Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Women's March on Washington

It was food for the soul. To stand in a crowd of fierce but kind people who are fired the fuck up is electrifying. When we passed the 1000+ buses parked at RFK Stadium on the way in on the Metro, I cried. An older woman patted my shoulder and gave me a look letting me know that she's been there before. When we passed people on platforms because the trains were jam packed and everyone cheered, I teared up. When we stepped out into the crowd and saw so so many people with their signs and their hats and their determination...my heart just swelled and it stayed puffed up all day. I didn't know how much I needed that until I got there.
The energy in the crowd could have powered the sun. It is just absolutely tremendous to stand in that. It is a feeling like nothing else. It was so packed and attendance was so over expectation that we actually couldn't march without fighting the crowd the whole way so it was more like shuffling when we did walk - people were everywhere on the planned route. Yet people were nice, not pushy, quick to help others, happy to share food they brought or a smile, complimentary of creative signs, and patient in a crowd that required tremendous patience.

It was patriotic as hell. People traveled from all over to spend their money and day off standing in their nation's capital shoulder to shoulder with people they don't know, with no place to sit, few places to pee, not a lot of trash cans, pretty much no access to outside food, in the damp, simply to show up and be seen...this was not a gathering of people who hate America and should just leave because we can't get behind a man who ran his election on not getting behind us.
It wasn't single issue. People were there for so many reasons. We all have that one issue that is tops for us. So we weren't there looking at people who felt the same as us on every single thing. But I can probably safely say that everyone there believes in love over hate, inclusivity, and that women's rights are human rights. We probably disagree about the order of importance of those issues and would like to add another issue or two each, but yeah. The last line of the March's Mission and Vision is: We will not rest until women have parity and equity at all levels of leadership in society. We work peacefully while recognizing there is no true peace without justice and equity for all. HEAR OUR VOICE. Notice the use of equity, not equality. 
It wasn't in one location. It's estimated that over 3.5 million people around the globe stood up for human rights and women's rights. The images are incredible. The world is not only watching, the world is standing up because we are linked by so many things. To see images from around the country and around the world was amazing. Photos can be seen at New York Times Pictures From Women's Marches on Every Continent and Heavy (sorted by location).

It's not the end. Well, it's the end if you intend to sit on your ass. If not, then it's the beginning. There is grassroots work to do and it's moving quickly. If you were unable to get to a March or are uninterested in ever doing anything like that but believe in any of the above, there is action for you to take. If you don't know where to begin to start being more active or involved in your government, email me (lifeaccordingtosteph@gmail.com) and I will do my best to get you to resources that will help you. If you  have ever wanted to run for office on a progressive platform, the time is now. You have so many people salivating to help you.
People are turned off by the vulgarity on signs and in speeches. Well shit. Let's all go home, put our aprons on, shut our mouths, and make the goddamn sandwiches. Ladies, only men are allowed to say pussy. But there's no double standard. It is despicable to tsk tsk more about women daring to use vulgar signs and words at a women's march than it is to chatter about how fucking insane it is that Brock Turner is not in jail. Please spare me the hypocrisy.
People say no one has lost any rights yet so why protest? Would you prefer we wait until after the rights are gone and then go through a legal battle with the government? Would it be okay for us to protest then? Fortunately, we don't need permission or approval. We showed up en masse to say We're here. We're not going anywhere. 
People said we don't need it.  Maybe people don't know that men (and other women, wtf) are still debating over our uteri and what we do with them and introducing bills and laws about our body parts; that America does not have paid maternity leave; that there is still a 20% wage gap in many fields; that many women do not feel safe walking alone at night. I could go on but I won't. p s - this is an actual senator talking about women in a derisive manner. Good people we have in government, huh? Link to that post of his is here. I want to know if he can afford to be such a dick on facebook, why can't he afford that viagra that's included with his healthcare?
Women said it wasn't for them. By all accounts in my life I am certainly not oppressed. I am strong and I can stand on my own. I get paid what my male counterparts get paid.  I don't think I've ever been described as anything remotely like a helpless female in all of my life. I have come up against sexism and misogyny and I have thrashed back. But the pesky things that come along with systemic misogyny that I listed in the above item and more remain. I know many women feel empowered and are indignant about people saying we're not equal. I get that. I do. It feels fucking terrible to say that. And no one is taking away your personal power here. I wouldn't ask anyone why they didn't go or think less of them for not going which is why I'm sort of floored at how nasty women have gotten towards those who did go. I support every woman's ability to make her own choices in every single area of her life about what is best for her and her family even when they do not line up with mine. You see what I did there? Your life. Your choices. My life. My choices. My personal belief is that until we're all equal, none of us are. I know my surface equality comes from my equity - where I was born, the color I am, the family I was born in to, my ability to get a college degree, the opportunities and mentoring I've had - and I know not every woman has those things. I worked my ass off to get where I am and I'm not interested in handing anyone the world on a silver platter - but I'm interested in leveling the playing field so we all come off of the same starting block to have the opportunity to be successful if we work hard. Not every little girl gets told that she can do and be anything and put on a path with relatively few real world obstacles. Until every little girl is told that and shown that in the world's actions, my ass will be out on the streets. I'm not going to be like oh, okay, I'm good, you guys keep fighting the good fight. I'm still here. I'm still with you. I will stand next to you and lend you my voice if you need it. Our lives are not the same, our issues are not the same, but I will listen and I will stand up with you and I will do what I can to help. If you need more than one of us to rise, I can probably round up a crew.
For people who said things like that better, click to read To Christy on Facebook, who doesn't need the Women's March   or You're Not Equal. I'm Sorry. 
Pro-life women said they were excluded. Aren't we all pro-life? I live it, I am. But not all of us are pro-birth. In an ideal world we would all be pro-choice across the board. You have to be able to say I trust each woman to do what is best for her and her family. I don't get to make choices for anyone else's body because I certainly do not want them making choices for mine. We need to support other women even if they choose not to have kids, if they have more kids than we think they should, if they have less kids than we think they should, if they feed the kids they have differently than what we think is best, work when we think they should stay home, stay home when we think they should work, and on and on. I don't think you can be a feminist if you are okay with government putting laws on women's bodies. Feminism implies an implicit trust in women and their autonomy. You can be personally pro-life and still believe others can make their own choice. If you stand behind the government making those choices for us then no, it was not for you. At the March I went to in 2004, there was a large group with pro-life republicans for choice signs. They were widely embraced. If you show up with an abortion is murder sign to a rally like this, you probably want to make your way to the middle where those protesters are.

People who generally don't care much about the environment are freaking out over littering. Yes, you will have trash left over when 500,000 people descend on an area the day after another event. There are typically not many trash cans at these things anymore because Homeland Security prefers it that way after the Boston bombings. Many people carried their trash home with them. The trash cans were overflowing, no cleanup is done during the event, and people make piles as close to them as possible. Part of the permit fees go to cleanup, and the National Park Service said that was going well. Please show me an event with 500,000 people in attendance that is clean an hour after it ends. Hell, show me a football game with much less people in attendance that's clean an hour after it ends for that matter.
And the Snopes on it here: Women's March Protesters Dumped Their Signs?

People said it was anti-trump. My reasons for going weren't against him, but only because my  mindset is to always try to be for something rather than against something. But make no mistake, a lot of people are against what he has said and how he has acted. Me included. That is the consequence of brushing off references to sexual assault as locker room talk; grouping Mexican immigrants as people who bring drugs and crime and are rapists and vowing to build a wall against them; advocating for torture; not releasing your taxes; wanting Muslims to register for a database; saying women should be punished for having abortions; mocking a disabled reporter; urging his supporters to beat up protesters at a rally; describing global warming as a hoax; fraternizing with white supremacists on twitter; running a fraudulent university;  running with a vice president who believes in conversion therapy for LBGTQIA; repeatedly claiming for years that Obama was a Muslim; stiffing contractors; tweeting indiscriminately with no regard for adult behavior or diplomacy; lying about important shit and also really stupid shit; among a zillion other things. So, yeah. People are against him. That is the consequence of hateful words and actions. People are also against facism and a lot of his tactics have parallels to an authoritarian state. It's their right to be rabidly against him, just as it's someone's right to be rabidly for him. This is not going to be something we meet in the middle on. There is no opportunity for unity on the subject of this man. That's not negativity, it's reality.
If you attended Turn down the noise. Remember what it felt like there. Stay engaged. Stay plugged in. Don't let anyone ruin it for you. Don't feel small about it. It was big. Thank you for showing up.



31 comments:

  1. I will be sharing your post with others. You're summary is exactly what I think some people need to hear. Thank you for your conviction and passion.

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  2. Beautiful and concise post❣️ Peaceful. Meaningful. March. To all who marched-thanks to infinity and beyond ❣️❣️
    More proud of you everyday ❣️
    Love. Your. Momma.

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  3. I love that you did this and that you are out there in real life and on the blog speaking your mind and making a difference.

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  4. I felt a similar swell watching the news and seeing the pictures being posted on social media! Thank you for going and for sharing your experience :)

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  5. Women who feel empowered now do so because women in the past fought for that right. And if you want to stay home and tend to the house and raise kids and 'make sandwiches' then that's fine, the key there is WANT to. You have a choice. Because women in the past fought for that right. So saying 'it's not for me' doesn't make sense. It's for everyone.

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  6. Best post I've seen on this -- I did the one in Atlanta, and felt every single thing you did. It was utterly amazing. If you have suggestions on how I can get involved down here in Alabama, I'd love to hear them. :) Thanks!!

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  7. I truly loved reading all of this. You put into words so well how I've been feeling about a lot of things. Yet this was a peaceful way of letting your voice be heard, without finger pointing, degrading someone else, etc. THAT is what we need more of. Thank you again :)

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  8. The link to the fuckheads that tweeted shit like "who will iron my shirts" bullshit has me shaking mad. I don't hate men. I'm married to one and I like him very much. But I do hate "men" like that. I'm disgusted to share a country with fucks like that. With a president like that.
    Thank you to everyone that marched.

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  9. Excellent blog. I am feeling a bit of "what next?" "What can I do now?"

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  10. It's been amazing to see the photos from the marches around the world. So glad you had an awesome experience although really, why is there such an idiot for President. Women shouldn't have to be marching for equal rights in 2017. Sigh. Less than 4 more years with him.

    www.justmurrayed.com

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  11. Brilliant! I think it was amazing how many women around the world took part.

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  12. "Electrifying" is the word I just used to describe it to someone else. Couldn't agree more. It was downright moving to be in the biggest crowd I've ever stood in in my life and feel not an ounce of fear, not a drop of negativity. It was women supporting, helping, praising, raising women. It was feminists waving their flags proudly.

    That "Power of the people" sign is a great one! I loved that the message was "this is what democracy looks like" through and through. And it was day one. I am so, so hopeful that we screamed loud enough to echo for days, weeks, years to come.

    Reading shit like that senator's post makes me ill. It's such a gross mischaracterization of everything we've ever talked about, and yet he is just one of many saying those things and believing he's in the right. One of my goals this year is to make sure everyone I know who is eligible is heading out to vote in mid-terms. And as for what you said about the pro-life crowd, I couldn't agree more and have been yelling that since last week. Honestly, I don't believe you can be pro-life (in the way we understand it to mean today) and be a feminist. And your shirt in that photo says everything I feel about that.

    It was an honor to march with women like you. Thank you for informing me of this months ago and for being there with your voice and your fierceness.

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  13. Words cannot describe how much I love this post and your thoughts here. I was unable to march but I felt such great pride for all the women and men who took a stand and were not silent. How strongly they rallied around the freaking world (how amazing is that!!) and yet did so peacefully. It does break my heart o see so many people threatened by women standing up (perhaps because we are a majority?) and especially seeing women react harshly (perhaps a bit of conscience they are resisting) but it also fuels my fire because it shows our message is getting heard.

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  14. This post is so well written that I think I might have to quote you when people start questioning why I supported the March. I too am very surprised by how nasty other people of been about women going out there and supporting their believes. I'm like you you make your choices for your life I want to be able to make the choices for mine they don't have to be the same choices but we need to be respectful of one another. My heart swelled so big on Saturday and I am so very proud that I got to witness what happened and so did my daughter.

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  15. That senator's Facebook status makes me SO ANGRY I think my skin might catch on fire.

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  16. I have been an emotional wreck since Saturday and I can't even form a coherent thought to explain why. And I wasn't even there.

    You said why I wish I had been able to attend and the women I ran into while we were getting dinner on Saturday said basically the same thing as you. I AM SO GLAD so many women (and men) showed up for this. It demonstrates (no pun intended) why this is such a critical movement and that it's about more than just Trump.

    And what you said about every little girl getting the same opportunities? THAT RIGHT THERE is why I get fired up when people rail against women who don't have kids. Making different choices doesn't exclude you from compassion or wanting equity or equality or an even playing field. THANK YOU for standing up for my daughter, her friends, and girls like them everywhere.

    And now I cry again.

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  17. Thank you- I have seen so many people saying they didn't need it or it was pointless. You outlined the reasons why- it's been so clear to me that it's hard to explain (and I have to learn to communicate better to get through this).

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  18. You're an absolute inspiration! I got blasted on Facebook yesterday by a very angry pro-life supporter and could not even muster an articulate response. But you continue to be a shining example of pride and eloquence...so thank you :)

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  19. One of my favorite things that you highlighted is that it wasn't one single issue, that everyone had their own reasons for being there. Oh, to have felt that energy!

    FWIW, that senator is a state senator in Mississippi, not a US senator. Small consolation, but just wanted to put that out there, although judging from his FB profile you'd never be able to tell.

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  20. I love this post ♥ Thank you so much for sharing this and all of the photos of the signs!

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  21. Unsurprisingly, this is perfect. I was sick with a stomach bug yesterday and saw you posted it and couldn't wait to read, because I knew it would be thorough, well-thought-out, inspiring, smart and wonderful. And it was. I agree with every point you made, everything you said, and everything that day stood for. When I got off my train at Penn Station the first woman I saw was holding a sign and in a wheelchair, and I knew I was where I belonged. To the naysayers - screw them. I'm furious at their response to the march but it only fuels the fire. I'm prepared to continue this fight for as long as it takes and know you are too. Thank you :)

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  22. What a powerful post!!!! You answered EVERY objection I have heard from every naysayer. You are inspiring!

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  23. I was so proud of the number of people that turned out in Austin. I felt like I was on the brink of tears the whole day. I will never forget the feeling I had that day for as long as I live. Posts like Christy's make me glad I'm not on facebook. I feel enough rage on a daily basis without that adding to it, ha.

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  24. I love this! You said it all so much better than I could have. I felt the same good things you did. I cried multiple times, I felt love and empowerment, there were constant compliments and a feeling of comradery.

    And I'm getting a lot of those same negative responses that you mentioned above. I was accused of reducing women to their reproductive organs, which is no feminist at all. SHUT UP.

    We were lucky because our march went right through downtown and we could stop whenever to eat or drink or pee. I was marching when I read a tweet out loud that said the DC march was no longer a march because there was no place for anyone to march to. Someone nearby asked me to repeat it and people all around me started cheering. So we felt it on the other side of the country!

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  25. wow. that chris mcdaniel is a complete and utter idiot.

    as usual, i think you said it all perfectly. you always make me want to do things. i agree about being for something vs against something. i don't like him or things he has said, but i don't want to waste energy focusing on that, but focusing on what i can do.

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  26. I could NOT top scrolling Instagram & Twitter on Saturday - it made my heart so happy in a way I can't remember feeling in age. (Certainly not since November.) I'm hoping that if enough of us continue to speak out over and over (and over and over...) the women who posted "I don't need the Women's March" stuff might eventually get woke.

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  27. I just was made aware of Chris McDaniel this week - who, despite what he wants people to think, was wholly piggybacking on the women's march in order to become well known. He sounds insane. But enough about that idiot, love this post. I was in meetings all day on Tuesday so I had a plan to come back so I could read this properly. Great points and great post. My husband and I and some friends marched in the SF one and it was really special. What a great day and what a powerful time. I also really appreciate MOST of the responses from people, even ones who did not "agree". There were a lot of conservative people in my realm who respected the hell out of the whole thing. I also hope it served as a message that destroying property ruins your chance of being heard. This was a special and beautiful day to be American. Girl Power! :)

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  28. I cried lots of tears on Saturday too for the same reasons. It's awesome that you were in DC for it. I've been lucky enough to see mostly positive response to the march, but I know lots of people that just didn't get what it was about. I've been loving the #whyimarch articles. People are speaking up from all different backgrounds and beliefs. My goal is to continue to speak up and show up.

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  29. I haven't really had the words to thank you for this post. All week I've struggled to find a way to say these words. Yesterday, a woman told me about a friend who had stopped at a gas station outside Cincinnati to fill up her car. She was dressed professionally and on her way to a business meeting. A man stopped her and told her she was exactly what was wrong with America... and now that trump was president, they would finally be able to send her home where she belonged and get her out of the corporate workforce. This strong, professional woman got back into her car and just cried.

    That's merely one reason that women needed to march. Her life, her choices.

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  30. Thank you for this. Food for the soul...well said. The passion and energy of the resistance movement is an oasis in this alternate reality. I can't articulate what I'm feeling, but all of us are taking action in our own way. For me, it's often behind the scenes, supporting causes on the front line and sending email. And then taking a self-care break and starting up again. This is an ultra marathon and we will need warriors long after most of our world has forgotten. Thank you, Steph, for your role in this crusade. Your bravery is both inspirational and motivational.

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