“People say it won’t get that bad,” my friend Penny who’s studied political science told me recently, “but it can! This isn’t Nazi Germany. But the upcoming Trump era is a lot like Germany in the 1930s.”
Millions of us nationwide are frightened at the dawn of Donald J. Trump’s presidency. But we’re not going to be immobilized by our fear. We’re going to cast a spotlight on bigotry, misogyny and heartlessness. On Jan. 21, the day after Trump’s inauguration, hundreds of thousands of women from across the country will come to the nation’s capital for the Women’s March on Washington.
It appears, by some estimates, that there will be as many or even more people at the march as there will be at the inauguration of the 45th president. Local marches in support of the WMW will be held throughout the country from Tallahassee, Fla. to San Diego. Though it’s called the Women’s March, men are welcome to participate. The WMW “is for any person, regardless of gender or gender identity, who believes women’s rights are human rights,” according to the March website.
I write this as Trump vows to repeal the Affordable Care Act (which provides health insurance for some 20 million people) and, on the weekend of Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, demeans Rep. John Lewis, a revered icon of the civil rights movement. That’s just the beginning of the litany of injustice that the upcoming Trump administration has planned for us. Trump’s promised to appoint Supreme Court justices who could roll-back abortion rights for women or possibly undo marriage equality. Mike Pence, his vice president, and Tom Price, his Health and Human Services Secretary nominee, are anti-LGBT. Steve Bannon, with alt-right ties, is his chief strategist. There’s that wall that Trump insists is needed to secure our borders. And who could forget, the “I grabbed them by the pussy” video?
Our communities are hurting and scared, the WMW mission statement says, “the rhetoric of the past election cycle has insulted, demonized and threatened many of us – immigrants of all statuses, Muslims and those of diverse religious faiths, people who identify as LGBTQIA, Native people, Black and Brown people, people with disabilities, survivors of sexual assault.”
“In the spirit of democracy and honoring the champions of human rights, dignity and justice who have come before us,” the mission statement continues, “we join in diversity to show our presence in numbers too great to ignore. The Women’s March on Washington will send a bold message to our new government on its first day in office.”
It’s important not to get lost in rhetoric. Human lives and hardship are at stake here. In the 1950s, my mother who had Type-1 diabetes, for health reasons had to have an abortion. Because this was before Roe v. Wade, she had to live with the emotional fall-out of going across state lines to have the abortion. Do we want to go back there? Some of my queer friends are rushing to get married because they fear that under a Trump administration, same-sex marriage could become illegal. Do we want to go there? Rep. John Lewis was brutally beaten in Selma. How will we live in an era when Jeff Sessions, likely to become our next Attorney General, could very well significantly weaken civil rights protections? Will we stand up against a president who’s mocked disabled people?
Injustice is up close and personal. Queer people could be hit hard “if laws protecting LGBTIQ people from discrimination in…housing, jobs, etc. are annulled,” Catholic, lesbian, feminist theologian and co-director, Women’s Alliance for theology, Ethics, and Ritual, Mary E. Hunt emailed me.
Let’s be real. The march, however unifying and on-message, won’t be enough by itself to stop Trump’s presidency from being unjust. But it will be a powerful launching point for our long fight against injustice. Here’s to WMW!
Kathi Wolfe, a writer and a poet, is a regular contributor to the Blade.