#MarchOnWashington Wasn't About Sour Grapes
Bigger Than The Inauguration
When I first heard that there was going to be a March On Washington, I was skeptical. There were several tweets from celebrities, such as Debra Messing and Joely Fisher, and I honestly did not think it was going to be as big an event as it ended up being.
I liked the idea of the March. There's always something empowering about people banding together in support of a common purpose or goal. I was just ridiculously ill informed about it, and so, didn't really think the event was going to end up being as huge and as global as it was.
In looking at social media, most specifically Twitter, there are those who believed that the March was simply an outcry - a way of complaining, en masse, once more that Hillary Clinton had lost the election. In doing some research, I found out a few things, and these are significant, given that President Trump's White House page has already seen the removal of the LGBT and civil rights pages, among others, and there are concerns that the notion of equal rights for all is going to take a serious backslide to about the 1950s or so under this current president.
According to the Unity Principles page of www.womensmarch.com, the March on Washington - in addition to the other marches around the globe - was in support of environmental rights, disability rights, LGBTQIA rights, workers' rights, immigrant rights, civil rights, reproductive rights and ending violence. Nowhere in there does it say that "we're still ticked because Hillary lost and we're going to throw a little fit til she gets in." While there were quite likely Democrats in the millions who marched worldwide, that wasn't the overarching goal of the march.
Just A Handful Of Participants
Unity Is Strength
If there was any greater evidence in recent memory that people are stronger together than on their own, the 2017 March on Washington would likely top the list. Memories of the March on Washington with Martin Luther King would certainly have been evoked, but it was the first time in the last 20 years or so that people banded together on a global scale in support of a common goal.
Sure, there were signs of "Not My President" here and there, but the overarching goal was not about that. It was about equality, something that has been fought for over the last 50 years or more. While it's been branded the "Women's March," it's important to remember the issues at hand.
The United States now has a president that is looking to repeal Obamacare, or the Affordable Care Act. This was an act, however flawed it might be, to ensure equal access to care because not everyone could afford it. Repealing Obamacare would effectively make health care something only the rich could afford, and while there were apparently issues with the legislation as passed under Barack Obama's presidency, at least there were efforts made to try an ensure equal access to care for all.
The US President is interested in building walls between nations, has stated support for North Carolina's contentious HB2 law which states that transgender persons must use the bathroom facilities that correspond to the gender they were born with, and once said that climate change was something fabricated by the Chinese, though there is of course a stockpile of evidence to the contrary. The March On Washington was driven by the goal of ensuring that everything that has been fought for over the years does not get taken away by one foul stroke of the pen - or, for that matter, several strokes of the pen.
It was estimated that at least 500,000 were involved in the March On Washington, while two million marched worldwide. Activist Gloria Steinem told a packed crowd that 1,000 more buses were needed for the March On Washington than for Trump's inauguration the day before, news which was greeted by resounding cheers.
The number quoted by Steinem would reflect estimates by several news sources that President Trump's estimation of how many would attend his inauguration would be far lower than he said. While approximately 1.8 million attended then-President Barack Obama's inauguration in 2009, current estimates seem to hold that the March On Washington had far more people involved than those who attended President Trump's inauguration.
These estimates can prove heartening by some, who have been feeling rather disenchanted with decisions made by the new president to remove pages about climate change, LGBTQIA rights and civil rights from the White House web page. Many have seen this move as a reflection of things to come, and are deeply concerned about American civil rights, among other issues. One can only hope that the March On Washington showed the resolve by so many members of the American public - and worldwide - to hold this president accountable and to ensure he maintains the rights and freedoms granted by the leadership before him, whether that means granted by then-President Obama or those individuals that came before.
The beauty of the strength shown yesterday?
No violence. That is perhaps the biggest show of strength anyone can ask for.