I had the distinct pleasure of participating in the Women’s March on Washington in Washington, DC today. The women were quite magnanimous; none were bothered by the fact that I am not a woman.
Despite the gloomy, overcast weather and slight chill in the air, the rally before the actual march had a festive atmosphere, despite the fact that the gathering was in protest of the recently installed President Donald Trump. That isn’t to say that there was no evidence of anger, or even militancy, over people’s concerns about the new president, but there was a prevailing attitude of political action and holding those in power accountable as opposed to undirected frustration and rage. These folks intend to turn their frustration into socially positive action, and this event sought to make clear that our new President will be held accountable for his actions.
The impetus for this march – which ended up becoming a global event instead of a local DC event – was President Trump’s very clearly articulated disdain for women, his braggadociaous references to sexual assault, and his stated intent to attack women’s reproductive rights. The idea of a protest march caught on quickly, and though it continued to be called the Women’s March the issues supported were not restricted to women’s issues. Today a wide range of concerns we aired, all of which were driven by statements made by the President during his campaign. Additional topics included immigration, environmental regulation, LGBTQ rights, climate change, religious liberty, and protection of civil liberties, just to name a few of the concerns.
This action continues to be poo-pooed by Trump supporters as pouting by the losing team. Certainly it isn’t a new thing for members of the party that lost an election to be upset about losing, but this is more than a pity party. This march, and its mirror marches across the globe, address very real concerns generated by the very real divisive, mean-spirited comments and promises made by Trump during his campaign. He very directly threatened every concern on display at the march. Many of his proposals are direct violations of law, and all seek to further disenfranchise minority populations. Well, except women – they are not a minority population.
Planners expected a turnout of about 200,000 people in DC alone. Some estimates for actual turnout were as high as 500,000. There was some initial difficulty in getting the march started due to the unexpectedly large number of attendees. It also appears that the number of people at this march was far more than the number of attendees at the actual inauguration. Trump was a wildly unpopular president on day one, and if today’s events are any indication he has a very long road ahead of him if he ever wants to win over the people of this country.
This march doesn’t change the fact that he is the President, but it did seek to galvanize resistance to his most deplorable policy positions. And that resistance, according to many with whom I spoke, will not be limited to protests, but will include political action and routine interaction with elected representatives to ensure that ALL citizens are represented and guaranteed their fundamental rights. If there is anything positive to be taken from Trump’s election, it is that it has spurred people to become more knowledgeable and more politically involved.
If you didn’t attend, you can still get involved. CALL your representatives and make sure they know where you stand on civil rights and civil liberties.
We can’t afford to sit this one out.