If there was any great takeaway – beyond awe and admiration – from the millions of women and the people who love them marching and rallying Jan. 21 in Washington D.C., Orlando, St. Petersburg – and the state, nation and world – it was that we’re more alike than we think.
Arm in arm with those marching for equal pay and for reproductive rights were people from the Black Lives Matter movement, the Latinx movement, various environmental causes and, of course, those of us draped in rainbows hoping that our LGBTQ victories will not be tossed aside by a president with only money (and unmentionables) on his mind.
And yes, it’s easy from these far-flung stands on the left to resort to superficial mockery of our newly inaugurated president – his affectation for tacky décor, his revolving door of wives, his financial holdings and the scandals that go with them, his hair – but that’s not what Saturday was really about.
“This is an outpouring of energy and true democracy like I have never seen in my very long life,” feminist hero Gloria Steinem said from the stage early in the morning. “It is wide in age. It is deep in diversity. And remember, the Constitution does not begin with ‘I, the president.’ It begins with ‘We, the people.’ So don’t try to divide us. If you force Muslims to register, we will all register as Muslims. I know that there are women here from corporations and media and all kinds of places that make it risky for you to say what you care about, what you feel and what you support.”
President Trump was not amused, bigly. He went on to defund Planned Parenthood International, thereby silencing that organization’s ability to spread family planning and health information globally. However, you may be able to take away the infrastructure, but you cannot dissolve the concern of people who, with genuine hearts and minds, aim to help people on a face-to-face basis. The reverberations of his cabinet appointments are a map to doomsday, but, alas, millions around the world aren’t going to be stopped from aiding the needs of individuals.
A woman named Lindsay Fontana told Watermark, “We’re here today because I’m raising the next generation of women to be empowered,” she said. “And sitting in front of the television and crying is not going to change the future. We’ve got to get our boots on the pavement.”
The boots of women and the boots of other minorities come in the same sizes, and they showed up by the millions on Saturday to press that point home. We will not be ignored.
This week’s Watermark, as usual, comes with an underlying theme of empowerment and terror. Our cover feature covers the intersectionality of LGBTQ causes with those of women fighting for reproductive rights. It is the same governmental terror squad that’s being employed to damage the rights of both, after all – and we’re not just talking Trump. There’s a strategy coming from conservatives who are afraid of progressing (there, I said it) that is mirrored between both communities. Stick an amendment silently into a bill that makes, say, a new anti-trans bathroom law or diminishes the life of a woman in favor of the fetus she is medically carrying. None of this bluster has science to back it up, but once again, congress is filing a bill to make a life viable at the time of conception. We are, indeed, worshipping the crusty towels next to our beds. Oh, what a world.
Elsewhere, you’ll find both of our Viewpoint columnists, Maia Monet and Miguel Fuller, take umbrage at the dissolutions of decency within conservative legislatures and the presidency, from bathrooms to education. That sound your hearing from the crowd is one of unrest. It’s also a hopeful sound, because at least when we look each other in the eyes, assembled in crowds of millions, we remember that this is our country more than it is that of Congress or that of one Donald J. Trump. Things are warming up. Let’s keep on moving.