Some may call it old news (and I wouldn’t blame them for it, what with the frequency of inflammatory developments we’ve seen lately) but I want to take a look at the Women’s March, specifically its opponents, if I’m even justified in calling them that.
The march, however relevant it remains, occurred weeks ago. So why am I returning to it?
I suppose it’s because, well, it makes me sad.
I don’t mean the march itself, no. It’s the people who found in it an opportunity to pick another battle, to call others ungrateful or untruthful, to draw another thoughtless line in the sand — this is the part that makes me sad.
Don’t misunderstand me; I hear you, all of you who weren’t in favor of the march. I hear your cries, your justified insistence that things right now are the best they’ve been in a long time.
I understand that, yes, we have so much to be grateful for here in the United States. We enjoy so many rights; rights that some people have to fight for, and even die for, in other parts of the world. Most of us are fortunate enough to believe, and not too foolishly, that we can do and become anything if we just work hard enough.
But — here’s the but — our nation is certainly not a utopia. Far from it.
There are still so many people who aren’t getting the entirety of what they were promised when they became citizens, people who day after day see our country fall horribly short of the standards we set in our Constitution, in our very name.
We may be better off than those in many places around the globe, but we cannot fall into the danger of measuring our progress against that of the opposite extreme. (Who wouldn’t call herself a good person after comparing herself to Hitler?)
Instead, our primary measure of progress has to be our own; we have to look at our history, more importantly our present, and most importantly our future.
That said, allow me to ask: Were you really an opponent of the Women’s March? Or did you merely feel the need to justify your absence?
If the latter is the case, I am sorry that some of your fellow citizens made you appear to be in the wrong for not marching. Because you really didn’t have to march if you didn’t see a need for it; it remains your choice, after all.
But you also didn’t have to belittle those who saw the need and acted upon it.
Our needs and the needs of others are not one and the same. It’s such a simple thing to state, but it’s one we often forget: we’re all different. That’s the tragedy and the beauty of it.
Finally, let me leave you with this: respect.
I know how easy it is to condemn the people we disagree with, to label them as enemies, to critique them privately as we watch from afar.
But I believe I’m speaking for all sides when I say that anger dispersed among a group of like-minded people does not always have the intended effect.
I say “sides” only because I must. Such a concept should feel archaic to a modern, united nation. And yet it seems we can’t get through a single serious conversation today without picking one or the other.
There are, you see, enough sides carved into these United States already. There are too many of us with word-filled weapons at the ready, and too little of us with open arms.
All I am asking is for us to unite.
Let’s unite. Let’s unite.
After all we've done, let’s just unite.