The March on Washington

Last Saturday, in Washington, D.C., well over 300,000 women, possibly as many as half a million, demonstrated in support of women’s rights and against the Trump administration’s positions on those rights, as did hundreds of thousands in scores of cities and towns across the nation – and even in a number of foreign cities. High profile women, primarily in politics and entertainment, spoke and exhorted women and men alike to press to retain and expand women’s rights.

Meanwhile, in thousands of suburbs and small towns across the country, life continued apace, with almost no mention or recognition of the march, except through national media outlets and media sources based primarily in large urban centers. Trump and his administration largely ignored the protestors, except to complain that they were snarling traffic and making it difficult for him and his staff to get to a scheduled meeting at CIA headquarters.

What all those demonstrators may not realize is that their millions still comprise only a few percent of the American people, and it takes more than that to effect political change, or even to keep Trump from rolling back past changes.

The bottom line? Demonstrations, whether by women, black, or other minorities, mean nothing to this president and this administration. By themselves they will change nothing. Trump respects no one and no thing except his own ego and propositions, and nothing will change his mind or his actions except some form of power, whether that power be electoral, legal, regulatory, economic, or military.

This is going to be the reality of the political system so long as Trump is president. Those who disagree will either be ignored or attacked. Civility will avail an opponent of Trump nothing but contempt, and Trump will attempt to meet power with power and crush it. Oh, there will be times of civility and charm, but only when it suits Trump.

I honestly don’t think most current politicians, whether they’re Republicans or Democrats, have come in contact with anyone like Trump, and they in for more of a shock than they realize.

As for the Democrats, for the past decade and a half, if not longer, they’ve relied far too heavily on media to make their case and push their policies. They’ve neglected building grass-roots and local and state-level political structures in far too many parts of the country, and they’ve thought that demonstrations would push the way for change – and, for the most part, that hasn’t happened… and it won’t. Right now, such demonstrations will either be ignored or create a backlash of greater polarization. And, if the Democrats don’t get back to basics and hard political, legal, social, and economic grunt-work, they’re going to continue to get steam-rollered.

7 thoughts on “The March on Washington”

  1. Alan Naylor says:

    I agree with your view of the Trump presidency and how it’s likely to act, how HE is likely to act. He won’t play by the expected rules of politicians in DC, which will surely hurt their ability to deal with him in an effective manner.

    I had a discussion with several co-workers over lunch the last few days about the march and why people are marching. Even after researching just what was being marched for, I’ve yet to see any signs that Trump can, or will, do what the many pundits claim he will regarding women’s rights.

    The worst thing my research turned up that he has said he will do is defund Planned Parenthood because of his beliefs concerning abortion. At the same time many people are talking about how he will take away women’s rights in any number of ways. Just because the man is a bigot and the president duly elected by the country does not mean he will suddenly be able to reverse decades of social progress.

    It seemed to us, in general, that the marches around the world are demonstrations of ear and concern, and an effort to express political leverage that is doomed to failure. Too little effort, too late without an understanding of what the president can and cannot effectively do.

    1. One of the problems with the demonstrations is that they’re not “leverage” at all on this president, something I suspect most of those demonstrators have yet to fully comprehend.

  2. Alison Hamway says:

    I marched in a small community and it was great. Do I expect the marches to change Trump? NO. What I hope for from the marches is to see new developing leadership and building a grass roots outreach program. I was excited to see lots of young people engaged and active. It is time for a major change in our political system (at least for those of us who consider ourselves progressive, care about the environment, support social justice). Either the Democratic party will change, or a new party will arise. We can’t keep on with the old negative party politics — it’s not working.

    And yes to me it matters that the marches made the millions of marchers feel that they COULD take action and work for change.

    1. JakeB says:

      Although you may be wrong about that, Alison, given Trump’s thin skin and the reports of his reactions to the march (or anything else that seems to show insufficient respect).

      In any case, I’m very glad to hear what you say about the participation of younger people. After the latest betrayal of the progressives by the Democratic establishment this election season, followed by its disastrous denouement, I was afraid that the younger generation would be sufficiently alienated to give up on politics. Not that I would blame them.

  3. Bob Walters says:

    There are quite a few grassroots progressive groups forming across the country. The marches will help with motivation and public awareness as there are still quite a few people who watch the national news. I recall the civil rights movement and the anti Vietnam war protests I think if we can keep motivated we can make a difference.

  4. Tim says:

    From this side of the Atlantic, the press is changing its tune slightly and today’s briefings in the Times Red Box can be summed up as “he is doing what he said he would do” through the signing of the executive orders

    Most of the left wing press want him to fail. The right wing press are generally silent rather than supportive.

    I think the protests will just die unnoticed if the Republicans in Congress make these happen. Esp bringing offshore jobs back to the US. I wish we could do the same here in the UK.

  5. Devildog says:

    Trump is absolutely juvenile, petty and a flat out bore. But he cannot roll back women’s rights. I think that this demonstration should have been made when there are some concrete initiatives that he is making that effect women’s rights. Maybe he defunds planned parenthood. There is an argument to be made that government should not have a role in those type of decisions. From what I can see and hear, he is doing everything he said he was going to do much to the chagrin of some in the Republican party. I will say it for the last time: IT IS ALL ABOUT THE ECONOMY. If he puts people back to work in meaningful, dignified decent paying jobs, the Dems do not stand a chance. Bill Clinton was a reprehensible human being too, but he presided over one of the strongest economies in our history (turns out it was a bubble) but he was re-elected. Keep people working and manage the budget and you can stay in power for a very long time.

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