On January 21, 2017, approximately 500,000 people marched on Washington, DC. It was called the Women’s March and it made history.
168 marches in 81 other countries occurred on the same day, with a combined total of 5 million people marching for the same reason: “Protection of our rights, our safety, our health, and our families – recognizing that our vibrant and diverse communities are the strength of our country.” This is the mandate of the Women’s March, the single largest one-day protest in US history, and it began as general dissatisfaction with the election of Donald Trump as the 45 President of the United States.
While the March originated in DC as a protest against Trump, (his inauguration was the day before) it spread via social media until it hit multiple other large cities, each with an army of passionate, dedicated attendees. It grew past it’s American roots, blossoming into a global exercise of free speech. It was citizens expressing their anger and frustration towards governments and politicians that have a history of not prioritizing their citizens, but it was also an incredible demonstration of unity. Victims of oppression and allies of those victims all marched, showing that they will not be silenced – and it was beautiful.
I’m always going to support the worldwide defence of democracy, and maybe it’s me being too much of a hippie, but the act of degrading the March to an anti-Trump rally is disturbing. It’s easy to see where this misconception started – a lot, if not the majority, of posters paraded down the streets were blatantly mocking Trump. However, Donald Trump is not the sole perpetrator of injustice and bigotry. If anything, Mike Pence is worse, but that’s not the point. A culture that celebrates violence and hate built up the Trump administration, telling them that incessant intolerance was okay. If we are to fight against this violence-spawning intolerance, we cannot use that same violence as a weapon. As cliché as it sounds, fighting hate with hate will only ever amount to more disdain. Kill it with kindness, “it” being the intolerant and apathetic notions that some people are more equal than others, that some people shouldn’t be treated as human beings. When we say that we will not tolerate hate-speech, yet spread it ourselves, we are seldom more moral than those we are fighting against.
This hypocrisy is prevalent in the human right’s movement I love so much. Insulting Melania Trump has become somewhat of a fad, and I’m disappointed. When you say you defend women, you are vowing to defend all women, including Melania. You may not agree with the politics of her husband (I sure don’t) but bringing his family into your anger is not your right. Melania has publicly admitted that she doesn’t agree with some of her husband’s statements, and she wishes just as much as the rest of us that he would stop tweeting. But can you blame her for being closed off from the public when her 10-year old son has been mocked?
This new movement supporting human and environmental rights has its issues, absolutely, but you’ll never hear me say that I don’t full-heartedly support a new wave of positivity and love. Trump knows we dislike him, but it’s more effective to tell him why. If there is something that seriously bothers you because it is immoral and wrong, speak up, but do it compassionately. As our beloved Barack Obama said so eloquently in his parting address, it is your duty as an educated citizen to prevent situations of injustice because you know what it is right, and by god, please do. This new Civil Rights movement, this sudden onslaught of people who are passionate about change, excites me immeasurably. It’s not violent, because that’s what we aim to stop. It’s a giant march with clever signs and pink hats, people breathing in cold air and exhaling it in the form of the promise that we will never rest until everyone is equal.
Water gives life. Black lives matter. What a woman does with her body is her choice. No human being is illegal. Global warming is real.
Respect existence or expect resistance.