The Women are Marching
I’m not one for protesting. What troubles me, to be blunt, is the utility of shuffling along a street somewhere. What does it tangibly accomplish? What changes afterwords? I’m a skeptic in all things, and organized complaining doesn’t seem to solve problems. Walking a mile in downtown St.Louis with twenty thousand women has changed my mind. To be blunt, this was a spiritual experience to me. The depravity of this election – boasts of sexual assault, sinister personal attacks, lies almost too varied and expansive to fully catalog – didn’t make me outraged, rather, it made me powerfully depressed. We’re truly in trouble, I thought, and what’s done by the Republican monolith in all branches of government will have permanent consequences. Our stable economy, now, no longer quaking from the sub-prime earthquake that nearly destroyed us, might crumble once again under the strain of expanded military efforts combined with sweeping tax cuts (a recipe first perfected by the second Bush administration.) These are practical concerns, and they aren’t changed by a leisurely waddle down main street, I grant you, but what was the cultural cost of Trump’s election? What message did it send to our daughters? How could American women rebound after such a crushing defeat?
What I saw at the march was a grizzled resiliency. Women are accustomed to the ebb and flow of setback, after setback, and they don’t quit. They aren’t quivering in fear, nor are they wallowing in liberal despair, like I was. They were emboldened to speak, and they heeded a clear call to action. I overheard, no less than three separate times, conversations from girls and women who were protesting for the first time. They’re awake, and their resolve is evocative and uncommon. The light is always brighter, and the color is always more vivid in our camp rather than theirs. Inclusion always beats exclusion in the end, and if you’re filled with doubt, like me, never forget that this battle is a losing one for the other side.
Half a million people marched on Washington, two days after President Trump was inaugurated. Sister demonstrations sprung up in St.Louis, Boston, Chicago, San Diego, and even Boise, Idaho. It wasn’t just confined to the United States:
“Worldwide some 670 marches were planned, according to the organizers’ website which says more than two million marchers are expected to protest against Trump, who was sworn in as the 45th U.S. president on Friday.
Celebrities including rights activist Bianca Jagger, singer Charlotte Church and actor Ian McKellen expressed their support for the protest on social media.
Several marchers wore pink “pussy” hats, and carried banners with slogans like: “this pussy bites back” after the emergence of a 2005 tape in which Trump spoke of women in a demeaning way sparked widespread outrage.
In Europe, marches also took place in Berlin, Paris, Rome, Vienna, Geneva and Amsterdam.
Around 2,000 people marched in Vienna, according to estimates by the police and organizers, but sub-zero temperatures quickly thinned the crowd to a couple of hundred.” [Reuters]
The wounds that this divisive election cycle opened up are still stinging. It’s all too easy to forget that you aren’t alone. The isolation was mind-numbing, and in many ways, I don’t believe I’ve fully shaken it off. Republicans won the White House. Republicans won the Senate and the House. Beset on all sides by the advances of neo-isolationism, sexism, and racism. It’s hard to believe things will be alright in the end. I expected a funeral mood – Roe v. Wade is going to be in danger, the highest glass ceiling still remains unbroken, and a greasy beauty-pageant financier beat out a qualified female diplomat for the most prestigious office in our nation. What I saw, instead of mourning, was excitement and energy. I saw renewal and vigor. Crucially, I saw focus, not on moaning about the results of this election, but of winning back the Senate in two years time. Ladies, your poise, your leadership, and your dignity under duress is truly remarkable.