It’s been a couple of days now, and I’ve given the Women’s March a lot of thought. I called this photo album “Julia’s March,” because I want to be clear that the photos in it represent what I saw that day, what I felt that day, and what I hoped that day would bring about. So here are my thoughts:
1. In this era of fake news, it’s critical for us to stop relying on biased media. Fox, CNN, MSNBC, Breitbart, ABC, NBC–they ALL have slants, they all have agendas. It’s time for us to see with our own eyes, hear with our own ears, and make better informed judgments. With that in mind, I didn’t caption most of these photos, because I want you to look at what I saw and make your own judgments. Please, however, pay close attention to the faces of the people in them. Notice the genders, notice the ages, notice the colors, notice the expressions, notice what the signs say, whether you like them or not.
2. I don’t consider myself a feminist. I consider myself a wife, a mother, a woman, a human being. The only one of those I marched to fight for was the last one, and I think a lot of people there felt the same way. #womensrightsarehumanright
3. People have asked me many times, before the March and since, “What do I think this big protest is going to accomplish?” It’s a valid question. Protests mean nothing, without meaningful action afterwards. What I hope, and what think I already see happening, is that the March is beginning to engage people, many of whom never engaged before, myself included, in civic action and respectful discourse on very complicated and divisive issues on a greater level than we’ve seen in my ENTIRE lifetime. Whether you marched or not, whatever your reasons for marching or not marching, I think we can ALL agree that there are too many people in this country who are hurting, who need help, who need protection–civil rights protection, economic protection, health care protection, racial justice protection, environmental protection–our country is IN TROUBLE, and it was before Trump, before Obama, before Clinton, before Bush–these problems have deep, thorny roots. If Trump has done anything, it’s to turn over the foul, grimy complacent layer of dirt on them and expose to all of us just how ugly and deep they run.
It’s insidiously easy to sit back and let the government do whatever the government wants to do, easy to feel like you, one person, you’re not enough to effect change. If all we do is march, if all we do is talk and post, then you are absolutely right: The March was for nothing, and we are not enough, will never BE enough. But if, instead, the March, whether you participated in it or not, causes us to LISTEN to each other; to actively seek out opposing viewpoints and try to engage with the people who hold them in a respectful, positive spirit of mutual cooperation and compromise; causes us to actively seek out unbiased, unfiltered primary sources of information, like CSPAN, or, even better, to attend hearings and protests and meetings IN PERSON, rather than to continue relying on someone else to regurgitate FOR you the information you use to make your judgments; causes us to CALL OUR GOVERNMENT REPRESENTATIVES AND HOLD THEM ACCOUNTABLE TO THEIR PROMISES TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE; causes us to become involved at a local level in helping others–food drives, volunteering at schools and shelters and for trash pickups, causes us to stop talking and start DOING; causes us to stop reacting from the gut to sensational and polarizing news bites and stop perpetuating the cycle of disinformation and distrust–IF, and it’s a big IF, I know, because it’s a lot to ask of each other, IF this is what the March accomplishes, then that is EVERYTHING I hoped it would do. We can do this, America. I believe in us. I believe in you.