I apologize in advance for the length of this post. This blog comes out Friday instead of Saturday because I will be out of commission for a few days. I am traveling to Washington DC. No, not for the inauguration. For the women's rally/march.
After November 7th, a grandmother in Hawaii, Teresa Shook, like many of us, despaired over the result. Instead of having our first woman president, forty-six percent of the voters chose a man who jeered at minorities and women, mocked the disabled and people of different faiths, maligned men who had served and died for our country, and planned to dismantle programs essential to clean water and air, universal healthcare, and women's rights.
Shook decided to see if others might want to march in Washington DC to signal disapproval of his hateful campaign and his stated intentions. When she went to bed, she had forty responses. When she woke up the next morning, there were over ten thousand people ready to join her.
I, too, was despondent. My vote and nearly three million others that gave the popular vote to Clinton, did not count. Literally. We might as well have stayed home because our getting out and going to the polls, standing in line and taking time to vote, didn't change a thing. Despite our majority in votes.
When I saw a tiny item about women marching on Washington, then found on FaceBook that women in our state were already chartering buses to take protesters to DC, optimism returned. There were other people who felt like me. Together, we would make our voices heard.
I thought about what it meant for some time--I'm no spring chicken; my eyes are bad; my feet are bad; I hate crowds. I've never been active in anything like this. Never felt the need! Wasn't our country becoming more tolerant, more accepting, more benevolent toward others? Wasn't it moving forward in human issues? But now, suddenly, all progress is in full retreat.
I couldn't shirk my duty to participate. So I started trying to find a ride to the nearest bus departure city. When I linked up with a stranger already signed up to go (I met her and was comfortable she wasn't a nut job!), I signed on, too.
Understand, this entire undertaking is a gut response from the Jane Smiths (and some John Does) of our great country. Everyone has her or his reasons. Women's issues, saving black lives, gun control, reproductive freedom, climate change, affordable health care, gay rights, disgust at one candidate's "locker room talk" and failure to release tax returns...
But most are united in believing the electoral college chose the wrong person for such an overwhelming and critical job as president of the greatest nation on earth.
Oh, at first we were a wild bunch! But eventually, professional activists came in to help bring the unwieldy mob under control. Well...as under control as a grass roots effort with so many opinions and causes represented can be. Permits were obtained, routes hammered out, portapotties rented, speakers booked, and T-shirts designed. We were on our way.
As of today, from the best information I can find, over 223,000 women (with some men and children) are traveling to Washington DC to march the day after the inauguration of arguably the most unpopular president ever taking the oath of office. Georgia alone is sending over four thousand people. Women are recognizing sister marchers in airports by their clear backpacks while planes to DC are about 90% filled with women wearing pink hats.
And there are at least 673 sister marches! For some strange reason, people all over the world are rallying to our cause. In Europe, Australia, Asia, Africa, South America...Even Anarctica (???)!
This is my official Women's March shirt along with the mustard colored scarf that marks a Georgia marcher.
Yes, I know it's a rather ugly yellow but it was chosen, I understand, because it's the color of the monarch butterfly, which is (?) our state insect(?). At any rate, I'm pretty sure we'll be the only state wearing it! The same cannot be said for all the pink "pussyhats" we will be sporting. Women have been knitting and crocheting like crazy to be sure everyone has one. Some object to its name, but I bet you'll see a lot of them in the crowd. (A relative knitted mine because I'm not craftsy.)
As Hillary Clinton said: "Women's rights are human rights."
I'm proud to be marching in support of them.