“This is the upside of the downside.”
Gloria Steinem smiled at us through her sunglasses, with an air of satisfaction and reassurance. Hundreds of thousands of us cheered in response, clutching our pussy hats and swooning over our collective hero.
We are the marchers.
We are the majority. We are the popular vote, and this is what democracy looks like.
On Saturday, January 21, I was one of the approximately 3 million people who attended a Women’s March. My friends and I descended upon Washington and marched from the U.S. Capitol to the White House. We made signs, we chanted, we rallied through the body aches and hunger and full bladders to join hands with our fellow Americans. We cried when Trayvon Martin and Eric Gardner’s mothers asked us to #SAYHISNAME. We raised our fists with Gloria and with Angela Davis. We sang “this girl is on fire” with Alicia Keys. We got chills from the men chanting HER BODY, HER CHOICE.
As I write this, I have tears in my eyes. We the people are a force to be reckoned with.
Trump and Spicer have downplayed the turnout for the Women’s March on Washington and tried to redirect the conversation elsewhere. “Why didn’t these people vote?” he asks. We did – and it wasn’t for you. The majority of us didn’t vote for you. Or had you forgotten?
He’s actively trying to obscure the truth. Overreacting to the slightest criticism regarding his own inauguration’s attendance, especially when aerial shots prove a pitiful turnout compared to Obama’s (and, for that matter, yesterday’s march). He’s simultaneously attempting to distract from the resistance, questioning our validity and intelligence and insulting his constituents rather than addressing our concerns.
This is nothing new for Trump. But here’s the thing. In December, his tantrums were nothing more than a thin-skinned man flying off the handle (via Twitter) at the slightest provocation. Today, his words are those of a president actively obscuring the truth of his opposition. Not even congressional or judicial opposition – as if that'd make it better - opposition by the people, for the people.
That’s some kleptocratic bullshit. It reeks of borderline authoritarian behavior. That's #WHYIMARCH.
I have a modest proposal:
Let this be a presidency, and not a regime.
Ideally a short presidency. Pence is almost unfathomably awful, but it’s all relative, right? At this point, I’d prefer to suffer through four years of the GOP we know than an autocratic, kleptocratic, immature, reactionary, childish man that currently occupies our highest seat.
I told you it was a modest proposal. And oh, how scared we are that it’s a Trump regime and not a Trump presidency.
When we marched, we did not fear each other. We did not worry that the resistance would become violent, that the rally would turn into a mob, that the tide of angry women would turn on each other. Of course we didn’t.
We worried about a police state. We wondered if we’d become America’s version of one of Argentina’s disappeared. We wrote lawyers’ numbers on our arms, should our peaceful protest be met with an arrest. We left notes to our loved ones… just in case. We feared the inauguration was code for a coup. The most paranoid piece of ourselves worried we’d walk into a junta - perhaps not today, but is that what we're becoming? Because Trump’s vernacular resembles Pinochet far more than it does Obama, even Bush.
We will not be silent, but still we worry that authoritarianism has entered our beloved country. We refuse to accept the death of democracy, but recognize the warning signs.
And so we march.
I leave you with a few of our chants from the Women’s March on Washington:
This is what democracy looks like.
Welcome to your first day. We will not go away.
Love, not hate. That’s what makes America great.
psssst Congress' phone number is (202) 225-3121 xoxo
Taylor Coil is a marketing manager who works remotely from around the world.