I have never felt as powerful in my life as I felt marching through the streets of Lexington during the first Women’s March in January 2017. There I was surrounded by 10,000 of my sisters and brothers of similar thinking, shouting our outrage, at SO. MANY. THINGS, to the world.
The vibrancy and significance I felt in myself during that first march may be the reason I didn’t walk in the last two marches. Yes, I blamed issues like child care and work commitments, but deep down I think I wondered how I could possibly ever again feel as powerful and relevant as I did during that first march.
I debated whether to attend this year’s march. It was rainy and cold. My daughter wanted to go with me, but I didn’t have child care for her little brother so she stayed home to watch him. I didn’t choose to be a single mother and I was pissed about having to deal with the scheduling complications of it.
The rage was still there. I had to march.
I marched for all the single moms who couldn’t march because they didn’t have access to child care or money to pay for it. I marched for my mom, to honor her and thank her for her strength and courage and persistence in raising my brother and me.
Yeah, I felt the rage.
Like so many women, I do #AllTheThings. It’s hard to maintain the intensity of the vocal outrage I felt in 2017. It’s not like the rage is gone, it’s still very much there, but so is everything else women deal with in real life. Alongside all the band concerts and Scout meetings, packing lunches and ensuring teeth are brushed, the rage simmers …always there, permeating every action, mundane and purposeful alike.
The rage is still there. It is sooo still there. I had to march.
In full disclosure, I know a handful of men who run their households and are the primary caregivers for their children (you know who you are). You are awesome, but you are definitely in the minority.
Smart people have asked me, “What do you have to be angry about?” Seriously, they have.
What am I angry about? Are you kidding me?
We have lawmakers who still think they are the boss of my uterus. And the boss of my daughter’s uterus; these are people in positions of power who want to control the bodies of every woman you know.
I marched for all our daughters because they will NOT have their reproductive lives dictated by a bunch of old white men.
There are lawmakers who don’t think I should be able to discuss my healthcare with my doctor free from government intervention. There are lawmakers who think female bodies can’t get pregnant from a rape. There are lawmakers who want to pass legislation to mandate ectopic pregnancies be reimplanted back in a woman. They don’t even have the faintest clue about how a woman’s body works, yet they want to be the boss of it.
Are you kidding me? I had to march.
I’ve only watched the first season of The Handmaid’s Tale. As horrific as it is to live in Gilead, the parts of the show that scare me the most are the flashbacks: scenes where we witness the United States as it systematically restricts women’s rights until we arrive at a totalitarian theocracy. Folks, it’s not much of a stretch from here to there.
I marched because we have people shooting up Jewish temples. We have babies taken from their parents by our government. Women still aren’t paid as much as men. People of color suffer from direct personal attacks and inherent systematic racism, in ways that as a white woman, I am still trying to wrap my head around. Sexual predation runs rampant in every facet of our communities. Corporations still exploit their workers. People can’t afford rent on minimum wage. For all the talk of how well the economy is doing, it’s only doing well for those that are already rich. People like you and me, who may not be invested in the stock market, and even though we are educated and well-employed, are not going to do as well as our parents did.
I had to march. For working people.
Health care is a mess and the insurance companies are out of control. I have a friend who right now is waiting for insurance to approve a CT scan for her young husband who has been told he likely has cancer. They won’t know until he has the scan. She’s been trying to get this test scheduled FOR A MONTH. Can you imagine waiting over a month for the insurance company to determine whether you’re worthy of life-saving health care?
I marched for my friend.
Our world is on fire from California to Australia, yet climate change is a hoax. I march for vulnerable populations in areas that will be underwater in 20 years. I march for SCIENCE.
A bunch of Muslim children were harassed by three men outside Kentucky’s Capitol earlier this week. Grown-ass men were yelling to kids that they were going to hell because they didn’t believe in the right God. I marched for those school children and to apologize for those idiots who unfortunately happen to have been born in my great state.
We have a President who is openly racist, misogynistic, xenophobic, and makes fun of people with disabilities, yet people are able to forgive that because they got some conservative judges appointed and a tax break for the rich. I marched because that behavior is not OK, and neither is condoning it with silence.
Our country has a lot of work to do to live up to its democratic ideals. We should all march.