Photo Used With Permission by Vivian Spathopoulos
The 2018 Women’s March: Making Women’s Rights Great Again!
“Don’t Fashion Me Into A Maiden that Needs Saving From A Dragon. I AM THE DRAGON. And, I Will Eat You Whole.” –A Little Girl’s Sign from the 2018 Women’s March
“I’m not allowed to act like the President.” –A Little Boy’s Sign from the 2018 Women’s March
For the first time in my life, I participated in a “march.” I’ve lived through marches for Women’s Liberation, Civil Rights, LGBT Rights, Anti-Viet Nam demonstrations, and Black Lives Matter, but I never marched myself – until a few days ago, when I marched in the 2018 Women’s March Reunion Rally in Ocean City, Maryland. It was a great experience – empowering, fun, joyous, and reinforcing – a significant experience that was long overdue for this female baby boomer. I want to share some of my reflections on this event with you.
It is astounding to me that there are some people who don’t understand why women want to march. As one individual said to me, “What do women want that they don’t have already? My wife controls the money in my family. What else does she need?” Yea, really.
While the 2017 March for Women was mostly about resistance to the new President, this year’s march reflected the glaring reality that this President is not going to change. If we want to see change in leadership and policy, we MUST have more women in office. The Midterm Congressional elections are this year and women know this is an opportunity to make a difference. Already, we’re seeing women stepping up to the challenge.
“There is an unprecedented surge of first-time female candidates, overwhelmingly Democratic, running for offices big and small, from the U.S. Senate and state legislatures to local school boards. At least 79 women are exploring runs for governor in 2018, potentially doubling a record for female candidates set in 1994, according to the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University. The number of Democratic women likely challenging incumbents in the U.S. House of Representatives is up nearly 350% from 41 women in 2016. Roughly 900 women contacted Emily’s List, which recruits and trains pro-choice Democratic women, about running for office from 2015 to 2016; since President Trump’s election, more than 26,000 women have reached out about launching a campaign.”
Here’s why I participated in the women’s march this week.
- To protest the defeat of the first major female presidential candidate at the hands of a self-described pu**y grabber. Sexual assault is not okay.
- To combat the Conservatives’ embrace of accused sexual predators like Trump and Alabama’s Roy Moore
- To maintain pressure on policy issues such as healthcare, reproductive rights and climate change.
- To support Planned Parenthood and women’s right to choose.
- To support other women who are resisting the current administration’s assault on families, women, and children through the destruction of health care and social programs that are needed so desperately.
- To encourage women to register to vote and run for office.
- To let others know that “we will not be silent!”
- To help us feel hope at a time when most Americans are scared, angry and depressed over where this country is heading.
My friend, Victoria, and I, linked arms with the hundreds of other women (and men, by the way) who care about our country and who are embarrassed by the assault on our democracy by this Administration. Someone recently commented to me, “You’ll change your mind when you get your tax refund.” Hopefully, I’m not that short-sighted, greedy, and lacking in compassion. I don’t have any confidence that providing a tax cut for the rich will translate into benefits for the middle-class or the poor. It didn’t work during Reagan’s time and it won’t work now. Greed prevails again and women will suffer disproportionately.
So, knit yourself a p**sy hat and join us next year. Below is Halsey’s Poem, from the Women’s March in New York City. Me too.
“A Story Like Mine”
It’s 2009 and I’m 14 and I’m crying/
Not really sure where I am/
But I’m holding the hand of my best friend, Sam/
In the waiting room of a planned parenthood/
The air is sterile and clean/
And the walls are that…not grey, but green/
And the lights are so bright they could burn a hole through the seem of my jeans/
And my phone is buzzing in the pocket/
My mom is asking me if I remembered my keys/
‘Cause she’s closing the door and she needs to lock it/
But I can’t tell my mom where I’ve gone/
I can’t tell anyone at all/
You see, my best friend Sam was raped by a man/
That we knew because he worked in the after-school programme/
And he held her down, with her textbooks beside her/
And he covered mouth and then he came inside her/
So, now I’m with Sam/
At the place with the plan/
Waiting for a medical exam/
And she’s PRAYING she doesn’t need an abortion/
She couldn’t afford it/
And her parents would like…totally kill her/
It’s 2002/And my family just moved/
And the only people I know are my mom’s friend, Sue and her son/
He’s got a case of Matchbox cars and he says that he’ll teach me to play the guitar…if I just keep quiet/
And the stairwell beside apartment 1245 will haunt me in my sleep for as long as I am alive/
And I’m too young to know why it aches in my thighs, but I must lie, I must lie/
It’s 2012 and I’m dating a guy/
And I sleep in his bed/ And I just learned how to drive/
He’s older than me/ And he drinks whiskey neat/
And he’s paying for everything/ This adult thing…it’s not cheap/
We’ve been fighting a lot/ Almost 10 times a week/
And he wants to have sex/ And I just want to sleep/
But he says I can’t so no to him/This much I owe to him/
He buys my dinners/ So I have to blow him/
He’s taken to forcing me down on my knees/ And I’m confused because he’s hurting me while he says “please”/
And he’s only a man and these things he just needs/ He’s my boyfriend so why am I filled with unease?/
It’s 2017 and I live like a queen/
And I’ve followed damn near every one of my dreams/
I’m invincible and I’m so fucking naive/
I believe I’m protected ’cause I live on a screen/
Nobody would dare act that way around me/
I’ve earned my protection, eternally clean/
Until a man that I trust gets his hands in my pants/
But I don’t want none of that, I just wanted to dance/
And I wake up the next morning like I’m in a trance/
And there’s blood/
Is that my blood?/
Hold on a minute/
You see I’ve worked every day since I was 18/
I’ve toured everywhere from Japan to Mar-a-Lago/
I even went on stage that night in Chicago when I was having a miscarriage/
I mean, I pied the piper, I put on a diaper/
And sang out my spleen to a room full of teens/
What do you mean this happened to me?/
You can’t put your hands on me/
You don’t know what my body has been through/
I’m supposed to be safe now/
I earned it/
It’s 2018 and I’ve realized nobody is safe long as she is alive/
And every friend that I know has a story like mine/
And the world tells me we should take it as a compliment/
But then heroes like Ashley and Simone and Gabby, McKayla and Gaga, Rosario, Aly/
Remind me this is the beginning, it is not the finale/
And that’s why we’re here/
And that’s why we rally/
It’s Olympians and a medical resident and not one fucking word from the man who is President/
It’s about closed doors and secrets and legs and stilettos/
From the Hollywood hills to the projects in ghettos/
When babies are ripped from the arms of teen mothers and child brides cry globally under the covers/
Who don’t have a voice on the magazine covers/
They tell us take cover/
But we are not free until all of us are free/
So love your neighbour, please treat her kindly/
Ask her story and then shut up and listen/
Black, Asian, poor, wealthy, trans, cis, Muslim, Christian/
Listen, listen and then yell at the top of your lungs/
Be a voice for all those who have prisoner tongues/
For the people who had to grow up way too young/
There is work to be done/
There are songs to be sung/
Lord knows there’s a war to be won/