentaires, told NPR.

It's expected that similar laws may spread through Europe, but people are a lot less confident at it happening in the United States. The USDA believes that the biggest barrier to such a program would be cost to the charities and or supermarkets.

"The logistics of getting safe, wholesome, edible food from anywhere to people that can use it is really difficult," the organization said according to Gizmodo. "If you're having to set up a really expensive system to recover marginal amounts of food, that's not good for anybody."

Plus, the idea may seem a little too "socialist" for the average American's appetite.

"The French version is quite socialist, but I would say in a great way because you're providing a way where they [supermarkets] have to do the beneficial things not only for the environment, but from an ethical standpoint of getting healthy food to those who need it and minimizing some of the harmful greenhouse gas emissions that come when food ends up in a landfill," Jonathan Bloom, the author of American Wasteland, told NPR.

However, just because something may be socialist doesn't mean it's wrong. The greater wrong is the insane waste of money, damage to the environment, and devastation caused by hunger that can easily be avoided.

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