by Carolyn Walsh
I am angry. I am angry for women, for racial and religious minorities, for immigrants, for Americans with disabilities, for the LGBT community, and for Americans living in poverty. I am angry for the urgent truth of climate change and the common sense in gun control. I am angry for decency, respect, and the core tenets of liberal democracy. Since the election of now-President Donald Trump, I have been outraged for the country that I love.
In the weeks leading up to Inauguration Day, I felt mostly alone in my anger and sadness. Watching and reading the news filled me with feelings of dread and even hopelessness. On the day after the inauguration, though, something big changed. I finally found solace and inspiration in my anger by taking part in Rhode Island’s Women’s March on Washington rally.
On the sunny afternoon of Jan. 21, thousands of people flooded the south lawn of the Rhode Island State House in protest of the new administration. In cities in all 50 U.S. states—from D.C. to Chicago, New York, L.A., and Boston—massive crowds of protesters showed up to resist bigotry and dishonesty as the new normal. Standing in the crowd at the State House, it was truly remarkable to witness people’s loud and unified passion.
Speeches given by the rally’s organizers, local artists, and women’s and human rights activists, underlined a collective anger towards Trump’s attacks on American democracy and the rights and humanity of so many groups of people in this country: African Americans, Latinos, Muslims, immigrants, women, etc.There was nothing passive about the anger expressed by the speakers and displayed on the many signs carried by protesters; it was a promise and a call to action.
A collective promise that we will not sit idly by when the Trump administration and the Republican congress attempt to strip women of vital access to reproductive health care, to gut government programs of assistance to poor and minority Americans, and to implement draconian immigration policies. Scores of Americans will, and must, resist dutifully and unwaveringly together.
Leaving the rally, I felt energized and secure in my anger and how to channel it. The thousands of women (and men) from every walk of life who showed up to the State House and the nearly 3.1 million that marched in cities across the country sent a loud and clear message: We will not be degraded, we are a force to be reckoned with, and we will continue to fight for our rights. Our country’s new president has displayed an astounding lack of respect for the institutions he now represents and the citizens he is meant to serve and protect.
He has, on multiple occasions, disparaged the country’s intelligence services, routinely attacked the press, and has demonstrated the audacity to believe the American people so stupid and foolish that he and his team can flat out lie and manipulate the truth. He has failed to properly address the conflict of interests surrounding his business dealings and to honor the standard of transparency by releasing his tax returns.
The allegations of Trump and his team colluding with the Russian government before the election, albeit officially unverified but not completely unsubstantiated, cannot be overlooked by the American public. We must demand transparency and straight answers because even the potential of our free elections being compromised and our President brought into office by a foreign power is an outrage and betrayal beyond comprehension.
Attending the Rhode Island Women’s March and seeing pictures and videos from the countless other marches provided me with two things I desperately needed: a reminder that I am not alone in my frustration, and a path forward with hope.
Our new president, who has bragged openly about sexually assaulting women and once called his female opponent a “nasty woman” in the middle of a debate, clearly does not know the power and strength of the American women, who have led what the media is calling the largest protest demonstration in the history of this country. Nor does he know the power and strength of the scores of Americans of all genders, races, and backgrounds who marched last Saturday and will continue to march.
Going forward, I will seek out and support, with time and money, organizations that work to uphold American principles, and to protect the rights of women and other systemically disadvantaged groups. I will sign petitions, connect with others, and I will show up and lend my voice where I can.
I will stay angry and I will stand united with the America I know and love. Keep resisting, and march on.