by Zachary Singer
The Women’s March will take place tomorrow morning—and if it’s anything like the first two years, millions of women and men all across our country and around the globe will turn out. My lady friend and I will be there, too.
In our politically divided country, we’re increasingly on one “side” or the other for every issue, and I’m sure that regardless of your political stripe, you’ve heard the arguments for and against the Women’s Marches—including discussion of some of the rougher language. Let me suggest the following, as a bit of common ground for all of us: Put aside the march and all the issues for a moment, and remember back with me to the start of your high school American History class. After the lessons about the Puritans and Plymouth Rock, came the stories of the first stirrings of the American experiment—that is, of Independence, self-rule, and democracy as a new country. And among the ideas, the classic American ideas this country was built on, and for which our predecessors fought against England—was this simple slogan: “No taxation, without representation.”
At the time, it meant that the not-yet Americans here, English colonists still, had no practical representation on the other side of the Atlantic. We were not being heard, in what was then yet our own government. And this simple notion, that we deserved—had a right to—fair representation in government was a driving principle for the founding of our country. It was so unacceptable to our population back then, that our thirteen little colonies went to war with a superpower, as England then was, to get our rights.
Fast-forward more than 200 years—though women in our country have the vote, gaining it only after concerted effort at the beginning of the last century, they still do not have equal representation. Just look at our 116th Congress—in spite of a record number of women elected, they remain in the minority by a wide margin. Never mind all the other issues; this one alone is reason to march, and it’s a very American reason, regardless of your politics.
Some say that such marches are merely “feel good” exercises, and that they don’t have any real-world, lasting impact—but that’s not the case. While it’s true that some politicians in Washington and in our state legislatures aren’t especially concerned with women’s issues, and that even enormous protests like these will not sway them immediately (certainly, one march won’t do it), the public’s repeated exercise of its 1st-Amendment rights does make an impression over time. Don’t take my word for it—just ask the suffragettes who marched a century ago, or the women who began to organize and run for office, and who got elected last November, in part after being inspired by marches like these.
As for the language, I’m sure the British didn’t think much of the Tea Partiers in Boston Harbor, either.
—See you there.
Here’s a link for the 2019 Denver Women’s March, with maps, times, and other information.