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Women’s March 2018: We shall overcome

"It's not just about winning a few seats, it's about changing a tone in our country, in our world and in our lives."

Image credit: Zach D. Roberts/NationofChange
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Donald J. Trump has been President now for 365 days. I’ll let that sink in.

In that time, we’ve seen seen mass mobilizations at airports against his travel ban. We’ve seen scientists take to the Capitol in protest and the environmental movement re-engaged. Americans have finally realized that white supremacists and Nazis are still living among them – and they’re doing something about it.

Image credit: Zach D. Roberts/NationofChange

The first mass action against this President, a full 365 days ago, was the Women’s March. One year later, people have been busy. In New Jersey a woman, Ashley Bennett defeated incumbent John Carman for a New Jersey Freeholder seat. She was inspired to run because Carman posted a meme mocking the women who marched.

Image credit: Zach D. Roberts/NationofChange

Whether you’re a Democrat or Republican, it’s been a hell of a year for diversity in government.

While President Trump fills his Cabinet and offices with mostly white men, elections have given us our first transgender person elected to the House of Representatives. She defeated one of the most conservative men in Congress. We’ve seen more women run for elected office than ever in the history of America.

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I guess, this is one victory we have to give to President Trump… whether he wants it or not.

That’s why this years Women’s March’s theme is Power to the Polls, urging people to get out and vote in the midterm elections.

Image credit: Zach D. Roberts/NationofChange

The speakers platform featured a large number of elected officials from Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi and Senator Tim Kaine to the newly elected representative to Virginia’s House of Delegates 21st District, Kelly Convirs-Fowler.

Va. Del. Kelly Fowler took to the mic with her two children – one, somewhat shy at standing in front of the thousands watching her on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, the other, proudly holding a sign declaring it her birthday. Fowler told how her child was born on the day that Obama was inaugurated, making today her 9th birthday.

The crowd sang Happy Birthday to her.

Just a year ago, Fowler never imagined that she’d run for office, but the Women’s March changed that.

“It’s not just about winning a few seats, it’s about changing a tone in our country, in our world and in our lives.”

If there was one theme from the speakers, male and female, it was not just a need to change red states to blue (that certainly was emphasized), but to change the tone of politics in America.

That wasn’t just the speakers though – that was the over arching concern of the rally goers as well.

Image credit: Zach D. Roberts/NationofChange

“Will we overcome?”

That was the question I put to many people at the march.

As a country, there’s little doubt that we can survive four years of Trump, but what state will we be in afterwards? Will there be any faith left in government, or elected officials? Will the human infrastructure of places like the EPA or the Parks Department be there?

Image credit: Zach D. Roberts/NationofChange

Susan Freedman, who flew in from Chicago told me:

“I think it’s going to be really hard. First of all, I’m a senior citizen and this man [Trump] is an anarchist. And when you break down the government, if you think it’s going to be easy to rebuild it … every elected official who is supporting his actions with no ramifications is going to leave a long term imprint to what is happening to our nation.”

Image credit: Zach D. Roberts/NationofChange

Susan’s not the only one (obviously!) disgusted what the Republican Party is doing to the country. Wearing a knitted pink hat and cool shades, Lisa Helene Lawson is a ex-Republican.

“I can no longer, as a woman or as a human being, support the Republican Party. They are taking on health care, on minorities… the lies that are going on, the appeasement that is going on on behalf of this President, who has proved to be a bigot, it’s just heartbreaking. Paul Ryan, who’ve I’ve always believed, have always been told, was an honest person, was a policy wonk… it’s just heartbreaking what he’s done. I can no longer support them.”

Lisa can’t go so far as to register as a Democrat – she’s ticked at them as well – but she’ll be voting for them.

It’s people like Lisa that, 2 years from now as the primaries for 2020 begin, will make the difference. They’re voters, clearly, but they’re not normally the sort of activists that show up to these things.

Last year, many of the men and women that I talked to told me the 2017 Women’s March was their first protest of any kind. Nearly all of the people that I had talked to at the March for Science said the same.

This growing tide – as several signs I saw referenced, a ‘blue tide’ – was a lot like the change that we saw in Virginia. Ordinary people changing their minds to support more progressive candidates from beginning to end.

Image credit: Zach D. Roberts/NationofChange

While January 20th, 2018 didn’t have Sean Spicer taking to the podium like a freshly woken badger, spitting lies about crowd sizes and audience numbers, it wouldn’t be a major American event without a stupid tweet from the President.

With the government shutdown, President Donald Trump must have had free time clearly to look outside his window and see the thousands chanting messages from “Dump Trump” to (one that he should enjoy) “Lock Him Up!” He clearly took some notice as he tweeted:

As always, missing the point. But he’s got three more years to figure it out, and, with protests scheduled weekly from any number of groups in front of the White House, there will be a lot of people trying to educate him.

Image credit: Zach D. Roberts/NationofChange

So, will we overcome? Will Trump’s presidency push the American people to apathy or positive action? I think actions like this weekend’s Women’s March and the actions still to come this year make that clear enough.

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