Why Women Marched Against Donald Trump, By Adeolu Ademoyo
…the Global Women’s March is a protest against Donald Trump’s poor ethics and political campaign of bigotry, sexism, hate, racism, xenophobia, homophobia, and the mocking of the physically challenged. The Global Women’s March is a rejection and a protest against a cynical worldview and way of looking at fellow human beings – women – as mere tools for economic and sexual gratification.
“Our communities are hurting and scared. We are confronted with the question of how to move forward in the face of national and international concern and fear.” – from the Mission Statement of “Women’s March”.
“We march today for the moral core of this nation, against which our new president is waging a war… our dignity, our character, our rights have all been under attack, and a platform of hate and division assumed power yesterday. But the president is not America… We are America, and we are here to stay.” – America Ferrera January 21, 2017.
“No one exists alone… Hunger allows no choice to the citizen or the police… We must love one another or die.” – W.H. Auden, September 1, 1939.
Something is happening here, but you do not know what it is. – Bob Dylan.
The idea of a Women’s March against Donald Trump started as a private response to something that was seen as untoward on November 8, 2016 – Trump had emerged the winner, through the electoral college, of the 2016 presidential elections in the United States of America. Mrs. Teresa Shook, a retired attorney and a grandmother who lives in Hawaii, like many progressives in the United States and around the world, was shocked at the outcome of the election. She said: “I went to bed the night of the election just discouraged and woke up feeling worse the next day thinking, ‘How could this be?’ I was just sad and dumbfounded.”
But she refused to fold her hands, and decided to do something about it. The next night, with some help from friends, Shook created a Facebook event page. She called for a march on Washington after Trump’s inauguration. Before she slept, she had about 40 responses. When she woke up the next day, she had more than 10,000.
In New York city, Bob Bland had the same idea. A New York city-based fashion designer who had grown a following after designing “Nasty Woman” and “Bad Hombre” T-shirts as a response against Donald Trump’s sexism and misogyny. Bland proposed a “Million Pussy March.” In a Facebook page on November 10, he wrote: “I think we should build a coalition of all marginalised allies… We will need folks from every state, and cities to organise their communities locally, who wants to join me?” Bland, working with others, consolidated various Facebook protest pages, including Shook’s. This was how the 2016 Global Women’s March against Donald Trump began.
Trump’s unsavory history and views on women as instruments of sexual gratification partly laid the basis for the global revulsion and protest against him. In the famous access Hollywood tapes, Donald Trump admitted in his own words to being a groper of women. Contemptuously, he concluded that women like him to grope them because he is a “star”, and that as a “star” he could do anything with women. On record, Trump said that this was a “locker room talk”, while his wife, Melania said this was a boys’ talk, and one of Trump’s sons, Donald Trump Jr., said such talk about groping and harassing women makes his father “human” and “normal”.
Many people around the world, including Americans, have responded that their boys do not talk this way, and that such talk does not make them human or normal, contrary to Trump’s son. That a self confessed groper of women is elected as the president of the United States is sufficient to cause local and global outrage.
Let us put the case of mothers aside, for it could be argued by some that mothers have instant basis to be morally and politically repulsed by Trump’s misogyny and sexism, and let us talk about fathers. After watching what Donald Trump said about himself and about women, and about our daughters in the access Hollywood tapes, I wondered which father, which man, would have voted for Donald Trump. Yet, even fellow Christians voted for him!
The pertinence of the Women’s March shows in Trump’s actions in his first day in office which negatively targeted women’s health, and women’s public and private safety by moving to eradicate the offence of violence against women, and the universal and mandatory access of working people to health insurance by seeking to repeal Obamacare…
Therefore, the Global Women’s March is a protest against Donald Trump’s poor ethics and political campaign of bigotry, sexism, hate, racism, xenophobia, homophobia, and the mocking of the physically challenged. The Global Women’s March is a rejection and a protest against a cynical worldview and way of looking at fellow human beings – women – as mere tools for economic and sexual gratification.
Though these numbers have not been confirmed officially, the main Women’s March on Washington DC reportedly attracted about 500,000 people, according to DC officials. Organisers of the Women’s March said about 250,000 gathered in Chicago; the Mayor of New York city, Bill de Blasio said 400,000 people marched in New York city; Atlanta’s Mayor’s office reported that 60,000 people marched in Atlanta; the police said more than 100,000 marched in Los Angeles, and in my small cities of Binghamton and Ithaca, New York, as an eye witness, I can conveniently report that about 2,500 joyous people marched in Binghamton while another 8,000 marched in Ithaca.
Organisers of the Women’s march said about 650 sister marches took place around the world in solidarity with the American people. Unconfirmed reports say that not less than three million people took to the streets in sister marches in major American cities and in other countries, such as in London, Manila, Monrovia, Accra, Paris, Berlin, Prague, Sydney and Melbourne, Rome, New Delhi, Auckland, Athens, and Amsterdam, to protest against Donald Trump and in defense of women’s right, civil rights, economic justice and an inclusive world. This is a political and moral statement that the rise of women equals the rise of a nation, and that women rights are human rights. And to the credit of the Global Women’s March both within and outside the United States of America, there were no incidences of violence. They were all civil, with peaceful political and moral statements made against Trump’s bigoted, sexist, racist and xenophobic worldview, history and campaign.
The 2017 Women’s March has historical precedents. For example, the 1963 March on Washington for jobs and freedom attracted about 250,000 people, and it was during which Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered the classic “I have a Dream” speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. In 1969, the March on Washington to end the war in Vietnam had between 500,000 and 600,000 people involved. In 1969, about 8000 people protested President Nixon’s inauguration, and in 1973 another 100,000 protested against Nixon’s second inauguration. In 2001, about 20,000 people protested President Bush’s inauguration, after he lost the citizens’ votes to Al Gore, while winning the electoral college votes. In February 2003, between ten and fifteen million people marched around the world to protest the Iraqi war. Before the 2017 protest against Donald Trump’s inauguration, we have only had 58 inaugurations, and four inauguration protests.
The pertinence of the Women’s March shows in Trump’s actions in his first day in office which negatively targeted women’s health, and women’s public and private safety by moving to eradicate the offence of violence against women, and the universal and mandatory access of working people to health insurance by seeking to repeal Obamacare – the health act under President Barack Obama that guarantees access to health insurance for millions of American who were previously uninsured. And also the voting rights of minority population by moving to review a former department of justice argument that a Texas voter ID law is intentionally racist and discriminatory! The ideological, moral and political targets of Trump’s executive orders in his first day in office show the historic foresight of the Women’s March against him. This is because Trump has immediately moved to concretise his hostility to women issues, civil rights issues, and the voting rights of the minority population.
Given the success of the Women’s March, the important question this impels us to ask is: What exactly in the nature of the human and society explains the long held but untenable and false belief that men are intellectually, morally and emotionally superior to women? This is a false belief that led society to virtually gut itself by displacing more than half of society’s intellectual and moral capacities and abilities. This happened as a result of misogyny and patriarchy that led us to fail to acknowledge the simple scientific truth that all human beings – women and men – are created and endowed equally, and that differences are secondary and are socially explicable. This false belief that men are more capable produced the misogyny and sexism that partly defined the 2016 elections in the United States of America. It is a misogyny, sexism that made some voters rank incompetence and bully over competence in their vote for Donald Trump.
…Trump’s history of misogyny, bigotry, racism, sexism and xenophobia has produced a global moral shock and outrage. This explains the inclusive nature of the Global Women’s March against Trump, a women’s march to help reclaim the soul of America; a global march that was heroically organised and led by women.
Despite the success of the Women’s March, the Trump administration’s response is in denial of this accomplishment. Reporters have used aerial pictures, transportation data and police reports to show that while President Obama’s 2008 inauguration attracted 1.8 million Americans, Trump’s inauguration attracted only about 250,000 Americans. Aerial pictures, police reports and transportation data also show that an estimated 500,000 Americans – women and men – marched on Washington against Donald Trump. This is far bigger than those who attended Trump’s inauguration. New York Times reported that crowd scientists said that Women’s March On Washington had three times more people than Trump’s inauguration.
Rather than admit these basic facts, which show the unpopularity of Trump coming into office, the Trump administration has fought back producing falsehood as “alternative facts”. They claimed that the crowd at Trump’s inauguration was not only bigger than those who marched against Trump, but that January 20 inauguration audience was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration! Trump himself made the false claim that a million and a half people attended his inauguration, when transportation and city records estimated this at about 250,000 people!
But more importantly, what the global moral and political rejection of Trump at the level of the popular masses shows is that following the Obama presidency and given President Obama’s popularity among the individual masses of people in the United States of America and around the world, whoever is the president of the United States is somehow seen – as President Barack Obama was seen – as a global role model. Hence, with his peculiar trajectory, a rejection of Trump is considered a rejection of a global role modeling of vices, rather than virtues.
When President Obama was elected in 2008, given the human and humane values that he represented, espoused and brought to office, he instantly became a global role model politically and morally in many countries around the world, especially among the millennial. Donald Trump is the moral opposite. And in Trump’s case, that anyone is the president of a country is not sufficient to shield him from moral scrutiny locally and globally.
Therefore, Trump’s history of misogyny, bigotry, racism, sexism and xenophobia has produced a global moral shock and outrage. This explains the inclusive nature of the Global Women’s March against Trump, a women’s march to help reclaim the soul of America; a global march that was heroically organised and led by women.
Adeolu Ademoyo, firstname.lastname@example.org, is with the Africana Studies and Research Center, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY.
Image credit: Jose Luis Magana, Associated Press.