On Saturday, January 21, 2017, I joined thousands of others at a Women’s March on Washington “Sister Rally” in St. Louis, Missouri. I left the rally sore and exhausted (at my age and physical condition, miles-long walks and long periods of standing will to that to you). But moreso, I left the rally encouraged, validated, and energized.
It was heartening to see the wide tapestry of people who participated in the march. Men, women, boys, girls, even a few pets. Black, white, Asian, gay, straight, Muslim, Christian — they were all there. Women held signs with sayings such as “Keep your laws off my uterus!” and “Pussy bites back!” One man held a sign that said “I’m a Bad Hombre married to a Nasty Woman.” One young boy held a sign that said “I’m being raised to treat women with respect.” Little girls held signs saying “I can’t believe we still have to march for our rights.”
So why did I march? I’m an English-speaking, American-by-birth, culturally Christian white man; in a practical sense, I have the least to lose from the Trump regime. Shouldn’t I have just stayed at home and let the march play on without me?
I marched for my wife, who, as a woman, deserves to be treated with the utmost respect. Treating women with respect means you don’t grab them “by the p***y” and brag about it. And it means you don’t tolerate someone who does brag about it holding the highest office in the land.
I marched for my nieces, who range in age from pre-adolescents to adult women. They deserve to live in, and grow up in, a world where men and boys don’t feel empowered to commit sexual assault against them just because the President of the United States thinks sexual assault is a joke. I marched because my nieces may someday want or need to take birth control, and they should have that right. I marched because my nieces may someday be put into a position where, regretfully, they have an unwanted pregnancy and believe that abortion is their only option, and I believe they should have that right (and not be jailed for it, as Trump once suggested).
I marched for my nephews, the youngest of whom are in their early teens and, a few years from now, will be registering for the draft. I fear that Trump will, by then, have tweeted us into another war, and they’ll be conscripted into fighting for a cause they neither understand nor believe in, thanks to a President who can’t keep his mouth shut.
I marched for my gay friends, who stand a very real chance of being denied their right to marry whom they love.
I marched for my black friends, who have been told, through the rhetoric of this campaign (and concerted efforts in some states to keep them from voting), that they are second-class citizens, whose lives and votes don’t matter.
I marched for my Muslim friends, who have been labeled by the Trump regime as terrorists, and who face the very real possibility of increased surveillance, or even registries and internment camps and deportation simply because of their religion.
But mostly, I marched for myself. Not because I have any iron in this fire, so to speak. But since Election Day, I’ve been depressed and fearful about the future of my country. Being surrounded by tens of thousands of like-minded people helped me feel better, at least for those few hours. I left St. Louis yesterday knowing that not just in St. Louis, but all across the country, millions of women, men, boys, and girls are not going to let the Trump administration march all over their rights.
It was worth it.
[Featured Image by Jeff Roberson/AP Photo]