This Saturday, women all across America will be marching in response to our recent election of Donald J. Trump as president. He will be inaugurated this Friday, two short days away, and I have to admit I’m not all that excited about it. As Inaugurations go, I’ve never been one to get super excited anyway. It was pretty phenomenal to see President Obama sworn in, not because I am a die-hard Obama enthusiast, but because I never thought I would see the day that a Black person would make it to the White House. To witness that was breathtaking; I can’t explain it adequately.
I find myself not being able to explain my feelings this year as well, but for vastly different reasons. I am not excited, or welling up with pride, or feeling we’ve overcome a major milestone with the election of Trump. I feel like we have regressed. I feel like someone punched me in my gut and have yet to catch my breath again. I feel as though the things he promised, the things so many of his supporters are looking to him to do, will not come to pass, or worse, will blow up in our faces and make things worse. I feel we elected him for all the wrong reasons, and that it is not going to be pretty. And it’s not because I hate him, or because I hate people who voted for him; I just believe that he is not what we need as a country. That we are at a turning point right now in our history, and that his presidency may just push us in the wrong direction, to the point of no return.
Aren’t I a bowl of sunshine today?? But this is where I am. And this is why my impulse to march, to speak out is so strong. Because I want us to stop the train before we reach the edge of the cliff.
Earlier this week I read that the organizers of the march had pulled one of their sponsors because that particular group is a pro-life group. In other words, this group is against abortion. The platform of the organizers is adamant that abortion, or what they term “reproductive rights” are a core part of being pro-woman and that any group that would differ on this point does not deserve to march with them on Saturday. I think that is wrong and very unfortunate.
Today I read an article in the Washington Post about the architects of the Women’s Suffrage Movement. Susan B. Anthony in particular was highlighted in this article. The writer explained that Anthony would not have marched on Saturday, and in fact would have probably been uninvited because she and her feminist comrades were staunchly anti-abortion. On nearly every other point held by the current iteration of the “Feminist” movement would have been agreed upon except this one, and for that reason, she would have been shut out of a movement she helped found. How sadly ironic. And how telling of the fact that we do not know the history of the very movements we say we support.
I’ve been called a feminist a few times, sometimes as a compliment, sometimes as an insult. If believing that all people, regardless of ethnicity, religious affiliation, body type, physical ability, gender, or sexual orientation (yeah, I said it) should be treated with dignity and provided the same access to opportunities to flourish within a society, then yes, I suppose I am a feminist. But if I must support a something I am theologically and personally opposed to in order to be a feminist, then that is not me. I believe the potential of an unborn child is just as profound and worthy of protection as my potential. But this would make me unwelcome in the organization that is seeking to mobilize and unite women for positive change. Why is that? Why has the movement been boiled down to this one thing, this one litmus test?
So I find myself in a bind here. With a few notable exceptions, I agree with most of the things that the Women’s March is speaking out against. But on this point, I strongly disagree. I am willing to join hands with my fellow sisters to fight for those things we hold as common causes, and dialogue on those things with which we differ. The question is: would they be willing to return that same open hand to me?
I will not be in DC this weekend; but a sister march will be taking place here in my town. I will probably be marching. I am willing to fight for the basic right of dignity that all people deserve – and I strongly believe I can support that position scripturally. But I will do so with a twinge of sadness in my heart, that even in “unity”, we will be torn asunder by this one issue, the one issue the movement’s founders likely would have wept to see come to pass.
More later…grace and peace…
“True tolerance demands civility with those with whom we disagree.” – Randy Boltinghouse