Sunday, January 22, 2017
The Answer to the Problem of Violence & What I learned at #WomensMarchinWashington
Yesterday, I was among the 1% or more the US population to show up at one of the Women's Marches. These weren't just in the US, but worldwide .
If you ask me what I was marching for, I'd have to say it was an act of personal catharsis, a statement in favor of human rights, and an opposition to many of the things that our new president has said he intends to support. I've long ago come to peace with the idea that many people have different political ideas than I do, and that is not what defines who I associate with (or even marry). But what I haven't been able to come to peace with is our new president's lack of kindness. My sign, made with every bit of knowledge I gathered from my public school art classes (thank you, Mr. Trogler), and a couple of YouTube videos on 'how to make a sign' videos, but no natural artistic talent, simply said, "Make America Kind Again." Please, this has no deep philosophical meaning, take it at face value. And if kindness is too much to ask, then simply the wish that we would not expend energy to be actively unkind-- the Jewish version of "Do not do unto others that which you would not have done to you."
There are just too many stories where our new president puts his
efforts into being unkind, towards women, towards the disabled, towards immigrants, towards minorities, and towards those with less fortunate beginnings than his own. I'll leave it to others to talk politics, I'm putting in my vote for kindness.
So what can I tell you about the Women's March in Washington yesterday.
--It was crowded. It was really crowded, as was the metro.
--There were lots of people in pink hats.
--There were lots of people with lots of issues. While many had issues pertaining to women, and I particularly liked "Let's talk about the elephant in the womb" with a little Republican symbol elephant inside a drawing of a uterus, there were many other issues represented, including climate change, health care, education, gun control, immigration, equality for all, and the list marches on. --There were many angry posters (sorry, I don't think F*ck Trump accomplishes much) and many posters about love. I was a bit amused that people with angry signs or wrapped in tape that bore obscenities asked to photography my Make America Kind Again sign. And some of my friends were wearing Nasty Women shirts; not much for consistency, but they aren't actually nasty women (in fact, they are all quite nice).
--It was civil.
--In fact, it was kind. On the jammed metro on the way back, I asked a friend if she had a piece of gum; when she didn't, a stranger gave me a piece. We argued over who would take the empty seat. ("you take it...") when one became available. The packed people all moved for cars, for people in distress, for those with young children.
--People jeered outside the Trump Hotel. I didn't witness anyone throwing anything, charging the gates, or behaving badly. Judge the jeering as you will.
--There were lots of men.
--In Baltimore, 5,000 people gathered. I'm not aware that there was any violence. This is a city where there are shootings at birthday parties for toddlers, and where peaceful protests have turned into full-scale riots that make national headlines. Yet thousands of distressed people gathered to protest without event! I wish I could tell you that no one died a violent death in Baltimore yesterday, but I can't; just not at the women's march.
--A colorful sign is a very useful way to keep a group from getting dispersed at a huge rally.
There were over 600 marches worldwide. I don't know that there was no violence, but it seems that riots didn't make the news. These were people who were angry about many issues and our new administration. But they were also women, or people supporting women, and the fewer men, the less the likelihood of violence. Obviously, the vast majority of men are not violent, and I don't want you to walk away thinking that I believe that men are violent, but for whatever reason (cultural conditioning, less testosterone?), women, as a demographic, are much less so.
I would have said this before-- and there is no way anyone wants to hear it-- but if you want to end gun deaths and mass murder, there is a simple solution. Stop talking about mental illness and keep guns out of the hands of men.
I was glad I was there. I hope our president gets a message that his plans are not as popular as he'd like them to be. And I hope he strives for kindness.
Posted by Dinah on Sunday, January 22, 2017