Sunday, January 21, 2018
BTRTN: On the Women's March: You May Say I'm a Dreamer, But I'm Not the Only One
Tom reflects on the Women’s March, Year Two.
Yesterday marked the one year anniversary of the Trump Administration and, technically, the one day anniversary of the government shutdown. I say, technically, because it feels like the government has been shut down for quite some time, a year, in fact, having shut down the possibilities of “yes” for the darkness of “no.”
No health care for many, no immigration for some, no Paris Accords, no regulations to protect our environment, no help for Puerto Rico, no global leadership, no truth, no trust, no freedom of the press, no integrity and not a modicum of decorum. And so much more, in the dreary daily assault on our sensibilities, our bedrock institutions, and our belief in America’s place in the world.
So it was truly inspiring to spend a day with thousands of others in what was both a massive venting exercise as well as a call to action. Some were worried that Women’s March 2.0 might suffer in comparison to the first edition a year ago. But now we know exactly who we are fighting, we have crystallized why, and we are galvanized in our opposition. The New York City march was its usual melting pot of races, origins and generations, with signs by the thousands covering the gamut of disgust and aspiration, and chants to match. But it was a massive and unified force that took to the streets, and an amazing next chapter in march annals.
My overwhelming takeaway was that this massive crowd of marchers was a political machine putting itself through its paces in readiness for a war this November. The shot has been fired across the bow in this past year, in national elections from Virginia and New Jersey to Alabama; a number of Congressional special elections where Democrats challenged mightily in races won by the GOP in 2016 by 20+ points; in state legislature races in Virginia and Washington; and in local races like the one for County Executive in my home of Westchester County, New York, in which the GOP incumbent, who won by +8 in 2013, was crushed by +17 by his Democratic challenger in 2017, the victim of a steamroller driven by members of our local Indivisible organization.
My favorite signs were thus focused: “Grab ‘Em By The Midterms” was one. “It’s 2018: Do You Know Which Congressional Race You Will Volunteer For?” was another. These people were not just protesting. They were organizing, taking names and numbers, demanding commitment and action, agitating for results.
Oh sure, there were thousands of anti-Trump signs. There were chants and songs about grievance. There was the requisite mass-bird-flipping at the various Trump monstrosities as we passed them along our march route in New York City. But it was much more than that.
You may say I’m a dreamer. I choose to see the Trump Administration as a last gasp, an aberration, a one-term setback before the arc in that moral universe bends back yet again, and unrelentingly, toward justice. But I’m not the only one. Millions came out yesterday around the globe and we marched with one overriding goal: winning elections.
I hope someday you’ll join us. And get us out of this shithole for good.