A few days ago, I told my boyfriend I was going to the women’s march on Saturday.
He asked: Why? What is the march about?
No malice attached to the question, only curiosity.
But still, it gave me pause.
What is the march about? And why do I feel so strongly that I must be there?
I’ve considered that question a lot in the days since he asked me.
The reasons that came to mind are many.
Rights for women. Rights for ethnic minorities. Rights for LGBTQ. Rights for Muslims.
Rights for all. Not just for some.
Not just those who were lucky enough to be born white, middle class, and male.
Trump says he wants to make America great again, but the underlying message there - the one that everyone knows, but so few seem to be saying out loud - is that he wants to make America a place where those who have the power now, remain there solidly and indefinitely.
My commitment to attend the march this Saturday really boils down to one thing.
I feel I no longer have a choice.
Trump's election into the highest office in the land has shown me in no uncertain terms, that when it comes to standing for my principles and speaking out against those who would threaten my rights and the rights of others - the time is now, and I must show up.
I claim to have principles.
In theory, I have an ethical code.
But theories and claims have no substance, and no bearing on the real world.
The reality is that if you are not willing to stand up for your principles, you might as well not have them. If you can’t stand up and speak out when it becomes necessary, then you should stop pretending, go home, and just admit defeat.
Before Trump was elected, I read an article called Grab Her (you should all read it).
In this article the author recounts a text she received from a friend, after the video surfaced of Trump bragging about grabbing a woman by her pussy. (Say hello to our new President folks!)
The text read: “There’s a war out there against us.”
Reading that gave me chills. Because it is unavoidably, heartbreakingly true.
The truth of that statement resonated deeply, and in the face of what has happened since - it's truth grows with each passing day.
There is a war against us. And though women are a part of it, it goes so much further and deeper than gender.
It is a war against all who dare to demand equality in the face of clear and obvious discrimination.
It is this war that makes me know I know longer have a choice.
I no longer have the choice to remain quiet and complacent.
I no longer have the choice to simply hope that it will get better.
It won't just get better.
In fact, I honestly believe it’s going to get worse.
If we want it to get better, we need to make it so.
The day I found out for sure that Trump had won the election, I was sailing between Panama and Colombia with a group of other young international travelers - none of whom were American.
One Irish girl asked me how I felt knowing that he had won.
The first word out of my mouth?
How I really felt?
Completely and utterly heartbroken.
Not because my candidate didn’t win. No.
Democrat, Republican, Liberal, Conservative...
Those words are nothing more than cloaks in which politicians drape themselves to win votes from certain groups of people. They are labels that help politicians gain office and stay in office, which far from creating actual positive change, is the main goal for most.
I would have preferred Hilary, but I have no illusions as to her character. She is no saint. Rather, she is an entrenched career politician, who I wouldn’t trust as far as I could throw.
But she, at the very least, understands the view one tier down from the top.
She is wealthy and white, but she is still a woman. So I must believe she has some empathy towards those who exist in a state of permanent, passive persecution.
I told that Irish girl I felt sad, not because my candidate didn’t win, but because Trump gaining power validates every disgusting, vile, hateful thing he has ever said.
How can we tell children it is unacceptable to treat women like property, discriminate against people of color, and demonize anyone who isn’t a citizen. How can we tell them it is unacceptable to spew unfounded, ignorant, hateful rhetoric about anyone who does not fit into a narrow and non-inclusive world view.
How can we tell them it is unacceptable to grab a woman by her pussy, when we elected a man who makes no secret of doing the same.
How can we tell them to act decently, thoughtfully, and with an open mind, when the President of the United States of America, one of the most powerful men in the world, has none of those traits.
His election gives validation to those who would support and spread racism, homophobia, transphobia, xenophobia, and misogyny.
Not only can he can continue to spout disgusting, vile, hateful things for the next four years - he can do so with the largest megaphone the world has to offer.
I must admit though.
A part of me is actually glad.
Glad because now, we as a nation, can no longer pretend that everything is alright.
We can no longer pretend that we live in a post-racial society, that women are treated equally to men, that we are inclusive and accepting of difference.
If any of that were true..
Trump would not have made it past the primary, much less to the Presidents office.
And because we can no longer pretend those things are true, we can also no longer pretend that we are doing enough.
Clicking ‘Like’ on Facebook. Not enough.
Sharing a video that represents your views. Not enough.
Waxing yarns to friends about high principles and ethical behavior. Not enough.
I am attending the Denver Women’s March on Saturday 21st, because the situation is as grim as I have ever seen it.
It is bad. And silence is not going to make it better.
I no longer have the choice to be silent.
I no longer have the choice to be still.
And I won’t tell you what to believe, or that you should be there too.
One of the things this election taught me is that everyone has their bottom line.
I respect your right to your bottom line.
However, I will say this.
I hope I see you there.
I hope you’re with me.
Because I’m fucking scared.
Scared of what will happen if we don’t stand up and speak out right now.
My goal in going to this march is to stand in solidarity with anyone willing to speak out and act in defense of their principles. You are not alone.
My goal is also to make it clear to anyone and everyone looking to diminish the rights and value of another human being that they will not do so easily. You will not succeed.
To conclude, I will leave you with one of my favorite quotations, one that drives me whenever I am feeling bleak or unsure or scared about what is to be gained from speaking out
I can think of nothing more rewarding, after all,
than to serve as the threat of a good example,
and I can think of no higher calling than to be
prepared to die for you principles if need be,
but even more so,
to be unafraid to live for them.