I’ve had mixed feelings about the Women’s March on Washington (WMW).
It started more as a disorganized reaction grounded in denial and outrage to Donald Trump’s election than a nationally organized campaign to send a cohesive message to elected officials and the GOP. I was afraid that to the rest of the world and those that elected Donald Trump, it would serve as perfect campaign fodder to label those that supported Hillary Clinton as just angry women.
However, in the past few weeks two things have happened: 1) prominent female activists and critics, such as Gloria Steinem, America Ferrera, Tamika Mallory, and Carmen Perez, have joined the movement bringing the event to the forefront of the public’s eye, and 2) it has been joined by a global chorus of supporters that have organized similar marches to join in the good fight. Now the mission and message is finally clear.
The march for women’s rights is really a march for all human rights. On January 21st millions of women and men across the nation and world will march to not only protest the election of Donald Trump (who lost the popular vote by a historic 2.9 million vote margin) but to protest any and all policies and laws that disenfranchise the marginalized while simultaneously elevating one race, culture, religion or class above all others. It will be a symbolic protest more so than anything else to say “no we do not support your policies, and yes our opinions matter and will not go away quietly.”
Many people say that women are overreacting. That we are being “sore losers” or causing “drama” where none needs to be. That we should all rise above partisan politics and work together for the good of the country. But whose country? For 8 years President Obama and Democrats faced the most obstructionist Congress in American history; so much so that we currently face crises not only in the ability of our government institutions to function but in the faith of our democratic process as well.
Now the GOP wants the American public to forget its hypocrisy and to turn a blind eye to many of the issues popping up under the incoming Trump Administration. They want blanket approval for Ethics. Their plans to repeal Obamacare without a practical replacement in place will not only add $350 Billion to the budget deficit but will leave the nearly 20 million people on insurance through the exchange left out in the cold while another estimated 3 million will lose their jobs. His clear disregard for our intelligence agencies on Russian hacking and interference in our electoral process just further shows his willingness to put country second so Trump can come first.
Trump and his GOP cohorts effectively messaged that President Obama was a horrible president. They lied and belittled him. Made dubious claims about his heritage and used his race to fan the flames of a dying older, white electorate that cowered at the reality of a globalized electorate taking shape before them. He used hate and propaganda to the best of his ability and he won.
But let’s be clear here – Obama helped turned this country around. His legacy does not go untarnished; no one’s ever is, but he made monumental strides. He should be proud of what he accomplished and we should thank him and the communities and elected leaders that stood beside him for all that they have done. Clinton’s election would have expanded upon Obama’s legacy. Instead, we now have to fight like hell to protect it:
With 81 consecutive months of job growth, Obama boasts the longest period of sustained growth on record for any U.S president. He inherited a 7.8% unemployment rate and nearly halved it to 4.7%. His economic policies brought the American economy back from the brink of a Recession that was leading down the path to another Depression. Trump and his GOP party wish to roll back the very policies that kept America from falling further down an economic black hole while reaping the rewards and filling their pockets. This is why I am marching.
As one of his first acts as President, Obama signed into law the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009, which amended the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to allow women and other victims of pay discrimination the chance to effectively challenge unfair pay in the court of law. Trump’s pick for Attorney General, Sen. Jeff Sessions, voted against the Lilly Ledbetter Act as well as the Paycheck Fairness Act. As AG it will be his responsibility to uphold these laws but he will most likely work to roll them back. This is why I am marching.
Obama was a fierce advocate for gay rights during all 8 years of his presidency. In December 2010 he signed legislation repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell allowing for gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military. In 2011 he signed an executive directorate for government agencies to combat LGBTQ rights abuses internationally and in May 2012 he followed Joe Biden’s example and endorsed gay marriage. Trump opposes gay marriage and has promised to roll back many of the pro-LGBTQ regulations Obama put into place to protect the gay and trans communities from employment and social discrimination. This is why I am marching.
Obama’s climate change and renewable energy policies have made him the most progressive president when it came to the environment. He promoted clean energy in agriculture, stricter carbon sequestration requirements in power plants, and pushed for increased funding to raise America’s fuel standards and to increase federally-funded climate, renewable energy, and sustainable research. In 2015 Obama helped push through the Paris Agreement with 200 other nations, the largest international agreement of its kind. Under the Paris Agreement the leading climate polluters promised to lead the effort to curb carbon emissions and institute greater regulations to help protect our global environment. Trump won the Rust Belt based on the promise that he would roll back Obama’s climate deals and bring back jobs to the coal country. Thankfully, this will be one of his hardest campaign promises to make. Many states have implemented their own environmental policies and have integrated renewable energy products and industries into their economies. Nonetheless, Trump’s pick of Rick Perry to lead the Department of Energy, one of the agencies he had sworn to dismantle if elected as president, is cause for concern. It’s easy to assume that big oil has already been whispering in Perry’s ear, gently nudging him to rollback EPA and energy regulations that hurt their industries the most. This is why I am marching.
There are a number of other reasons why I will be marching – from voter right protections to education reform; to reproductive rights and abortion access; to racial tensions and minority disenfranchisement. What matters is that each issue is part of the larger fight against what Trump and the GOP represent.
On January 21, 2017 the Women’s March on Washington will represent a diverse coalition of concerned citizens and community activities. It will be a chance to band together and to show the world that we plan to fight every step of the way to make sure that our rights, everyone’s rights, are not trampled on and undercut. I am proud to be just one of the many joining this fight and I hope that in the coming weeks even more will decide to join.
You can join too! Check out the official WMW page (https://www.womensmarch.com/) for more information. I’ll be joining the fight from San Diego, CA. Hope to see you there!