Dangerous Thoughts: Reflecting Women’s March 2017

I’m calling this thought on the one-year anniversary weekend of the his(her?)storic Women’s March, a Dangerous Thought because an Iron Law of Thing (hat tip to Harry Shearer) is that men must tread lightly and try to avoid mansplaining when opining on things like the Women’s March. I may get it wrong at points along the way and wind up mansplaining, but I have thoughts, I have a blog, and it’s safe for work…so let’s do this.

Since the election of pussy-grabber Donald Trump, one could make the point that things haven’t gotten much better and unfortunately, the progressive movement has been going after its own complicated and imperfect allies in the form of wealthy male liberal-types who compartmentalize their own unacceptable (and in some cases criminal) behavior away from their support for the greater good.

Don’t get me wrong. They’re creeps, but taking them down isn’t going to fix anything.

I had to go to the Women’s March by myself because every lady I suggested it to had other plans and every dude I suggested it to had other plans, but hey, to each their own you know? I wound up seeing a lot of them at the Women’s March anyway (or snapping selfies and checking in there) so it’s good they wound up going.

The march, for the most part, was people out having fun, snapping selfies, checking in on facebook and instagram, etc. In fact to be honest, I felt like it was less of a protest and more of a celebration, and that may be part of the reason that things haven’t gotten much better.

This is a group that’s marching on its home turf…and that’s not a protest. It’s not Selma, it’s not Kent State. No minds are being changed. Trump isn’t paying attention because it’s not happening in his constituents’ areas…except when it did in Charlottesville and people got hurt. So then everyone went back and decided to protest in safe spaces after that.

People living in Rock Hill, California aren’t calling the cops on street racers in Torrance, California, and you see the same thing here. It’s part of the fundamental reason political polarization is taking place: nobody’s getting out of their comfort zone to spread their word to the opposition.

I only saw one demonstrator there who, in my humble opinion, captured the true spirit of protest and what was going on:

That’s a powerful message right there. She was the only one there who I thought was speaking truth to power. I regret not going up and talking to her, but I didn’t want to disturb her.

But other than that, it was pretty much all smiles and fun and DJ’s and upbeat funny positive signs:

  • Smiling

For a while after the protest I followed the Women’s March site and I thought their 10 Actions for 100 Days was an excellent attempt at creating structure for the movement, but I watched it quickly crumble when people weren’t following the rules or really adhering to the steps in the Actions. People just don’t seem capable of sticking with parameters and this is where things go so wrong.

At a Yahoo Conference once, the surprise guest speaker was Steve Jobs and somebody asked him some variation on how Apple makes such great stuff (actual question unknown) and Steve responded that, at Apple, they have “The List,” and on “The List,” are ten items, and those ten items are the only things Apple focuses on. If it isn’t on the list, Apple ignores it. Sometimes the list changes, but it’s a hard fight to do that.

By the time Women’s March had reached the third action, following directions had gone out the window. Listening to NPR journalists (the only news I follow anymore) who covered the 2018 Women’s March, they all had trouble extracting from marchers what the point of the march was and what they hoped to accomplish. This is one of the problems with the movement, but it’s really not my place to provide the solution.

And so now we find ourselves in the midst of a reboot: 1 year later, another nationwide march, promoted by tastemakers, with people showing up to have a good time, check in on social media, and snap selfies with friends, and maybe, just maybe, finding some structure in all of this and focusing on being on the right side of the future, not just the present or history that will be forgotten if the victors are on the other side.

High resolution photos can be found in my Gallery.

Also, please support Women’s March. Much like with any movement, the organizers are doing the right thing. It’s the followers who need to do better.