The latest count of protesters who joined the #WomensMarch yesterday stands at 4.5 million. Per Think Progress, far from this being a bunch of “coastal elites” protesting the Trump inauguration, there were “more than 500 protests in the U.S. and dozens more around the world,” and staggering numbers from “Real America”, that includes “crowds of 100,000 in Minneapolis/St. Paul, 12,000 in Omaha, Nebraska, 12,000 in Oklahoma City, 200,000 in Denver, Colorado, and 5,000 in Birmingham, Alabama.” However mainstream media may attempt to diminish the numbers or importance of protesters in Washington D.C. outnumbering inauguration attendance 3:1, the #WomensMarch restored for many a sense of faith, hope and solidarity by expressing dearly held values of equality, agency and diversity. Atendance numbers blew out all estimates and assumptions. The Providence Journal called the protests a “Global Rebuke.”
There are those questioning what the protests accomplished. The short term answer is I’m not sure. Yet as MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell pointed out on twitter yesterday:
Last massive Inaugural protest was 1973 against Nixon. The next year he resigned after impeachment hearings started.
— Lawrence O’Donnell (@Lawrence) January 21, 2017
So the longer term answer is, millions of determined women and supportive men from every demographic standing together in enormous number to stage peaceful protest around the country should give Republicans pause from their power mad urge to gut women’s reproductive rights, health care and the civil rights of our diverse citizenry.
Yet casting a pall over the protest was Allen Clifton, founder of Forward Progressives.
“No, I don’t care how many protesters showed up to oppose Trump’s inauguration. No, I don’t care how much larger the crowds were opposing him than those who went to witness this sad event. The only thing that mattered were the size of the crowds on Election Day and — just like in 2000, 2004, 2010, 2014 and practically every state and local election — Republicans had the larger crowds where it mattered.
Republicans vote consistently in nearly every election, while liberals protest the results of those elections. Imagine the power the left would have if more on that side cared as much about voting as they did protesting? Maybe, just maybe, if the left voted in the same numbers as it seems to be able to protest… there wouldn’t be any need to protest in the first place…”
Mr. Clifton’s statements assume the people who showed up to protest did not vote or that they did not vote for Hillary. While we can’t assume protesters were all Hillary voters, it would be unreasonable to think that protesters would buy a plane ticket to fly across the country or take a day to protest in their own city but not take an hour out of their lives to vote.
A bigger problem is that Democrats need to stop making the perfect (unattainable) the enemy of the good (practical, and very attainable this time out) and follow a Republican precept of “coming home” to vote for the nominee.
As to the purpose of these protests, if John McCain or Mitt Romney had won the election, it is doubtful we would have seen a protest at all. Whatever disagreements liberals have with them politically, both men are patriots. When they were the Republican nominees in 2008 and 2012, respectively, there was no question of foreign interference aiding and abetting their campaigns or votes. Neither man was in danger of violating the emoluments clause. Both had sense, experience and by and large, didn’t run campaigns based on demagoguery. So to say this protest is merely “complaining after the fact” negates our frustration that our government has seemingly abdicated or at the least, slow-walked, its responsibility of preventing such a travesty in the first place.
Since we just inaugurated Mr. “Grab ’em by the Pu@@y,” there is no minimizing the rage millions of women and fair minded men feel at an outdated Electoral College rubber stamping the “victory” of a man who won nearly 3 million less votes than his opponent, Hillary Clinton, and has not bothered to play by any rules of decency, standard disclosure nor rid himself of conflicts of interest.
Democracy and civil engagement is a year round affair and if we wish to protect our rights, we need to ensure our representatives know how much we give a damn if someone tries to take them away. That’s why protesting and calling and writing do mean something. Your silence means your assent. We were not silent yesterday. And the peaceful yet pointed protest will be the first of many, I’m sure.
Of all the reasons to protest, however, to me, these two tweets articulate the most important. Hillary Clinton was the most qualified candidate in a generation and to cast her aside in favor of Trump sends a horrible message in terms of what women can achieve. Any small step to reaffirming that faith counts.
What counts more is ensuring that positive messaging holds in the face of a craven corporate owned media pretending our most admired woman (for 21 years) was anything but.
From Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood:
— Cecile Richards (@CecileRichards) January 21, 2017
From Charlie Todd (one of my favorite tweets):
— Charlie Todd (@charlietodd) January 21, 2017
Stay safe but stay loud and true to your beliefs.