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Women’s March On Washington – So What? By Mildred Robertson

Following a day of boycotting inaugural news, it was encouraging to turn on the news and see the number of women and their supporters who poured into the streets of Washington, D.C., New York, and other states across the nation and the world to register their opposition to the new Trump Administration. Right here in Raleigh North Carolina thousands jammed the streets to lift their voices in protest.

Mildred Robertson

The numbers were staggering. The visuals were inspiring and the outpouring of opposition was…well, puzzling. I hesitate to quote Donald Trump, but one of his tweets…just one…made sense. Where were these throngs on Election Day?

Of course, I know it’s not quite that simple. Voter suppression is real. The Electoral College is outdated. Some Hillary detractors thought it was a good time to make a statement and some folks just didn’t even imagine there was a possibility that Trump would take the White House, with or without their participation. And the fact is, more Americans voted for Hillary than Trump.

As a black woman, I am somewhat off-put that white women would rise up the day after inauguration. Too little too late from my perspective. We did our part. We turned out. We voted. Our sisters of a lighter hue left us to stand almost alone.

There is no reason why the Electoral College should have even come into play. Had the millions who cried out against his inauguration voted against his election, January 20, 2017 would have been a much different kind of day, and the next year would be shrouded in hope rather than despair.

Don’t get me wrong; I am glad that millions rose up to say that Donald Trump does not represent the America they want to live in. I am happy that a movement is underway that will build road blocks to the destructive politics envisioned by the Republican Party with Trump at the helm. It is good that cabinet appointments will be questioned; that legislation will be challenged and politicians will be made keenly aware that they will be held accountable.

But here is my observation. It appears that when black people and brown people were under attack—when America was described as an “us” and “them” kind of nation; many did not rise up until they began to understand that they were not part of the “in” crowd.

I know many will say, why are you looking back? My answer is simple. Donald Trump has not changed. From his first stump speech to his comments standing before the wall of the slain in the CIA headquarters he is the same belligerent, ignorant, ill-spoken, deceitful, brattish man-child we have known during the entire 2016 campaign.   So it is clear to me that many were not moved by the assault on blacks, or the immigrant, or the physically challenged. Even the assault on women did not move some, in that they appeared not to feel personally threatened.

But as it became clear that Trump would in fact dismantle healthcare, education and the EPA; as it became evident that he cherished the idea of war and a muzzled free-press it also became apparent that the suffering would not just be reserved for minorities and the poor.

The phrase of the day was “intersectional politics.” I understand and applaud how that intersectionality created an awesome moment in history. But suffering and pain; equality and liberty should be championed whether it intersects with an individual’s own personal reality. How can I trust my plight with you, if your major concern is only whether you are going to be okay?  How can I know that you truly have my back?

I hope that this moment has revealed that every decision we make in America is an intersectional one. The loss of freedom and equality for one American makes that loss one step closer to every American.

So what’s next?

Do the marches on January 21st have meaning, or were they just a moment. Is there clarity about the danger that exists for Americans of all hues and backgrounds? And will solutions be as inclusive…as intersectional as they were the day the women of America marched around the world?

Mildred Robertson is a free-lance writer and public relations consultant in Raleigh, North Carolina. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Lincoln University of Missouri, a Bachelor of Journalism degree from the University of Missouri-Columbia, and a Master of Public Administration degree from Strayer University.  You may follow her blog at www.mdr-concepts.blogspot. com

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