Here’s hoping the message gets through
I write many opinion pieces — eight or more a week. I talk a lot, too. But when it comes to the recent Women’s March, I think the important thing isn’t writing about it or talking about it. Not for me, not for politicians. I think perhaps the important thing, when you have three million people marching in the United States — five million worldwide — is perhaps to listen instead.
I’ve put together a small, hopefully representative sample of comments from different media, all made by ordinary marchers in Washington and other cities. You can get an idea of what people feel so strongly about.
Like 30-year-old Monica Mark, who came to Washington from Istanbul: “I’ve seen de-democratization play out first-hand. Trump is a popular authoritarian, and to see him win is extremely con- cerning,” she said. “It’s up to us to apply pressure and tell the government that there’s a limit to how much it can get away with.”
There’s 36-year-old Leslie Synn from New York, who marched for her daughter: “I couldn’t imagine her being a teenager and the country still be in a debate whether she has the right to control her own body.”
Erin Boylan of Scranton, Pa.: “I am angry. I am scared for women’s rights, for my health care, for a woman’s right to choose, and I thought the best place to be was in our nation’s capital.”
“Women deserve better — women of all colors, backgrounds and religions,” said university junior Lauren Eaves at a march in Raleigh, N.C. “When you have someone who’s been elected as the leader of the free world... who reinforces casual misogyny and sexism, you’ve got to put your body somewhere where your body is going to be seen and your voice is going to be heard.”
“I’ve been fighting for women’s rights for over 50 years,” said Rosemary Lynch, a volunteer from Raleigh. “I can’t believe we are still doing this.”
In Halifax, Christine Moreau said, “It’s really important we show our support and also show that even though the election did happen not everyone shows support for what is happening,” Moreau said. “I hope we don’t normalize this idea that (Trump) is perpetuating. We can’t allow it to continue.”
“It’s giving me goosebumps. It’s phenomenal. I’ve almost, for a split second, wanted to say thank you to Trump for causing these people to unify and stand up and raise awareness to human rights… and making people come together in such a positive, loving caring way,” Diane Fukami said in Calgary. “I’m just pro human decency and respect and support women and minorities.”
Also in Calgary: “We want to make sure that our little girl grows up in a world where women are respected — it’s pretty much a simple as that,” Marek Jacina said.
“Women need the right to have rights over their bodies and it’s scary what’s happening down there. I don’t want to see any of that trickling up here to Canada,” Sarah Krose said, also in Calgary. “I want my little girl to grow up in the world that we’ve become accustomed to. We want her to be valued and respected.”
From Winnipeg: “We’re going to lose the rights we already have. … If we want to protect those we have to mobilize,” Cynthia Fortlage, a trans woman, told the CBC. “We have to be loud, we have to be proud and we have to get people to understand we are human beings too and we deserve human rights.”
It’s all pretty clear — and some politicians get it. U.S. Sen. John McCain described it as “an urgent plea for us all to sit down together.” Other politicians clearly don’t. Sometimes you talk. Sometimes, you should just listen.