Yesterday at work I was helping someone figure out how to watch the inauguration on their computer. This person quickly made a comment referencing “the idiots” who were going to be marching today. I said plainly, “I’m going to be marching.” I’d hoped this information might invite a moment who rephrase or reconsider. Instead it began twenty conversation about how marching useless, pointless and “irritating to everyone else”. This individual was a woman, a well-educated woman whom surprised (if only briefly) with the hostility she showed towards the marchers.
This woman was not a Trump-supporter. She does not view the march as threat to politics or her vision for America.
“It accomplishes nothing,” she said.
“I think the purpose is really just to demonstrate unity,” I told her. “It’s just to remind everyone how important women’s rights and equality is everyone.”
“Yeah, but everyone knows that!” she said. “They should just wait until someone is actually taking away their rights… like if Trump tries to take away abortion.”
Waiting until freedom is in jeopardy is exactly the wrong thing to do.
The truth is, I’ve never been in a march nor have I ever joined a protest. If there ever came a day when I thought the nation was irrevocably veering off course, I wouldn’t want that to be the day I marched first. Just no one should be trying taekwondo for the first time as they’re being assaulted. Knowing the experience of making my voice heard is important so that if I ever need it, I know better how to make it the loudest.
“They’re going to be turning over cars and setting trash cans on fire, just watch,” she said to me. I actually had to put money down to show how confident I was that this demonstration wouldn’t turn violent. But the fear, the anxiety caused by people who simply want to establish the importance of equality can not be allowed to be normalized, nor may it be politely ignored.
There are hundreds of reasons I believe women should have equal rights, beyond the honest and simple truth that women should have equal rights. That’s not why it’s important for me to march. For me, marching is a way to show people that an attempt to undermine those rights won’t be unopposed, that disparaging comments against women will be challenged and the exercise of using my voice to defend my few beliefs is something I will not hesitate to do.