"You need to make a sash," I said. The kind of half-joking, half-sincere thing I often say. Spoken to my wife a couple days ago, leading up to Saturday's big women's march in Chicago—and Washington, and New York, and around the country, protesting the election of Donald Trump, a president dedicated to undermining the civil rights of women in our country.
Sashes of course were what suffragettes wear. "Votes for Women." Just one hundred years ago. And the sexism is so baked into our society that, unlike those who marched and were beaten for Civil Rights in the 1950s and 1960s, the big-hatted suffragettes — who also marched and were also beaten — are remembered as somewhat ridiculous: Winifred Banks, ignoring her children for some cause. Her sash ends up the tail of a kite, when she returns to her family, where she belongs.
|Carla Slawson, with breakfast, hurries to the station.|
Not to focus on him. The key truth to always keep in mind is that Trump didn't make us like this, he just came along and exploited how we are. And in that sense, ultimately, he might have done this country a service, by so highlighting our deficiencies, assuming we are able to remedy them. But it will be a long uphill slog to get there, made harder by who is now in power across the federal government.
I would have gone along to protest, but didn't want to big foot into the women's march. Besides, a half dozen friends were meeting her. Instead, I hovered as she got ready, spewing Polonius advice. "The police use their bikes as a wall," I said, describing the "Seattle maneuver" I observed at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. "They create a perimeter and then expand it to move the crowd. Don't get up against the bikes because you'll end up getting pushed back."
She said she'd be fine, and I'm sure she will be.
I am proud of my wife for going, for making extra signs, for those without, for making several defending science, also under immediate assault. Proud that our neighbors happily went, taking the 7:30 Metra Milwaukee North line.
As a rule, I narrow my eyes at protests. What's the point? Who are you protesting to? Donald Trump? He sure ain't listening. His followers? They don't even perceive reality. They've already cherry-picked a few acts of protest violence to wave smugly at each other and giddily denounce the lib-tards and their violence. And what do you hope to accomplish? Trump isn't going anywhere. Women's rights will be a pinata for the next four years.
But seeing my wife off at the station, I realized why protesters protest. Not for the subject of their protest, but for themselves. Because they have to. They have to do something. To speak up. It isn't for Trump, or the Republicans, or their voters. It's for them, for their sense of duty, so as the next four bleak years of corruption, self-dealing, incompetence and hostility toward women unfolds, they can say, "We did what I could. We stood up. We spoke out." It's a beautiful, bold, feminine, American thing.