Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" I'm Anne Johnson -- white, female, worker.
In 17 days I will be heading to Washington, DC to participate in the Women's March on Washington. The very day I heard there was to be such a thing, I signed up to go. Since then I have read everything on the Internet about the march, both positive and negative.
Day before yesterday, I read a negative. It is called "The Women's March on Washington Has Already Failed."
Long story short, the article suggests that the march lacks focus. What is the main aim of this protest? There are so many factions! For some people, it's about women's health. For others it's about health care in general. Some people are worried about the environment. Some people are opposed to tax cuts for the rich. There are LGBTQ folks and Black Lives Matter folks and gun control advocates and opponents of charter schools. So, who's in charge here?
Who's in charge? Who cares! Look at all these concerns! Which one is more important than the next? Do we need to prioritize them? Okay, then. I offer my own humble prioritization:
1. climate change
2. social safety net
3. human rights
This is just my opinion. I mean, really. This is just me.
It would be really nice if the only purpose for the Women's March on Washington was the preservation of women's individual rights to choose what happens to their bodies. One issue! Great! Except that, all at once, all of these huge issues are crashing down simultaneously. To choose one, and focus just on that one, would marginalize the others. And that goes for any one of the concerns listed above.
Plenty of people will line up to tell you that protest marches have no lasting effect on public policy. The marchers gather, shout, disperse, and that's it. No one needs to pay attention to silly marches. They don't matter.
Let's run the highlight film of the twentieth century, shall we?
Oh my goodness! This march on Washington had no lasting impact on public policy! Heck, the guy in the photo wound up getting shot! (*Anne being sarcastic*)
Marches can, and do, change things. The changes don't happen overnight, the moment the tired protesters go home and take off their shoes. But the changes do happen. Marches can become defining moments in history. Not all of them do, of course, but enough of them do.
I suppose when some cheeky reporter tells me that a women's march has already failed, I just have a hard time believing it. Yes! Maybe on January 22, 2017 the march will look like a failure. But maybe, over the long haul, gathering 200,000 (or more, I'm hoping more) citizens in the nation's capital, for a dizzying array of serious issues, will influence public policy in the decades to come.
Does this march need a unifying theme? A focus? I don't think so. In fact, the more voices we get, and the wider diversity they represent, the better. Not one issue, not one person, should be left along the margins.
Over the next two weeks, I'll be giving you all of my many reasons for marching. When I'm all through, maybe you can help me decide what to write on my sign.
Once more unto the breach, dear friends. Will I see you there?