Will It Make A Difference?
As I prepare to leave Arkansas and head for Washington, D.C. for the Women’s March, I’m keenly aware of my personal actions this morning.
Everything is a symbol to me, every single thing has meaning and purpose. I put on my estrogen patch for the week a day early. “Good,” I think,“a little extra won’t hurt where I’m going.” I tell myself to travel as light as I can because this march doesn’t concern my immediate personal comfort. I will leave my comfy bed and pillows behind and all the various accoutrements of convenience and routine in favor of riding a charter bus for a day and a half with fifty-five women I do not know. I will definitely be outside my comfort zone socially and physically. I’ll probably come home constipated too, because I’m shy about “going” in public toilets, but “It’ll be worth it,” I think to myself. This is about a comfort zone far wider and deeper than any one of us moves within (no pun intended, I swear) in our daily lives. This is about the livelihood and welfare of women who do not see themselves as objects, accessories or social liabilities to be hushed and coddled. It’s about women from all backgrounds allowing and expressing their feminine nature in their own unique way with the full support of their sisters. It is about women pursuing their dreams in whatever shape or form the dream manifests itself with no limits tied to their gender alone. Whether they aspire to be a tug boat captain or the President of the United States. It’s about women coming together and finding out that our sisterhood is diverse and healthier for the differences when we allow and honor them in each other.
Last night we ran to the local market to buy some water to take on the trip. My wife has been telling every woman we encounter these past few days we are headed to the Women’s March in Washington. I stand by her quietly smiling until the young women on both sides of the checkout lane begin to pepper her with questions. Neither women, up to that moment, had even heard of the Women’s March on Washington taking place the day after the inauguration.
The one on the right asked, “What’s he (Trump) going to do?”
This was such a broad question I didn’t have a clue where to begin in the short time it would take to ring up and pay for six bottles of water.
“We’re not sure exactly, but he’s already shown himself to be dishonest in countless ways and dealings, as well as, disturbingly disrespectful toward women,” I quickly mutter in reply.
I could have launched into a litany of repugnant and immoral character defects easily extrapolated from the campaign vitriol and Twitter along with a history of his past physical and verbal sexual assaults on women, but like I said, time was short.
The one on the left looked doubtful, but shyly asked, “Will it make a difference?” I can still see her face and the worried earnestness upon it. This moment will stay with me. A third young woman joins the group and looks on, listening and nodding.
I want to fill the air around us with hopeful promises of positive changes which might affect their lives in a personal and direct way. For a moment, I can understand the lure of spilling out pie-in-the-sky platitudes so many political leaders succumb to, it’s easier and it leaves everybody feeling like they just ate their favorite dessert. The desire to tell people what they want to hear can be strong, but it should never over power the practice of telling the truth. The truth, if we can ever get back to it, will indeed, free us.
I resist the easy answer and tell her the truth, “I don’t know, but if it doesn’t make a difference we’ll keep marching until it does.”
S Lynn Knight, 2017