I marched to send a message to congress – to tell them “we’re paying attention and we’re ready to react,” to be part of something bigger than myself, and to support my belief that women (and all under-represented groups of people) need to be considered when policy decisions are made and our voices should be heard.
Why did I march?
Some folks have suggested it is an emotional response. OK. I’ll admit to being shaken in November – not only by the election of Trump, but by the idea that so many of my fellow citizens would vote for him. I am angry. I am scared about what the future holds for the next four years, and well beyond.
Maybe this is desperation. But desperation is not all bad. When there are no simple logical solutions, perhaps the desperate act is logical. To do nothing while Trump appoints cabinet secretaries to departments they are hostile to is not acceptable to me. To do nothing while he dismantles the Affordable Care Act without a soft landing to millions who depend on it is not acceptable. To do nothing while the GOP pushes through tax cuts that will explode the deficit as a pay-off to the wealthy is not acceptable.
I need to do something and marching was something to do. I’m hoping it has value. If it does not, hopefully the next thing I do will. The political process is not limited to elections. This is happening now. I’m not waiting two years to take action.
What do I hope to accomplish?
I have no hopes that a march will drive a revolt or a dismantling of the electoral college. I know Trump will not be impeached over any of the things we know today. I know he doesn’t care about me or my concerns. And whether I get 10 million people to sing Kumbaya in perfect harmony is irrelevant to that fact.
But, I have hope for Republican leaders. They are the only ones who can slow Trump down from some of his most destructive tendencies. Fortunately, I don’t think many GOP congressmen are really on board with Trump. But they’re scared of him. He and his followers can end their careers. Trump has leverage over them, and many of them lack the political courage to stand up to him. For example, after the “pussy grab” tape came out, many of the GOP politicians piled on Trump. He then struck back. His numbers went down. Their numbers went down more. And they folded, with some notable exceptions like McCain and Sasse.
While it doesn’t say much for their character, it does give us a possible path forward. If Congressmen are too cowardly to cross Trump, we need to make it just as bad politically to side with him. A massive progressive/moderate resurgence is the only path to that end. Maybe that wasn’t just 15,000 -20,000 progressives marching for an event. Maybe it is 15,000+ foot soldiers signing up for duty. The 100+ people on these two buses are spending 60 hours away from any comforts of home, including showers or beds, to have their voices heard. And they’re all smiling today. There is a political movement coming for any congressman who cowers from Trump. We’re saying, “Fear us more than Trump.” If they want to keep their jobs, they will need to hear us.
I march because our democratic republic, with its three branches of government, is intended to function as a check and balance on each institution. I recognize those checks and balances no longer function as they are intended when the politics of party override the good of the nation. I fear a Congress that walks in lock step with a president who ignores the Constitution. Rules appear to only apply if it benefits a party preference. Case in point, the rejection of Marrick Garland for the Supreme Court. In a year’s time, he could not even get a hearing.
I march because Congress is ramming through grossly unqualified candidates for cabinet positions. Just to name a few; Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Education and Rick Perry, with a degree in animal husbandry to head the Department of Energy. Goldman Sachs, I believe, has 6 representatives in the Trump regime. How is this draining the swamp? The hypocrisy is overwhelming. We are hurling towards a dictatorship.
I march because I have three relatives that have health insurance because of the ACA. One is disabled. Another is taking care of a wife with Alzheimer’s 24/7 and is in poor health himself. You are taking their health care away from them without an alternative plan in place. I am on Social Security and Medicare and you want to mess with that. If you think the protest marches are large now, just wait till the gray hairs join in. Retiring from an elementary school in a disadvantaged neighborhood, I know charter schools are not the answer. They will be left behind.
I march for an investigation into the failed Yemen raid. Will it be as vigorously investigated as Benghazi? Was Trump really eating his dinner when he authorized the raid and not in the Situation Room? An unconstitutional ban on immigration from 7 Muslim countries does not keep us safe. It is an optic of weakness and fear and has made this nation a continued target of hatred. Trump will continue to isolate himself as he did not go to Harley Davidson because he was afraid of protest. Protests will continue and he will isolate himself in his bedroom tweeting at 3 in the morning because he is a coward. My dad fought in the Battle of the Bulge during World War 11. My husband was a Marine in Viet Nam and suffered from PTSD all his life. In large part, a reason for the failure of our marriage.
I march, I call, I e-mail. Most of my representatives mailboxes are full. I hope they are full because of protest but sometimes I feel they are full because our representatives simply don’t want to talk to us. We, the people, are speaking through our marches and will be speaking in the next election. Our numbers are large and growing. The marches only energize us, we see the millions that share our values but the most important reason I march is to say to the world, “America is not Donald Trump and the lock step Republican Party.”