“They tried to bury us. They didn’t know we were seeds.”
I’m the first to admit that I’ve never really been a political person. Growing up my family (and my religious circles) were all over the place, so I adopted the stance that I would choose my views and keep them as my own. I live my life, the best I can, in love, support, and acceptance of those around me, no matter the political sphere.
Enter Donald Trump…
I’m well aware that there are people within my social (media) circles who support this administration. That, for whatever their reasoning is, have found a way to look past the fact that The United States of America elected an individual with a proven record of sexual assault towards women all the way to its highest position. That we, as a “democracy,” chose to give power to someone that spews words of hate and division, singles out races and disabilities, and would rather use Twitter to (for a lack of better description) rant/whine/stir up controversy about the state of the world he’s created rather than find ways to use his newfound power to put a broken country back together.
The 2016 election removed my need to remain passive and neutral.
Lets be clear: the #WomensMarch was not a bunch of cry-baby females upset that Hillary isn’t in office. It was not us complaining that life as a girl is “hard enough” and we should get an award for having a uterus. It was not us thinking if we yell loud enough, we can change the election results or the fact that Donald Trump has taken office. It especially wasn’t us being preemptively upset when he “hasn’t even done anything yet.” In fact, many of us in that march fall into the “white privilege” category, myself included. But just because I’ve been lucky enough to reap the benefits of those who fought before me does not negate my obligation to fight for those who come beside me and behind me.
Within that first 24hours as President of The United States:
- Trump made moves to remove healthcare from millions of Americans without a plan in place to support them in return. As someone with countless pre-existing conditions, this means I can be refused coverage across the board… and FYI if you’re a woman, most of our “stuff,” including childbirth, is considered a pre-existing condition
- He has vowed to remove funding from Planned Parenthood, effectively threatening a woman’s right to choose and to have safe access to necessary reproductive and sexual health benefits, many of which save lives daily. Abortion discussion aside, for many communities this is the only place to get things like STD and cancer screenings, and for many women its their primary source of medical care. He’s already made moves to remove funding overseas…
- He has nominated an unprecedented number of controversial and extremist Cabinet members, many of whom fall within his select group of financial backers and have proven to be alarmingly unfit to have this much power in this country. Exhibit A: Betsy Devos
As his first week continues, Trump has continued to issue executive actions that put his extremist views on the environment and immigration into play exactly as he promised. Despite a nationwide outcry over humanitarian and environmental facts, many of which have been silenced & shut down (gag orders on scientific facts are now a thing in #TrumpsAmerica?!), Keystone XL and DAPL legislation that helps Trump’s billionaire supporters is already in motion. Construction of the WALL (that even many of his supporters swore would never actually be built) has been ordered. Each day, a new executive action brings another radical cry to life – cries that during his campaign spurred division, fear, and violence throughout our country.
But this march was started to fight for women’s rights, right? Electing such a jarringly controversial and disrespectful man to the office of President reminded us that, no matter how far we thought America had come, gender equality is still a long ways away.
Fun fact: one in 4 American women is the victim of domestic violence. Still. In 2017, rape culture is still very much alive. Walk with me down a city street if you don’t believe me. Or lets discuss gender gaps in wages (United States’ pay gap is 20%) and the glass ceiling (which whether or not you feel oppressed, the research and the facts don’t lie – you are NOT equal), or the fact that the US is one of 9 countries that doesn’t have mandated paid maternity leave (let alone paternity…). The United States, in all of its Constitutional glory, ranks at 45 for women’s equality. Behind Rwanda, Cuba, Philippines, Jamaica.
Despite the name, and the unfortunate and disappointing lack of POC turnout, overall the Women’s March was about equality and compassion for EVERYONE. For the LGBTQ community facing a VP that believes in ‘conversion therapy’ and supreme court and lower courts judge appointees who will oppose the rights (including marriage) of LGBT people. For the POC who have been trying to get our attention with the #BlackLivesMatter movement for MONTHS. For the Muslim community terrified of the proposed “Muslim Registry,” recreating WW11 era fear and discrimination in this country (remember when we did that to the Japanese Americans? Or dare I make a Nazi comparison?)
I understand this country voted to elect a President that would be “different.” That those who voted for this thought he would change the shape of our government and allow their voices to *finally* be heard. But honestly, did anyone legitimately think they’d voted for someone that would spent his first day in office spending excessive focus, energy, and funding complaining that the media altered photos of his inauguration to make him look like he was less popular than every single President before him?
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
With the Women’s March, I had the absolute incredible honor to be part of this 100% PEACEFUL demonstration. Over 5 million women (and men!) worldwide, plus over a million in Washington D.C. showed that we are watching. United we stand, against racism and sexism, against bullying and division. We stand up for female rights because they are human rights, and we maintain that this world of hate and fear is not what we signed up for.
Side note: despite the women’s march being the biggest protest in US history, I’ll be honest…I understand how some of the messages have been watered down. When it comes to making a political statement, skeptics look at a sea of women wearing pink hats and vagina costumes and suddenly what we’ve used to get attention has negated the power, urgency, and severity of our cause. Personally, I feel that making fun of Trump’s appearance (how ever absurd), stoops us to his level. And while the genitalia costumes are amusing, no one is listening to what you’re saying when thats on your face. But I digress…
The electoral college gave the most powerful position is the world (and its nuclear codes) to a man who has a proven history to be more likely to fight than talk, to be defensive rather than open to communication, to divide and blame rather than to work towards inclusive solutions. In anticipation of the impending destruction, we the 48.2% of the popular vote have chosen to stand together and remind ourselves and those around us that we’re in this together. We’re angry and we’re scared, but we’re not silent.
‘I will not remember the harsh words of my enemies. I will remember the silence of my friends.’
I still don’t consider myself a “political person,” but when it comes to basic human rights and the safety of my family and friends, my neighbors, my community, and my future children, I won’t go quietly. The Declaration of Independence clearly states: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all (wo)men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.” This is what democracy looks like and, while I acknowledge his actual residence and job title, Donald Trump is #notmypresident.