I shot this picture yesterday at the Women’s March in Annapolis, Maryland, on a warmer-than-average afternoon for late January.
The photo shows so many things: the hope of young girls, the trust children place in and the guidance they seek from adults who love them, the history of our country, the political aspirations of a woman named Sarah. It left a mark on me, propped up to remind me year after year that women truly have come a long way. It’s not so much that they’re in higher places than they used to be, but that the American population is considering it more “normal” that women are going for the top more regularly nowadays.
For that normalization, we need to seriously thank Hillary Clinton. Without her strong preparation for issue after issue affecting real Americans, without her persistence in the face of adversarial or even irrelevant attacks, we would not be seeing the kind of revolution I think we’re in the middle of with the Women’s Marches.
This is not the small number of Americans who can grasp how big money violates our democracy and can sit in during the Occupy Wall Street movement. This isn’t the small percentage of the American public who understands how ridiculous much of the standardized testing has become and can tell their kids to opt out of certain tests. This isn’t even the 10 or 15 percent of America who has black or brown skin and is subject to differential treatment from police.
No, this is half the population—more than half, actually, since a good many men support this equality. Ms Clinton may have lost the election—and we can write books about why she lost it or the obsolescence of the Electoral College—but the loss may have been the key.
- The student newspaper at Lyons Township High School in LaGrange, Illinois, estimated that 300,000 people marched in Chicago as part of the Women’s March.
When half our political offices are filled with women, half our corporate board rooms, half our everything, we will no longer need to try to convince a fifth grader to pursue a career in a STEM discipline just because she’s a girl, because that will be a total waste of time. And if she doesn’t really like science anyway, it would be a disservice to that girl to try to convince her to do what she doesn’t love. Differentiation of life goals, even as high as the Oval Office, will have become a thing of the past after we have more women taking this march all the way to the polls.
When we are half represented by women and half by men, everything will change. If Ms Clinton was the “queen we sacrificed” in this chess game of presidential elections, that sacrifice has left us stronger and opened up a strategic hole. After all, anyone can sacrifice their queen; winning the game after doing it is paramount.
Judging from the marches around the country yesterday, where it was clear that women had found their strongest possible voice, I would say
- This is a big hole, a huuuge hole, actually; and
- So many people have gone through it now that it will never close.
Maybe we had to elect a person who has been accused of being a billionaire, a misogynist, a public school privatization proponent, an abuser of women and corporate power, (and, OK, an idiot) to open up this strategic hole through which women and the many men who support them can take proud strides into the next hundred years of our great democracy.