Op-Ed

March welcomed all; issues on target

Margaret Townsley
Margaret Townsley

Despite Penelope J. Evans’ expectation that she “may not have felt welcome” at the Women’s March on Washington, if she truly believes that “human rights should be respected, protected, and equal,” she would have been welcomed with open arms.

I know. I was there.

The march was an exciting, uplifting opportunity to join with Americans of different ages, races, genders, sexual orientations, religions (or none), immigration status, and political agendas who came from all over the country to remind Congress and the new administration that there is no mandate to take America backward.

The Electoral College may have determined the president, but a majority of people who went to the polls chose otherwise, and marchers chanted “We are the popular vote!”

In the commentary, “March’s exclusion, speakers, tone alienated,” Evans objected to crude language of some speakers. The “P-word” and the “F-bomb” were brought into recent political discourse by the candidate who won.

In a field of smart, well-reasoned, seasoned Republican hopefuls, the outsider with vulgar language and offensive actions survived. We were all exposed to that behavior.

We may long for the days of reasonable debate, but outrageous behavior gets attention. If the shocking words of Madonna and Ashley Judd offended, please go back and listen to the messages they wanted you to hear. People marched and spoke out because they are afraid for the future of this country and they know we can do better.

I’m old enough to remember when there were colored and white bathrooms, when the Cuyahoga River was so polluted it caught fire, and when most women entering the workplace were relegated to the secretarial pool.

Those good old days may have been good for straight, white, Christian men, but maybe not for the rest of us. I marched for my children and my grandchildren. I do not want this country to go back to those days.

A woman about my age held a poster which read, “Why am I marching? Too many reasons to put on a sign.” I smiled and nodded in agreement.

An ocean of pink hats in every texture, size, shade and hue symbolized the many reasons people came out to march on that cold January day.

As our Metro train neared its final stop at the Fairfax station, tired marchers who had spent the day speaking up for the rights they cherish erupted in one more round of chanting, “This is what democracy looks like!” And it was.

Margaret Townsley lives in Frankfort.

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