What a fitting song Donald Trump chose for his first dance as President of the United States at Friday night’s Inaugural Ball – “My Way.” Poor Melania didn’t look as if she was having fun. I expect she might have liked to escape, don a pink pussy hat the next day and join the Women’s March on Washington, where she could be herself – free of heavy-handed fear mongering, lying and attempts to control, divide and conquer.
Traveling by bus to Washington with a group of friends from Philadelphia, I was among the millions marching across the country and around the world last Saturday. Over my 70 years, I have marched for many causes, but this march was different. First of all, where did all those hundreds of thousands of pink knit pussy hats come from? Women all over the country shared a pattern and knitted those hats. Women who could not march in Washington, sent them to those who could. That's how I got mine. I heard that stores around the country had run out of pink yarn.
Though the Electoral College handed Trump a victory over the candidate who won the popular vote and should have been our first woman president, Saturday’s march demonstrated that the women of this country have not been, and will never be defeated. The crowd of pink hats representing many generations of women, along with some children and supportive men, was so immense that we filled the entire parade route from the Capital to the White House. There was no room left to march.
Most media called the crowd at 500,000, but those who counted the crowds in the side streets, who could not get onto the parade route, claimed one million. It certainly seemed that large to us. After hours of making our way through the crowds, joining in chants like, “Welcome to your first day, we will not go away,” and seeing homemade signs like, “Girls just want to have FUNdamental rights,” our group finally caught a glimpse of the giant monitors and heard inspiring speeches by women who represented a rainbow of colors and ethnicities, including Native American, Latina, Muslim, Black and White, and more. Chants broke out: “This is what democracy looks like.”
Despite the pressing crowds, there was no incidence of violence. I never saw pushing nor heard an unkind word. We looked out for each other, sharing food and water and were buoyed by the surging positive energy to keep walking for hours. We laughed at signs like “We shall over comb” and chants like “Cant build the wall, hands too small.” There was a collective joy in the enormity of what we were taking part in and a feeling of empowerment in our solidarity for the fights that lie ahead.
Our army in pink pussy hats sent a message to the grabber-in-chief: we will not be demeaned, exploited or assaulted. We refuse to give up control over our own bodies to your policies or your sexual aggressions. We honor our bodies no matter what shape, size or color. We refuse to loose our health care. We refuse to stand by while greed destroys our planet and robs our grandchildren of their future. We refuse a gun culture that allows our children to be slaughtered in their classrooms. We refuse to see immigrant families torn apart by deportation. We refuse to make enemies of our neighbors.
Our way -- loving one another, caring for each other, sharing with one another –- will build a compassionate America that respects and cares for all people and for our Mother Earth. We reject the narcissistic “me first” tone of “America first.” Shouldn’t Earth come first? Should we not care first for our home planet on which all our lives depend? And put Earth’s children first? The children of every country and of every species in the vibrant web of life?
The Women’s March was not for just a day. We are marching on, joined by the men who love and respect us, who have the healthy balance of feminine and masculine energies that we seek in our children, our culture, our economy and our government. We, the majority - men and women of all races and faiths together - are organizing for this week, for next week, for 2018 and beyond. We are building an America that will overcome the historic injustices of white supremacy and misogyny to achieve the true destiny of our beloved country – an America truly by and for the people.
Now is the time to show that our way is the American way - an America that respects indigenous rights, minority rights, gender rights, religious rights, the rights of the disabled, women’s rights, human rights and non-human rights in all of nature.
The America of the future is about partnership, not domination; sharing, not hoarding; bridges, not walls; respect, not ridicule; peace, not war; love, not fear. It will take time, but we will not be stopped. Patriarchy, the end is near. We are doing it our way.