Women’s March 2018: We Shall Overcome

January 22nd, 2018 - by admin

Zach D. Roberts / NationofChange & Nina Mast / Media Matters – 2018-01-22 22:55:40

Women’s March 2018: We shall overcome

Women’s March 2018: We Shall Overcome
Zach D. Roberts / NationofChange

“It’s not just about winning a few seats,
it’s about changing a tone in our country,
in our world and in our lives.”

(January 21, 2018) — Donald J. Trump has been President now for 365 days. I’ll let that sink in.

In that time, we’ve seen seen mass mobilizations at airports against his travel ban. We’ve seen scientists take to the Capitol in protest and the environmental movement re-engaged. Americans have finally realized that white supremacists and Nazis are still living among them — and they’re doing something about it.

The first mass action against this President, a full 365 days ago, was the Women’s March. One year later, people have been busy. In New Jersey a woman, Ashley Bennett defeated incumbent John Carman for a New Jersey Freeholder seat. She was inspired to run because Carman posted a meme mocking the women who marched.

Whether you’re a Democrat or Republican, it’s been a hell of a year for diversity in government.

While President Trump fills his Cabinet and offices with mostly white men, elections have given us our first transgender person elected to the House of Representatives. She defeated one of the most conservative men in Congress. We’ve seen more women run for elected office than ever in the history of America.

I guess, this is one victory we have to give to President Trump . . . whether he wants it or not.

That’s why this years Women’s March’s theme is Power to the Polls, urging people to get out and vote in the midterm elections.

The speakers platform featured a large number of elected officials from Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi and Senator Tim Kaine to the newly elected representative to Virginia’s House of Delegates 21st District, Kelly Convirs-Fowler.

Va. Del. Kelly Fowler took to the mic with her two children — one, somewhat shy at standing in front of the thousands watching her on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, the other, proudly holding a sign declaring it her birthday. Fowler told how her child was born on the day that Obama was inaugurated, making today her 9th birthday.

The crowd sang Happy Birthday to her.

Just a year ago, Fowler never imagined that she’d run for office, but the Women’s March changed that.

If there was one theme from the speakers, male and female, it was not just a need to change red states to blue (that certainly was emphasized), but to change the tone of politics in America.

That wasn’t just the speakers though — that was the over arching concern of the rally goers as well.

“Will we overcome?” That was the question I put to many people at the march.

As a country, there’s little doubt that we can survive four years of Trump, but what state will we be in afterwards? Will there be any faith left in government, or elected officials? Will the human infrastructure of places like the EPA or the Parks Department be there?

Susan Freedman, who flew in from Chicago told me:
“I think it’s going to be really hard. First of all, I’m a senior citizen and this man [Trump] is an anarchist. And when you break down the government, if you think it’s going to be easy to rebuild it . . . every elected official who is supporting his actions with no ramifications is going to leave a long term imprint to what is happening to our nation.”

Susan’s not the only one (obviously!) disgusted what the Republican Party is doing to the country. Wearing a knitted pink hat and cool shades, Lisa Helene Lawson is an ex-Republican.

“I can no longer, as a woman or as a human being, support the Republican Party. They are taking on health care, on minorities . . . the lies that are going on, the appeasement that is going on on behalf of this President, who has proved to be a bigot, it’s just heartbreaking. Paul Ryan, who’ve I’ve always believed, have always been told, was an honest person, was a policy wonk . . . it’s just heartbreaking what he’s done. I can no longer support them.”

Lisa can’t go so far as to register as a Democrat — she’s ticked at them as well — but she’ll be voting for them.

It’s people like Lisa that, two years from now as the primaries for 2020 begin, will make the difference. They’re voters, clearly, but they’re not normally the sort of activists that show up to these things.

Last year, many of the men and women that I talked to told me the 2017 Women’s March was their first protest of any kind. Nearly all of the people that I had talked to at the March for Science said the same.

This growing tide — as several signs I saw referenced, a ‘blue tide’ — was a lot like the change that we saw in Virginia. Ordinary people changing their minds to support more progressive candidates from beginning to end.

While January 20th, 2018 didn’t have Sean Spicer taking to the podium like a freshly woken badger, spitting lies about crowd sizes and audience numbers, it wouldn’t be a major American event without a stupid tweet from the President.

With the government shutdown, President Donald Trump must have had free time clearly to look outside his window and see the thousands chanting messages from “Dump Trump” to (one that he should enjoy) “Lock Him Up!”

He clearly took some notice as he tweeted:
Beautiful weather all over our great country, a perfect day for all Women to March. Get out there now to celebrate the historic milestones and unprecedented economic success and wealth creation that has taken place over the last 12 months. Lowest female unemployment in 18 years! – Jan 20, 2018

As always, missing the point. But he’s got three more years to figure it out, and, with protests scheduled weekly from any number of groups in front of the White House, there will be a lot of people trying to educate him.

So, will we overcome? Will Trump’s presidency push the American people to apathy or positive action? I think actions like this weekend’s Women’s March and the actions still to come this year make that clear enough.

Sunday Shows Barely Mentioned the 2018 Women’s March
Nina Mast / Media Matters

(January 22, 2018) — The day after the start of the second annual series of Women’s Marches all over the world, the major Sunday political talk shows were nearly silent on the historic protests, only briefly mentioning the topic across all five shows.

On January 20 and 21, one year after President Donald Trump’s inauguration, hundreds of thousands of protesters turned out in hundreds of marches and other events in the U.S. and worldwide to unite to support women’s rights. The protests emphasized encouraging women to engage in the political process and expressing shared disdain for the oppressive policies of the Trump administration.

According to Politico, there were an estimated 600,000 attendees at the Los Angeles march alone. One of the March’s main events, called #PowerToThePolls, took place in Las Vegas, NV, on January 21 and aimed to register one million voters.

The Women’s March described the effort as targeting “swing states to register new voters, engage impacted communities, harness our collective energy to advocate for policies and candidates that reflect our values, and collaborate with our partners to elect more women and progressives candidates to office.”

Despite the worldwide impact of the marches, the major Sunday political talk shows — which include CNN’s State of the Union, ABC’s This Week, CBS’ Face the Nation, NBC’s Meet the Press, and Fox Broadcasting Co.’s Fox News Sunday — were nearly silent on the topic. These shows often set the tone and priorities for media coverage for the rest of the week.

On ABC’s This Week, host George Stephanopoulos briefly acknowledged the “Women’s Marches in hundreds of cities all across the country” in his opening monologue, and later in the show, panelist Karen Finney mentioned “all the people who were marching in the streets yesterday.” No one responded directly to her comments about the marches.

On CBS’ Face The Nation, conservative outlet The Federalist‘s publisher Ben Domenech noted the “pro-life March For Life that happens every year, followed by the Women’s March on the other side” while discussing Trump’s first year in office.

The only significant discussion, defined as a back-and-forth exchange between two or more people, of the weekend’s marches was on NBC’s Meet the Press, where panelists remarked on the event in a meager 20-second exchange. Host Chuck Todd also mentioned the “hundreds of thousands of women march[ing] across the country protesting the president, many with an eye towards more women winning office this November” in his opening monologue.

In 2017, CNN and MSNBC extensively covered the first annual Women’s March, while Fox News’ minimal coverage was criticized. That march was one of the largest protests in US history.

Nina Mast is a Researcher at Media Matters for America. Previously, she worked in communications research at the American Friends Service Committee. Nina holds a BS in International Relations and Politics with a focus on the Middle East from Carnegie Mellon University.

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