Many of your neighbors from Lovettsville, and not just women, felt it was necessary to March on Washington the next day after the Inauguration this past Friday.
They were doing what many other communities were doing across the Commonwealth.
One local woman said, “You know how a woman speaks at a meeting and is ignored. Then a man repeats the very same thought he just heard her say – and then it’s treated by the men as if it was the man’s idea all along.”
“Worse than that,” she said, “is when a woman enjoys the right of privacy to control her own body – and that’s not respected.”
This latter observation relates to what was plainly a defining moment in the recent presidential election for very many women, when it was widely disclosed, what Mr. Trump thought about women.
Mr. Trump said, “You can do anything … Grab them by the pussy, you can do anything.”
“And when you’re a star, they let you do it,” Mr. Trump said.
“You know I’m automatically attracted to beautiful [women],” Trump said, “I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet, just kiss. I don’t even wait.”
In other words, a woman said, “a woman’s consent is irrelevant to this guy.”
Trump confided to a like-minded male that he tried to have sex with one woman the two were about to join, knowing she was married. He said, “I moved on her like a bitch.”
Mr. Trump favors tic tacs “just in case I start kissing…”
In the recent campaign, it is undisputed that Mr. Trump, by word and conduct, was transparently intolerant of persons by their gender, race, color, religion and place of origin.
Mr. Trump, however, reserved his special abuse for women, no matter whether the woman was a Fox anchor or an Oscar-winning actor.
Contradicting Mr. Trump invited slander, lies and relentless trash talk.
Women the world over saw in Mr. Trump’s November election the danger of sexual discrimination going forward in his Administration, impermissible incursions into the sanctity of the person, of the constitutional right to be let alone, of access to medical records, of equal pay for equal work, of their dignity – meaning shame for being a woman.
Women decided to protest — as Ms. Inez Mullholland had when fighting for the woman’s right to vote.
In March 1913, Ms. Mullholland, astride a white horse, led a march in Washington, with 5,000 women, all demanding the right to vote. Scorned as they walked, and assaulted, 100 women were hospitalized. The demand to vote was resisted for years. Women were arrested for demonstrating and tortured with force feeding when they went on hunger strikes. Finally, in 1920, they won the right to vote.
In January 2017, the day after Mr. Trump’s Inauguration, the women of America and across the world, decided they’d march on Washington with a few more than 5,000 women.
At his Inauguration, Mr. Trump ran down the nation, in a dark vision of America, describing it as a scene of “carnage.” The dictionary describes “carnage” as “the killing of a large number of people.” What was Mr. Trump thinking?
President John F. Kennedy pledged we would never let this nation “witness or permit the slow undoing of these human rights to which this nation has always been committed.”
Kennedy promised this nation would “assure the survival and success of liberty.”
Mr. Trump made no such assurance.
Women from across the nation and the world decided to march and protest.
On the Bus
Chuck and Betty Hedges from Lovettsville, Virginia arranged for buses locally – and that was no small task – with 110 marchers on two buses.
Lovettsville’s Mary Terpak said, “I’m look forward to this march,” as the passengers assembled at 7:00 am in Purcellville to begin the adventure.
Mr. Trump’s proud boast about groping a woman’s private parts inspired the creation of the “pussy hat” – a knit pink hat with cat ears, created by women across the country and in other countries.
Lovettsville’s Laura Redmon explained the “Pussycat project.” Laura said, “It was a grass roots effort started by women to take control of this whole grab ‘em by the pussy thing.”
“It’s a super showing of solidarity,” Laura said, “and of women helping women.”
Another woman showing off her pussy hat said, “We’ve turned the crass into class.”
Slipping into her seat, Lovettsville’s Sarah Stinger was delighted to be on her way to the big march.
There was no apprehension that this was going to be anything other than a joyful confluence of men, women and children.
Chuck advised all passengers that there would be a half hour walk on Capitol Hill, or a metro ride, to the staging area, the March would leave off at about 1PM, and the bus would be leaving DC by 3 PM.
A group of kids sent a message with the hats that they created for the marchers, saying they “learned to knit [the hats] because when we [kids] grow up we want to live in a world supported by and for pussycat wearers and creators.”
When the buses that the Hedges secured arrived in DC, the passengers chanted, “Hi Ho Hi Ho, Trump has got to go.”
In DC, the marchers walked to Independence and Third, just to the West of the Capitol, a sea of pink pussy hats bobbing as the crowd walked, and streams of people flowed down streets to join with one another, swelling to fill the streets sidewalk to sidewalk as they approached the staging area.
They came to DC by planes, trains, cars and buses from near and faraway places, going the last bit by Metro, or walking, however they could struggle to get as close as they could to the speakers and performers.
They were a spectrum of age, and there were also boys and men, the fit and disabled, so different in so many ways but all together, united in a common purpose, they were one this day in DC.
They were smiling, chanting as they walked, flowing down one street and then another, carrying homemade signs that defined the themes of the day.
Allison Jarvis said, “Women’s rights are human rights.”
A sign read, “Build a wall around Trump. We will pay for it.”
As time passed, and more marchers arrived, indeed so many marchers, marching became quite impossible, and standing replaced marching.
Another sign, carried by Felicia Mohammed, said, “If you’re not mad, you are not paying attention.”
A woman from Atlanta and another from Wichita agreed that Speaker Ryan was “a common enemy that has brought us all together.”
Two teachers from Indiana, outside the Education Department, said, the President’s nominee to head the department “doesn’t know what she’s talking about, and the people interviewing her know more. It’s pretty terrifying. Students are not products and schools are not businesses.”
Some marchers climbed trees to make a limb a chair and get a better view.
When it was over, and the crowds dispersed, and the Hedges’ twin buses traveled home, the news reported that 500,000 persons had marched in DC, and millions marched worldwide in cities across the United States and offshore and abroad.
Ms. Mullholland would have been proud for such a democratic legacy.
One marcher laughed and said, “Not bad for a bunch of pussies.”