The Women’s March

January 29, 2017 GMT

By any standard, the Women’s March on Washington was a huge success. The sponsors expected 20,000 people, and the last count suggested half a million demonstrators appeared, women and men marching for gender equality and health care. There were sister marches across the U.S. and in many European capitals. The march was not meant to be an attack on President Donald Trump inaugurated the day before, but his plans to abolish Obamacare and defund Planned Parenthood certainly provided an impetus.

A number of celebrities spoke, including pop singer Madonna, who said she often thought about “blowing up the White House” but admitted that wouldn’t work. Actress Ashley Judd in a passionate speech declared she was a “nasty woman,” repeating Donald Trump’s attack on Hillary Clinton during a debate, but then added being a “nasty woman” was better than any number of other possibilities including being a “neo-Nazi.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Pocatello had a Women’s March, as well. Despite cold weather and snow, the number of marchers was around 1,400 people participating, give or take a few “alternative facts.” Leaders of the Women’s March, which includes men because it is basically a movement for human rights, have a clear mission: “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.”

Civil Disobedience and protests are part of our democracy, from Henry David Thoreau’s refusal to support the war against Mexico to the Civil Rights Movement and Martin Luther King Jr. These movements can be liberal or conservative.

On Feb. 19, 2009, on the floor of the Stock Exchange, Rick Santelli, an editor for the CNBC Business News network, gave an angry speech attacking a bail-out policy by President Barack Obama that inspired the early formation of the conservative tea party movement. It will be interesting to see if Trump supporters create their own march.

President Trump is popular with foreign leaders such as England’s Nigel Farage who led the Brexit movement and Marion Anne Perrine Le Pen, the president of France’s National Front. According to the European press, Trump’s victory has given Le Pen hope of becoming France’s next President:

“And Ms. Le Pen is not alone. From the Balkans to the Netherlands, politicians on the far right have greeted the election of Mr. Trump with unrestrained delight and as a radical reconfiguring of the political landscape — not just in the United States, but in Europe as well.”

If the future is full of political turbulence, one hopes the basic cause of the Women’s March is not lost: gender equality and basic health care.

Michael Corrigan graduated from San Francisco State with an MA in English and creative writing. He is a retired instructor of English and speech communications from Idaho State University. He has written several articles for various outlets, including Atticus Literary magazine online.