This is the Story: Women March in 2017
Yesterday, standing among members of the National Nurses Association and Moveon.org under the window of California Senator Diane Feinstein’s office, we protested the pending Trump Cabinet choices, urging our Senator to reject Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State, as well as the other oil barons under consideration. The big lie of the Trump take-over is that there is oil in the ground, there is nothing wrong with our taking it or drilling for it anywhere we can, and we should consume it willingly because climate change and the carbon emissions problem aren’t a problem at all. That Trump has the arrogance to project this idea, ridicule Obama, and denounce the scientific community while also degrading the Presidency leaves me speechless with anger. Feinstein did not come down to speak with us or answer our questions, but sent, instead, an aide who also would not talk to us or answer questions. The aide took our multiple petitions back upstairs. It was a sunny day with a perfectly blue sky. From her office the contingent went to Kamala Harris’ office and onto Barbara Lee’s.
I begin this piece about the Womens’ March on Washington, a day in American history that will not be forgotten, with this local story because the event was, for myself and others, a continuation of that march; a promise of solidarity and a nod to the potential of our Representatives to do the right thing.
On January 21st, 2017, nearly 5 million people, women and men and children of women and men, maybe more, marched globally, in small American cities and towns as far away as Haines, Alaska, and as near as Walnut Creek; in major capitols of nearly every Western industrialized nation: Australia, Canada, England, France, Italy, Mexico, Poland and beyond. Saturday the 21st was a beautiful day; a pink-yarn hat tinged-day, heads and signs bobbing along Market Street; and a pleasing pink hue to the photographs like blossoms in a sea of grass.
The March was one of solidarity with all women against the boorish conduct of our new President. It was a march in defense of Planned Parenthood, the women’s health organization started by Margaret Sanger in 1916, which has provided contraception and reproductive health care to thousands of women over decades. It was a march to support each others’ belief about our nation that America was not a parsimonious and cheesy place where sexist men could get away with “pussy-grabbing” against our will. It was a march to celebrate our mothers and our motherhood, our sexuality and our sexual liberation from motherhood. It was a march for lesbian women to celebrate their self-actualization. The entire world rocked on Saturday, January 21st, 2017. It was the best day in the entire two years of Donald J. Trump’s ascension to power. We showed him up close and personal. There were many great signs. There were signs so great that now American museums are collecting our Women’s March on Washington 2017 signs. Women and men in the arts are keeping the record from becoming faked. That’s the news. All the news that’s fit to print.
So the resistance continues. One great march and we turn hopeful that constant counter-culture activity will produce the desired effects of harm-reduction to the American people and to our democratic institutions after Obama’s domestically rewarding Presidency. At Diane Feinstein’s office, the possibility of 20-30 million Americans losing their new-found health insurance made more affordable by the Affordable Health Care Act, and the attack on Social Security and Medicare, loomed large. The Nurses' Association leader, the public school teacher, the Oakland pastor, and the gay lover all spoke about the ACA.
Just as we don’t believe that we need to be born again, we don’t believe that we need to make America great again. America is already great like Earth is already great. In fact, we had not needed to make America great again, until recently. Before that we were all at work on a great project, the improvement of many aspects of American life. But, this last week with Trump signing away public land, women's rights, Indian and Canadian land for oil pipelines, and what is left of the integrity of the US government on so many levels, it is nearly impossible to believe that one man could do so much to destroy what we had, in such a short period of time. Donald Trump accelerates the pace of life itself with the grotesque peculiarity and artificial repulsion factor of an industrial milking machine which when attached to the cow’s udder as a group of mechanically undulating nozzles milks the BHT-injected cow relentlessly to the point of product and health exhaustion. This is a metaphor for the daily beat of his drum to any conflict, and for his "vision" for advancing us backwards to the future.
We are supposed to follow and so we lead. We are supposed to trust and so we reject the lies. We are supposed to recover from the verbal attacks and abuse and so we hold each other and express our love. We are supposed to stop caring and so we learn to belong.
And so, we are not alone. We are not isolated and we are not going to stop our extreme resistance to this opposite way of life and of doing from that which make us human. No, rather, we are going to be part of a much larger picture; a picture of good faith and resolve; a picture of belief in each other and in the truths that knowledge and love bestow upon us.
We stand together and, like a tree that’s standing by the water, we sing that song and lift up our voice to the blue sky and the sun, because we have loved and do love…to be free.
Molly Hankwitz, Ph.D. lives on the Left Coast,USA. She works and writes about art and social issues.
Protest photo by Molly Hankwitz, SF Womens' March, 2017.
"Mad Cow Disease" by Liu Queng, from http://www.easyvegan.info/tag/milk/