Another year, another march

The coincidental timing of the Trump government shutdown and the Women’s March this past weekend couldn’t have been better planned, a convergence of events that reflected the worst and the best of our democracy.

In just one year, the scandalous Trump administration has proven far worse than Nixon’s Watergate or the sleaziness of Bill and Monica, and it has accomplished the unimaginable by improving history’s view of the performance of George W. Bush. But the anticipation of the power of peaceful protest translating to the ballot box in November has reinvigorated progressives, hungry for redemption after the election of the worst president in our nation’s history.

Last weekend, hundreds of thousands of women gathered across the U.S., marching with male allies to demand change. In Reno, police estimated Saturday’s crowd at 10,000 to 12,000, slightly more than last year’s inaugural march which was the largest protest in the city’s history.

Many Reno marchers observed there were more men, more youth, and more people of color this year. The march was led by a large contingent of indigenous women, colorfully dressed and accompanied by tribal drums that set a pulsing beat of joy and purpose. It was cold, but not brutally frigid like 2017. The sound system was a tiny bit better, although the speeches were too numerous and too long, causing the crowd to dwindle long before the keynote speakers, who were inexplicably placed at the very end of the program. But people really weren’t there for the speeches anyway.

The crowd meandered happily down Virginia Street to the Believe sign on the river plaza, reminding each other of the common values that motivated marchers to forego a day of powder skiing, cheering immigrants and diversity, determined to create change. People were friendly and patient with the slow pace, fully enjoying the opportunity to wander within the crowd, encountering old friends and engaging in random conversations with strangers.

The political nature of the march was expressed creatively on proudly carried hand-made signs, reflecting the national theme of “Power to the Polls,” with many predicting a tsunami of change in November. Other signs went for the easy laughs: “Grab ’em by the mid-terms” and “We need a leader, not a tweeter.”

It’s clear now that the Women’s March has become a movement led by no one in particular, powered by the idea that voting is the only way to overcome the incompetent Trump administration and the self-serving greed of the GOP.

The movement has inspired record-breaking numbers of women to seek office. Rutgers Center for American Women and Politics notes that 79 women are running for governor this year, and estimates that 15 women are poised to win primaries and land on the general election ballot, a national record. Nevada’s own female candidate for governor, Clark County Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani, was cheered loudly at Reno’s march as she talked about fixing education funding in Nevada and declared “Women aren’t going to stand on the sidelines anymore.”

Women marched in Washington, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco and hundreds of smaller cities. On Sunday, thousands attended the national rally in Las Vegas where one speaker summed up the empowerment and action theme nicely by telling the crowd, “Stop looking for someone else to see you. Don’t look to your left or to your right. Look in the mirror. You are the change.”

This moment in history will be remembered most for women willing to resist the Trumpsters at every level of government. U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand told marchers in New York, “It is women who are holding our democracy together in these dangerous times.” Don’t be surprised when Nevada’s women prevail next November by stepping up to run and showing up to vote.