Opinion: In Support of the Women’s March

Alex Drake'20, Staff Writer

From the time our nation was founded, there has been one fundamental right that we prized. It set us apart from other nations and is now ingrained in the American spirit. This is our freedom of speech, officially recognized under the First Amendment; it gives us our right to have an opinion and make it known without repercussions.

This aspect of our country’s character was demonstrated at its finest in the Women’s Marches this past month, where more than two million protesters worldwide assembled to make their voices heard. Most views of the marches are polarized. There’s the positive outlook – “good for them!”- and there’s the direct opposite. Popular vibes among this latter group include: “they’re being ridiculous,” “it’s useless,” “they’re abusing their rights,” and my personal favorite, “just deal with it!”

This negative opinion is entirely misguided. The Women’s Marches were not frivolous and purposeless riots designed by the world’s man-eating feminist population. They targeted important issues that have been seething under the American public’s skin for years, from gender/sexuality discrimination and abortion rights to a misogynistic climate that won’t disappear anytime soon. The point of the Marches wasn’t to hate on Donald Trump for the sake of it or to profit by selling some (extremely stylish) hats. It was an honest march: A vast amount of people felt threatened and disregarded by Trump, who has yet to be nominated “America’s Most Tolerant,” and felt it necessary to speak out. By no means is this an abuse of anyone’s rights. The freedom to assemble and make our voices heard is one of the pillars America is based on, and no one should feel embarrassed or harassed because they used it. Over the past year, Donald Trump himself has taken full advantage of this liberty, both to rally support for himself and to diminish, marginalize, and bully thousands of others. We are, at the very least, entitled to deliver some constructive criticism – and those in office are entitled to hear it.

Far from being a threat to national spirit, I see the Women’s Marches as an embrace of the true meaning of American character. Being American does not entail being sexist, racist, and bigoted, nor does it require you to be 100% supportive of everything that the government does. American values certainly don’t force you to “deal with it.” It’s not certain that anything will change now, as it’s unlikely that these marches, impressive though they are, will eradicate chauvinism or even inhibit its spreading. But at the very least, the world knows that people who want equality exist, and that we’re not afraid to speak out.