As a man, I almost didn’t go to the Women’s March. It was a rare Saturday that I had set aside to clean up the house in preparation for a small renovation project. The sky was grey and the air was damp. Spending hours standing outside in Northern Vermont in the middle of winter has limited appeal for most people.
My oldest daughter Meika had traveled from New York to Washington DC. My youngest daughter Chiara was marching in Ithaca, NY where she was at school. My wife Sheila had organized a car pool with several friends to make the one-hour drive from Burlington to Montpelier, VT where several thousand people were expected. My son was skiing in Lake Tahoe.
A mile or so before we arrived at the Montpelier highway exit cars were backed up. When we finally got off the highway there were cars littered everywhere. This was going to be something bigger than I had imagined, not a small group of Vermont hippies trudging around a muddy schoolyard.
The post-Trump election, depression, disbelief seems to have to have found a common outlet for expression. It felt like the entire state of Vermont had shown up and I was thrilled to be there. Not since the Vietnam war, have I felt such a profound feeling of the need to come together to support a common cause. A cause that at first appeared not to be my cause.
I almost didn’t go to the Women’s March, but for some reason I couldn’t quite identify, I felt I needed to show up. I had failed to show up for dozens of marches over the last two decades. It was always unclear to what purpose and effect marches have and why one would want to give up a whole day to participate. Why was this different?
It wasn’t clear what we hoped to accomplish. What was clear was that we needed to shown up to let the new administration know that shit wasn’t going to go down easy. While the narrative was focused on protecting women’s rights, the experience was about protecting human rights. The new administration needs to know that we will resist. Resist at every turn. Every attempt to accelerate inequity and injustice, destruction to our environment, limits to freedom, and all forms of discrimination.
Sometimes we just need to show up even if we’re not sure why. Now more than ever. This won’t be the last time. The next four years will unleash days that will leave us shaking our heads in disbelief. We will mourn the loss of decades of progress and read headlines that bring tears to our eyes. We will resist, hold our ground, and ban together because women’s rights are human rights.