In case you haven’t guessed it yet, this is a fairly political blog post. You can skip if you’re not into that kind of thing. Also contains rampant feminism.
I am marching in Los Angeles tomorrow. I don’t own any feminist t-shirts or anything, so I plan to wear my Suffragette white with the purple and green pin I made for election day. I have a banner, too, if I ever manage to finish it. It will say “No woman should wish or work for the success of a party that ignores her sex,” in as close a copy as I can get to the 1920s picture. It will be fabric, too, for easy transport on the train.
I have had a lot of – well, not exactly fights. Heated discussions? – with Trump supporters who claim that there was a HUGE backlash against him when he said he wouldn’t accept the results of the election, and now those same people won’t accept the results of the election themselves. And that it’s stupid to go and protest. What are we even protesting?
So I thought, since I think better with my fingers than my mouth, that I would explain why I’m marching tomorrow. And that’s the first thing I want to emphasize. I’m not protesting anything. I’m marching in solidarity with the women in my community.
The reason is this:
Humans of New York went to Detroit and talked to a bunch of people there after the election. The one that struck me the most was posted on November 20, with a woman in a green anorak looking out at a river. The quote above the picture was this: “I’ve had friends reach out to me. They’ve told me: ‘I understand the reasons that you’re upset. But those aren’t the reasons I voted for him.’ And I’m just starting to understand that. I’m realizing that a lot of people wanted change more than they wanted kids not to cry. We all have our own code of ethics. My bottom line happened to be tolerance. Their bottom line was abortion. Or the Supreme Court. I guess we all have the right to choose our own bottom line.”
I was desperately aggrieved when Trump won, and part of it is because of what that lady in the green jacket said. My right as a woman to exist safely in a public place was not the bottom line for many people. The fact that Trump assaulted women and then bragged about it was not enough to disqualify him for them. They wanted change more than they wanted women to not be molested. That’s certainly their right to choose. I don’t dispute that. But the fact that my safety comes second to anything at all, and that there are a LOT of people who feel that way, feels like a death. A death of progress, a death of protection from indecency, a death of the esteem I held for those people who I believed better of.
At the heart of it, that’s really why I’m marching. I’m marching with women who are my friends and relatives to show them that I value their safety as MY bottom line. that we will stubbornly value each other together. And I’m marching to say to Trump and everyone in his new administration that comments they have made in the past are unacceptable. If they try and take my safety away from me or those in my community (regardless of gender, orientation, or color), this is the polite version of what they can expect the future to look like.
I’m not protesting the election. I’m not trying to say that Trump is not my president. I’m trying to acknowledge that he IS the president, for better or worse, and that we now have to strive every day to hold him to the standards we expect of someone in that office, no matter how difficult or impossible that seems.
I’m marching because it gives me something to do with this grief, and it gives me hope that we are a people who are, collectively, better than our current government.
To everyone else who is going tomorrow: I look forward to seeing you there.
And to those of you who feel you must skip out: I respect that, and I hope that if things get harrier you will consider standing with us next time.