I skipped the peace rally in Louisville and went to the protest in Lexington, because I didn’t want to hold your hand and light a candle. I wanted to scream “F*&k you and your patriarchy!” with the like-minded and change the power dynamic. Because as we all know, the world can’t resist an angry woman.
While I’m not sure what the revolutionaries chanted when they poured tea into the Boston Harbor during the Boston tea party in 1773, I like to think it was: “Tell me what Democracy looks like? This is what democracy looks like.” Particularly since history has it some women could vote under state constitutions before the Constitution turned them into chattel. (See the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History.) The new republic implemented coverture laws that allowed single women to own their own property and transact business, but relegated married women to non-autonomous beings. The spinsters, while independent financially, were socially dependent, as they were shamed, shunned and stigmatized for their failure to find a husband and forced to live with their relatives, if they would have them.
What a trade off.
It wasn’t until the 19th Amendment in 1920 that the law deemed married and single women worthy of casting a ballot and that, history reminds us, came with years of humiliation, degradation and strife. So it was with great comfort the first sign I saw at the Lexington Women’s March contained these three lines:
“I am Enough
I’ve had Enough
Enough is Enough”
The thought of Trump as president on the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment makes my stomach hurt. But not as much as Pence as vice president on the 44th anniversary of Roe v. Wade.
If there is a river running through the Trump/Pence administration, its name is misogyny, and its game is to reduce women to non entities.
In “Sheer Despair” in the New York Times on Jan. 22, Mohammed Hanif, a novelist, wrote what scared him the most was the similarity between martial rule in his country and what is happening in the United States. “In Pakistan we had a military ruler [who] proclaimed ‘Pakistan First.’ When you say America first or Pakistan first — or whatever country it is that allows a pampered old man to say those things — it always means ‘me first.’ I’ll decide what’s best for this country… America played a part in making the third world what it is today. Now Americans can stay home and live the experience.”
Or not. The Resistance Is Now.
- Find the organization that aligns most with your values and join it today.
- Donate. Donate. Donate.
- Call your local, state and federal lawmakers regularly to oppose legislation you think is dangerous and tell them why.
- Run for Office.
- Vet other organizations and PACS before you start your own. This is the worst time to splinter!
- Host a regular dinner party, or a book club or a mom’s day out, and create action steps to aid the organization you joined in No. 1, and keep each other accountable.
- Don’t change your Facebook profile, start an online group or make a symbolic gesture. According to the chart in GOOD magazine winter 2017 issue, they are the least effective means of protest and change-making.
- Donate to a local and state fund created for bail money when activists are arrested.
- Download the ACLU “Know Your Rights” pamphlet if you rally or protest and know the difference between detention and arrest and how to invoke the right to remain silent and to call a lawyer even if you are so scared you pee in your pants.
- Show up to the upcoming rally days in Frankfort (Refugee Rally Day is Feb. 16) and make some waves!
- Call out fake news when you see it.
- Focus. Emotional reactions are hard to avoid, yet one of the most effective distractions. Keep your eyes on the prize.
In the words of ACLU Executive Director Anthony D. Romero in his editor’s letter in the winter 2017 issue of “Stand” its quarterly magazine:
“As the Trump Presidency begins, it’s an all-hands-on-deck moment at the ACLU.” Paddle, People Paddle!