By Chicago standards, January 20 was an exceptional winter day. With the sun shining and temperatures in the low 40s, I donned my tasteful pussy hat, attached a protest button to my winter jacket, and even made this sign:
While it wasn’t as gloriously warm as last year’s Women’s March, this one felt so much better. Being part of the 300,000 people who showed up to deliver a fairly coherent message – that we would show up in the November midterm elections – felt (dare I say it) hopeful. If we do march to the polls, women and men who care about children not receiving healthcare and want to help the Dreamers, because our current leaders won’t reauthorize CHIP or pass DACA, could we actually be the change we want to see in the world?
President Obama gave voice to this sentiment many times, saying:
Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.
The best way to not feel hopeless is to get up and do something. Don’t wait for good things to happen to you. If you go out and make some good things happen, you will fill the world with hope, you will fill yourself with hope.”
In the face of impossible odds, people who love this country can change it
Let us remember we are all part of one American family. We are united in common values, and that includes belief in equality under the law, basic respect for public order, and the right of peaceful protest.
What I'm asking for is hard. It's easier to be cynical; to accept that change isn't possible, and politics is hopeless, and to believe that our voices and actions don't matter. But if we give up now, then we forsake a better future.
A change is brought about because ordinary people do extraordinary things.
The first time I participated in the Women’s March in 2017, it was the day after Trump’s inauguration. My husband, our close friends, and I joined a sea of ordinary people needing to give voice to a different America, an America that did not vote for Donald Trump. Although we were in the majority according to the popular vote, somehow Trump had managed to win the electoral college and thus the presidency.
The protest was tinged with anger and disbelief. Signs often reflected what Sarah Sanders and other Republicans call Trump’s “strong language.” Lots of signs with the F word, the C word, and endless variations of Trump’s “locker room talk” from the Access Hollywood tape. There were unflattering Trump effigies all over the place. My feelings were summed up by several posters declaring folks could not believe they still had to protest this s***.
The 2018 Women’s March was less angry and more focused. March to the polls was the pervasive theme. Multiple speakers encouraged us to support candidates, especially female candidates, who reflected our values. The prevailing message was to show up.
I keep thinking about the quote by Angela Y. Davis,
I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change. I am changing the things I cannot accept.
For the sake of my beloved grandkids, for the future of our country and our planet, I march and write in the hope that ordinary people like me can join with like-minded folks to be the change we want to see in the world.
Yes. We. Can.