After marching in D.C for the Women’s March on Washington I’ve heard a lot and read a lot about what the march did and did not represent. For me, the experience was eye-opening and surreal. You had your handful of silly marchers who wore the vulva suits and hats, and you had your batch of people who were simply there to say they were, and then you had the rest of us. The men and women who were there for the overarching principle: inclusivity, equality, and justice for all walks of life. It wasn’t a pro-abortion march. Not even close. It was pro-choice in the sense that the majority of marchers believed it is a women’s decision how she handles anything and everything that has to do with her body. There were people marching who were against abortion but they respected the difference of opinion of the person standing next to them. That’s the thing–it was an incredibly respectful crowd. Everyone became friends that day. No one pushed anyone, no one trampled over anyone, very few people even cut in line for the restrooms. At the risk of sounding completely bias, it was magic. I’ve never seen anything like it. The crowd constantly erupted in cheer and chants were continuous, but there was also a silence among us. While the media and those that disagree with us want to paint the picture that this was a “kill all the babies” march, there were broader issues at hand.
We talked about the lives of immigrants and how our country has thrived due to their hands. We talked about racial tensions and how there is still white superiority today. And that’s true–even if it makes you uncomfortable. We did speak a lot of women’s issues, but I don’t think people understand what exactly are women’s issues. Yes, it has a lot to do with reproductive rights and access to healthcare specific to our bodies. And yes, it has a lot to do with the pay gap that differs based on the color of skin you have as a women. But as women we are mothers and sisters and daughters and, because of that, all the issues we spoke of that day were in fact women’s issues.
I have been following Kamala Harris for about a year now and I am deeply interested in where her career takes her. I hope it takes her to the White House, but either way I believe she’ll always have an important role in our democracy. In her speech she argued that not only is healthcare a women’s issue, but national security is a women’s issue as well as the economy, immigration, and criminal justice reform. We want everyone to have access to healthcare. We want our sons and daughters safe from an unjust war and if they do need to serve they are being treated well; we need good paying jobs to raise our families–the economy is important to us; we do not want families ripped apart and kids placed into a foster system while their parents are deported, and we want our police officers protected and trained and valued along with our children being protected and valued, particularly our sons. All of these issues are important to us.
This march was a coming together to speak out against policies that have been presented or discussed on Washington: stop & frisk, ban on a religion from entering our country (Trump wasted no time putting this in place), trying to overhaul Medicaid and repeal the ACA while it covers more children than anyone else, bringing forth stereotypes of immigrants, Muslims, and even our own inner cities. These are not inclusive words that should be spouted from the president. He works for whomever cheers the loudest while he should be working for all the people. Just because someone is president does not mean that we need to respect him as a person and applaud his every move. And, believe me, I know that’s true. I’ve watched and listened as people for the past eight years have torn apart the Obama family. They didn’t have to like them. He was still a president for all people, no matter how much hate got pushed his way. That’s being presidential. Making the tough call based on evidence and facts and data and analysis, not based on the news network that reports you most favorable. A president who shouts, “Fake News!” to all who disagree with him and then makes his right-hand man a former CEO of the biggest fake news outlet seems a bit convoluted, but it’s not the distraction he’s hoping for. His actions are louder than any of his nonsensical tweets. And so the march was also to say, “we see you, we hear you, we’re watching, we’re not backing down.”
The off-the-wall judgements and accusations about our march are to be expected. I appreciate the criticisms because they show a character that may have been hidden before. The people who were most critical are the same ones who were calling for Obama’s impeachment up until January 19, 2017. They are also the ones who seem to be cheering on the Muslim ban that was just put into place by Trump and his sidekick, Steve Bannon. National security and border control is a real issue that should be and always is addressed by the president. Although Trump has made it so that people with a Green Card are being held up in airports and unable to travel back to their home. Yes, their home here in America. A person cannot immigrate here and become a contributing citizen (what people seem to demand as they sit on their ass) without a chance to actually move here and become a contributing citizen. This ban conveniently leaves out the areas where Trump has business ties, but those same areas are the ones where terrorists have actually killed Americans on our soil. It’s all about being a show boat. He likes the cheers from his crowd and the more deplorable his moves are, the louder and prouder they become.
This country is divided, but I don’t think it’s split in half as much as it may seem. I do believe that most Americans see past the narcissistic behavior from our current president and know that Steve Bannon has no business on the National Security Council. The wall is an unnecessary and pointless bill for the taxpayers (Mexico is not paying for it) and the current ban on Muslim nations is the start of tearing down what this country represents. He didn’t deport and ban undocumented immigrants. These are Green Card holders and refugees who have been vetted and cleared.
I am happy that I was part of the face of a movement. The grassroots organizations that have taken shape, as well as the direction of the march came together before January 21st. That all started November 9th. But the march was when we all got together. We had the opportunity to network. We had the opportunity to hear stories from outside of our comfort zone. I can only hope that the march was the beginning of a coming together of like-minded individuals and the start of a movement was put into action to save the face of this country. I believe this was only the beginning. But I fear that it was the last hoorah before complete and utter chaos ensues and destruction follows. The ban and this presidency are only temporary, but how much can go wrong in the next four years? Luckily, I am confident in the millions of everyday Americans who have created or joined grassroots organizations and are getting their hands dirty, holding officials accountable, and taking notes.
The march is something to be proud of while our president is not.
Many people are referring to this as the theme song from the march. I didn’t have the luck to hear it in person and most live clips cut the beginning off, but luckily Samantha Bee took notice and had them on her show.
If you would like to follow along with the Women’s March on Washington movement, click here