He conquered Washington. He would drain the swamp. He would build a “Great Wall” at no cost. Deport millions of illegal immigrants. Identify and stop terrorists. Stare down foreign presidents and slash countries with his swift economic sword. End Obamacare with a stroke of his pen. Make America great again — all without a smudge on his cape.
More people came to his inauguration than to any other president in history, he said —well no — pictures proved it wasn’t even close. It seemed more people were interested in the inauguration of the first black man, with a foreign name, who overcame all odds to become president. Not so much in a man who, even in his senior years, bragged about where he could place his wandering hands.
A day after placing his hand on the Bible held by his wife, women marched on Washington. They came from everywhere — three times more than attended the inauguration. Most agree 500,000 women marched there. In Seattle they counted 175,000 marching; Denver 220,000; Minneapolis 90,000 to 100,000. They counted 750,000 in Los Angeles and 250,000 in Chicago; the big city list goes on and on. But the small town and small city list is a lot longer, counting 1,000 or 5,000 or 10,000 in each. Now, outside the U.S., 4,000 in Calgary, Canada; 1,000 in Canberra, Australia; 5,000 in Copenhagen; 100,000 in London. They marched in hundreds of cities in other countries.
He was president only two days; did they give him a chance? They heard what he said during months of campaign speeches. They heard what he said he would do after he was elected. They saw many of the people he appointed. His vision and intentions were clear to the entire world.
This day they marched, all the progress made the prior decades on climate change seemed it would vanish. Sally from Athens marched in Atlanta. “Equality,” “rights,” seemed to be words looking for new definitions to replace the ones we struggled to find over the last century. Race, religion, sexual identity — hard fought struggles. Jessica from Macon marched in Washington, D.C. Millions of women marched. Under current proposals the rich stand poised again to gain more wealth as the middle class and the poor bear more of the burden — again. They care. They’re concerned for the future. Women marched.
Our president pushes bullying international policies. He maintains an us/them good/bad world view making little room for compromise. His win/lose diplomacy skills will diminish respect and reduce influence for America. It will hurt people with whom we share the planet. Refugees to be turned away. So the women marched.
The Affordable Care Act may well need to be fixed, but it saved lives. Much is heard about ending “Obamacare” but scant is offered about what will replace it. Free market jargon, details to be filled in later. “Lives Matter.” So the women marched. Perhaps the newly-elected would learn it’s better to eat their political campaign rhetoric than to end “Obamacare” too soon.
A page from Nixon’s notebook is being posted in the Oval Office. The news media is being called “fake news” and the “enemy,” sometimes worse. Demonize the press and voters will be less likely to believe what is being reported out of the White House. But I think when millions of women marched on day two of Trump’s presidency it sent a message that someone’s watching. They know what is going on. Already I’ve seen healthy dialogue between opposing views on Facebook about what the women’s march was about. “Enemy” media won’t work. Too much network. Too much dialogue.
Women marched. Women are watching. The next time they march I’m betting there will be even more of them, and even more of their sons and daughters and the men they love.
Tom Scholl is a resident of Macon. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.