In Lexington, 5,000 people marched in the Women’s March. I was one of them, as were people of all ages, races and genders. We were part of an unprecedented global event. Nearly 2 million people in the United States marched that day and so did half a million around the world.
When, in the history of our country, has there ever been a worldwide show of solidarity with us such as this?
Why has that not become the story of the march?
Instead we’ve heard pundits decry the “lack of unity” among the marchers. We heard from local people who stayed home and watched TV who were offended by the language of the speakers in Washington D.C. (Did they also write letters of complaint when our current president introduced the p-word into the broadcast domain last fall?)
In the days before the march the press hyped disagreements between women of color and women who apparently have no color.
Let me tell you how it was down on Main Street. Men marched. Lots of men marched. Men carrying their daughters, men holding hands with wives, men pushing baby strollers, men wearing University of Kentucky hats and t-shirts, men with gray in their beards, men in Vietnam Vet caps, men in dreads, men in drag.
Women marched, of course. Women carrying sons, women holding hands with each other, women hoisting signs, women in Kentucky t-shirts and Kentucky State University sweats, women in wheelchairs, girls in diapers, girls carrying signs, girls wearing dreads, women in running shoes, women in hijabs, women too beautiful to describe — all united.
The signs carried many messages: “Liberty and Equality for All,” “Girls Just Wanna have Fun-damental Human Rights,” “Make America Smart Again,” “Hate Never Made Us Great,” “Serve the People, Not your Portfolio,” “Our Children are Listening,” “Men of Quality Do Not Fear Equality,” and “Rise Up, Yall.”
The words equality, kindness, compassion, love, liberty, solidarity, respect and human rights showed up on many signs as did more graphic words alluding to women’s bodies, which demonstrated a cross-generational inclusiveness among the marchers.
The main fact is that we were united. Our concerns came together under the umbrella of woman. There was great, positive energy.
For those who doubt me, go to my Facebook page where I posted 40 pictures from the march. In February I will post a photo a day from the rally and march until my cache of nearly 200 is shown.
My experience here in Lexington makes me wonder at New York Times pundit David Brooks’ assessment of a lack of focus among marchers. Here we demonstrated inclusiveness.
Pundit Robert Reich asks what form of populism will prevail, but fails to note that the women’s march is a form of populism.
Populists toss out the status quo. For many women and the men who love these uppity women, status quo is an all-white male authoritarian cabinet, an overly-empowered police force, a system of laws that favors men over women — in fact, men who give other men a bad name when they act badly or greedily.
I ask: Is this not a movement? Is this not a groundswell? Is this not something that people around the world joined? Is ignoring this story not the reaction the mainstream media had last year during the election, when they discounted the numbers of people at Donald Trump rallies?
We are here in Lexington and we count and we vote and we just marched 2 million strong worldwide.
Lynn Pruett is a novelist who lives in Lexington.