Saturday, January 21, 2017

On the march in Champaign, Illinois

In Champaign, Illinois today, an estimated five thousand people participated in a Sister March held in conjunction with the Women’s March on Washington. Five thousand people. It was exciting and inspiring to be among them. (The organizers had begun by planning for a crowd of two hundred.) The gathering began in a park not far from a corner where in 1870 Susan B. Anthony spoke on “work, wages, and the ballot”.

Our daughter Rachel points out that Donald Trump’s pre-inauguration concert drew a crowd estimated at ten thousand. So in just one midwestern city, a crowd half that size. My favorite signs: those made and held by children. Youre not doing even a very good gob.

But the question (always): Where do we go from here?

comments: 8

bartholomew sorrentino said...

I saw some of the women's walk on TV last evening, but the news people only seemed to show women shouting for " women's rights '. Unfortunately for me, women's rights is a euphemism for abortion, the killing of unborn babies.
This past election I agonized over who to vote for: a loutish, thin-skinned bully or someone secretive and at best insensitive. Has anyone come so close to 1930's Germany as Donald Trump: blaming the country's ills on others { Jews and Gypsies vs. Moslems and illegal aliens }? Did Hilary Clinton really lump all of Trump's supporters under the term " deplorables ", or consider what closing all the coal mines would do to the jobs of all those Appalachian workers?
In the end it came down to a single issue; abortion. The Republicans at least made a show of trying to control this practice; the Democrats all seem to be flaming abortionists, up to and including the hideous partial- birth abortion. So I voted for Trump. Without life we don't have anything.
I still worry over whether I did the right thing - reducing my choice to a single issue election.
It is interesting that your subtitle is " Down the Slippery Slope". In school a teacher or two mentioned that America is so strong that it will never be destroyed from the outside. If it is destroyed it will be from the inside. Are we on the slippery slope to self-destruction? Our laissez-faire attitude that everything is O.K. as long as it doesn't harm anyone else seems to me to put us on that slippery slope. I think abortion rights certainly does.

Michael Leddy said...

You might find this Mark Shields column of interest. He thinks it was a mistake for organizers of this march to exclude groups opposed to abortion.

Michael Leddy said...

I’ll just add that to my mind, there’s much more to women’s rights than access to abortion. At the march I attended, there was relatively little said about access to abortion, and much more said about misogyny, racism, xenophobia, and women’s rights as human rights.

Fresca said...

I didn't march but was greatly heartened by all the photos--and by the many, many handmade signs! LOVE the one you quote, Michael. Ha!
It's so, so nice to see human handwriting--and that people cared enough to cut up cardboard and locate a magic marker...

The best way to reduce abortions is to make sure all girls and women have reproductive health care. < That's what feminists want! not abortions.
Closing reproductive health centers like Planned Parenthood is like saying you don't want people to get cavities so you're closing down dental offices. Free toothbrushes and toothpaste works better.

Michael Leddy said...

I like your analogy. As with so many other things: reproductive health care will always be available to people of means. But it needs to be available to all.

Elaine said...

At this time, abortion is legal in our country. Many people voted for George W. Bush based on this single issue; they felt abortion was just wrong, and they expected Bush 2 to change the law. He made exactly zero efforts to do so.

This election was about much more than any single issue --(unless we say it was about our Constitution; that is pretty broad to be called a 'single issue,' however.).

The incidence of abortions has declined, markedly so in states where free birth control has been available. If appropriate birth control continues to be available to all women of child-bearing age, abortion rates will likely remain low. Universal health insurance and health care are important in attaining that goal. (As a graduate student and a teacher in a low-paying job, I went to Planned Parenthood for annual exams, birth control prescriptions, and, when the time was happily right, for a pregnancy test to confirm our joyous hopes.).

For me 'women's rights' goes back to the 60's, when pay and benefits were much less for women, when it was difficult to obtain credit cards or borrow money (the credit rating belonged to one's husband,) and it was common for male supervisors to make passes, crack tasteless jokes, or comment on a woman's physical attributes--with impunity! Some of these things are still issues--especially the matter of equal pay and promotions.

I believe 'destruction from the inside' will more likely be accomplished by suppression of a free press, outlawing the Constitutional right to peaceful assembly, and voter suppression.

Zhoen said...

Women have the right to their own bodies, and medical decisions are not up for public review. I realize this is radical. It shouldn't be. And the turnip is trying to take away so many of those fundamental rights. Including affordable health care, and basic protections. And as the kid says, not even doing a good job.

Thanks for this.

Elaine said...

I'm back to say one thing more: if the clock on Roe v. Wade is turned back, authority over a woman's reproductive decisions would belong to someone other than the individual. This should be unacceptable *even if everyone agreed that abortion is 'wrong.'* I can believe that abortion is the wrong decision morally but still regard it as the woman's legal right to obtain one. (In my case, I believe both the moral and legal decisions must be the woman's to make.)

If the 'slippery slope' really applies, then why wouldn't it also apply to the other end of the spectrum described by Bartholemew? If authority over reproduction belongs to someone other than the individual, why not also restriction of rights to own property? drive a car? wear clothing of one's own preference (hair uncovered, face uncovered, arms uncovered)?