The great majority of the people I am surrounded by share the same political opinions as me so I often have an illusion of the whole world feeling the same as I do. I do my best to step out of this world and hear about what others think. But sometimes I don't actually have to even try.
Last week, the world saw the biggest protest in the history of the US-- the Women’s March. I was in attendance at this great event and, on the way home afterward, I was scrolling through Facebook, looking at all the positive news articles, videos, and posts, full of inspiration, when I decided to take a look at some of the comments as well. The comments, on the other hand, seemed overwhelmingly negative.
One of the most recurring comments was that all the women in the march were being whiny, over the top, and dramatic because women in the US have many freedoms that women in other countries---such as in Saudi Arabia where women are not permitted to drive a car---do not have. Although, these concerned commenters are absolutely right in that we should be standing up to injustices around the world, this march was in no way a march against women’s rights in other countries. But if these same people support a man who says to put "only America First" and effectively ignore the international community---which sounds completely contradictory to speaking of any form of aid to the disenfranchised women of the world---why is it so outlandish that women in this country might want to stand up for the women of their own country? Not only that, but this march actually spanned seven continents, showing a stance of solidarity with women everywhere; it was a march for women everywhere. Furthermore, Donald Trump has just reinstated the Mexico City Policy, which will take away 27 million women's access worldwide to contraceptive supplies and services, an action that will most heavily impact women in the world's poorest countries. This, not the Women's March, is something to actually be upset about if you care about women's lives around the world.
As always, there were comments from citizens outraged at women for marching for the right to “kill babies.” I think it's important to remember that no one likes abortions. No one is running around having sex left and right and then just going to their monthly abortion appointment to take care of it because it’s just this great, super easy way to avoid responsibility. I have yet to meet or hear about anyone who would use abortion as their first resort for birth control. We have other contraceptive options for this purpose. But unplanned pregnancies, as well as planned pregnancies that must be terminated for medical reasons, do and will happen no matter how hard you wish they didn’t and abortions will still happen whether they are legal or not. The only difference is that they will likely no longer be safe--- a lose-lose situation. In terms of the moral argument of when a life begins, if "a life is a life is a life" why weren't the same women that were holding up the anti-abortion signs on saturday marching in support of their fellow Americans whose lives were lost because of the color of their skin? They were definitely, unarguably alive before they were killed. I understand voicing your concern about a cause you believe in, but this march was not a march for abortion but a march for humanity. If someone cares so deeply about human life, why not show this compassion for those already living?
However much the comments about the Women’s March focused on women’s and reproductive rights, the march itself was actually very inclusive in its scope of causes and issues. There are many things that concern people about the incoming administration, from the complete disregard of scientific evidence regarding human-induced global climate change, to the harsh attitude toward immigrants, to the lies and "alternative facts" that are being spread by those in charge (just to name a few), and people from all walks of life came together on January 21st to express these concerns and demonstrate that they will fight back against these many varied injustices.
As far as one thing goes, the vehement denouncers of the march are absolutely right---it is pretty ridiculous that there needs to be a march in 2017 for things like considering a women's work of the same value as a man's, for listening to simple scientific facts rather than your own personal opinion about the weather, for seeing immigrants as people and not as alien invaders, for holding equal value to all human life regardless of skin pigmentation or sexual orientation or gender identity.I am still awed and inspired by how many people came together last week to stand up for what is right (and by all the protests and action that is continuing to take place), but I hope that when our kids read about this in school it will seem like ancient history to them.