Some readers may be offended by this post. To them I can say only, “I may be wrong.” But there was nowhere else I would have rather been last Saturday morning than the women’s march in Oakland, CA. As my daughter, grandson and I rode the train there, we reminisced on other marches we’d done:
- When the NRA insisted on holding its convention in Denver shortly after the Columbine tragedy, the mayor asked them not to come. They came anyway; we encircled their hotel, then heard speakers like Tom Mauser, whose son Daniel had died at Columbine, plead for sane gun control. A rabbi who offered opening prayer said he usually wouldn’t do this on the Sabbath, but his children begged him to.
- The Million Mom March continued to demand gun control, this time in Washington, DC.
- At another time, we marched against war in Iraq.
One might well ask whether these marches accomplished anything. Maybe not, but I couldn’t live with myself if I didn’t at least try.
So too on Saturday Jan. 21, the energy was contagious and spirits were lifted for the long haul ahead. It was the first march for my three grandchildren there, ages 1 to 5. Some of my favorite signs were: “I’ve seen better cabinets at Ikea,” “Boomers back to the streets!” “It’s so bad, even the introverts are here,” “Melania–it’s not too late. You can still join us!” “ReSISTERS” Creativity, humor and hope are a fine combination.
But something more was afoot. One woman began planning with 12 moms in a living room, hoping they’d get 500 people to turn out in their little town. Instead, they got 10,000. The New York Times photos from around the world were heartening, and hard to deny: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/01/21/world/womens-march-pictures.html
In retrospect, I think we marched:
- for the women of Syria, desperately seeking safe harbors for their children
- for the women of Africa, traveling long distances for clean water
- for the women of the U.S. inner cities, pounding the pavements for medical care or jobs.
The South African saying, “you have struck the women; you have struck the rock,” seems relevant. Brisk bureaucratic maneuvering, the trappings of power, and executive orders may appear to succeed for a time, but they tangle with a formidable force. I wouldn’t want to oppose the strength of those who took to the streets in wheelchairs or with strollers, with friends and signs and songs. “Still we rise,” said Maya Angelou. When misogyny, racism, threats to the planet, homophobia and bigotry rear their ugly heads, we resist.