(Published in MEANDERINGS in the BUTTE WEEKLY January 25, 2017)
I probably should preface this. I was raised by a single mother. I have three daughters. My maternal grandmother is still alive, as are all my aunts, and female cousins and nieces too. My family network has a few Y chromosomes, but a whole lotta double-Xs. And these women, every one of them, matter to me.
One of my facebook friends posted this in his status on Saturday: “Can someone inform me why all this woman marching shit is going on? Has any right been taken away? What is the deal?”
It’s incredible to me to think that somebody might believe more than 3 million Americans would participate in the Women’s March this weekend without good reasons. The standard right-wing trope is that all the bleeding heart liberals and their sissy-pants supporters are brainwashed by the liberal media and the march is simply sour grapes because Hillary lost.
President Trump even tweeted: “Watched protests yesterday but was under the impression that we just had an election! Why didn't these people vote?” Oh, they voted. I believe Hillary won the popular vote by just about 3 million votes. Most people, not just women, who end up marching to make their voices heard are not the same folks who bow out on election day.
But this was more than sour grapes. Women in the USA organized these marches to remind us to stand up for each other, and to pay heed to the spectre of what seems to be on the horizon in the Trump Administration. Women of every class and station, along with other groups who’ve been fighting for and making strides toward gaining equal rights, stand to suffer the most in the days to come.
While women have made positive strides during the last 30 years, even standing on the brink of occupying the Whitehouse, the conditions my mother and daughters face are still alarming, especially for a fiercely protective son and father.
Inequalities in the workplace in terms of opportunity and pay; underrepresentation in government at all levels (especially in Congress); threats to basic reproductive rights and basic healthcare; alarming rates of sexual assault and partner violence; and, once more, the spectre of dramatic reversals on the small gains made over the last 30 years; these are a few of the reasons they marched.
It’s funny. When the protests were organized under the Tea Party banner, it was patriotic. But if you protest wearing a pink hat, you’re a nasty woman. I love that Butte sent 2 busses to Helena full of nasty women to speak and stand up for the rights of all Montanans, especially our mothers, sisters, and daughters.
The Women's March was not simply a march for women. The march was women leading us and reminding us to stand up for each other. Sure, there were idiots--aren't there always idiots? Most of the people I know who marched were salt-of-the-earth, hardworking, caring, strong, intelligent, and good human beings. Look at the faces in these pictures, for goodness sake. These people aren't whackos. They are mothers and daughters and grandmothers and granddaughters, and I see a few brothers in the picture too.
To my Facebook friend, who I know is also a father to a beautiful young daughter: they marched because they’re frightened and they’re pissed off. When your leader shows little to no real regard for the well-being of over half the population, indeed, when he has a history of doing and saying things that are harmful to women, then it becomes time for fathers, brothers, husbands, and friends stand in solidarity ready to do whatever is required to ensure our people are protected and safe.
To the Nasty Women of Butte: I'm proud of your action, not dismayed by it. I stand with you, for you, and next to you. And if you need me too, I'll stand in front of you to protect. If you need me to fall back and follow, I’ll be right behind you. I’ll be standing next to Pat Ryan so it’ll be hard to miss us.