Women’s March 2.0: Still, We Persist

Tens of thousands of Puget Sound residents came out Saturday to mark the one-year anniversary of the Women’s March.

I’ve attended both years and here’s my report from the ground: the resistance is strong. It’s stronger than last year. And it’s gaining by the day. What began as a protest to the election and inauguration of Trump — a dangerous and unstable president we see as “super callous, fascist, racist, sexist, bragga-docious,” according to a sign a friend carried — has become a movement.

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It’s a movement that’s marching straight toward the November midterms to flip the House from red to blue, put the Dems back on the map, and give us the best chance before 2020 to oust the man who lost the popular vote, but won the electoral college based on a campaign of fear and anger, scapegoating, and propaganda by right-wing media and the Russians.

I’d hoped in the past year that the GOP would wake up and speak out on Trump’s bully tweets, his dangerous policies and undemocratic, irresponsible actions, but most have remained silent. There have been some notable exceptions, but not enough.

Well women have had enough. Time’s up.

The women’s movement is sparking hope in a dark time. It’s a movement of women seizing their power just as my daughters are coming of age and into their own. Dare I hope that things will be different for them? That they will be seen for their merits? That they will have opportunities equal to their male counterparts? That they will never have to say #metoo unless it’s in response not to pain, but to something positive?

Record numbers of women are speaking up.

Record numbers of women are running for office.

Record numbers of women are winning. We elected a woman to the state Senate in our district last November and flipped our Legislature from red to blue. A logjam of bills are now making their way through the capitol building in Olympia, from education funding to voting rights and equal pay, to prescription drug cost accountability, feeding hungry school kids, and common sense gun safety measures that a vast majority of us agree on.

Seattle elected its first woman mayor since 1926 — and notably, both candidates on the ballot were women! That was unheard of not so long ago. It’s now normal for my daughters. This is progress, despite the enormous setback we’ve been dealt by Trump’s election to the highest office.

This is a movement in which my daughter — a new voter! — can cast her own ballot. Marching with her on Saturday was as exciting as taking her to the ballot box with her very first vote last November.

Her friends are new voters, or soon-to-be new voters, too. We marched with a group of them. And these strong, intelligent, independent young women gave me hope. Hope has been a hard thing to sustain over the past year, but it’s still here. It persists — nevertheless.

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