One man’s view of the Women’s March

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Women, and men, walk together in solidarity in Sacramento at the annual Women’s March. Photo by Woody Fridae

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By WOODY FRIDAE

I found myself on the way to Sacramento to attend the second Women’s March.  My wife, Rebecca, had agreed to help on the final stage of the Winters Park structure rebuild last Saturday, adding a zip line and doing some last-minute improvements.  She was frustrated that she had double booked and could not meet her sister in Sacramento and attend the Woman’s March.  I told her that I’d go in her place.  “I’ll take photos so you can see what you missed,” I told her.

So I decided to get there early find a good parking spot, have some breakfast, then set out to meet the march.

While eating, I overheard a man from a table next to me say, “Well, you know, all they want is IDX.”

“What is that?” a woman at the table asked.

“Intact… something… extraction, you know, partial birth abortion. You know, they murder a baby in the womb to perform an abortion.”

“OMG, that’s horrible!” the woman said. “Why would they all march for that?”

Yes, I thought, why would they all march for that? It didn’t sound right to me.  I knew several people who were at the rally last year, and I don’t remember anyone talking about anything like that.  I thought the march last year was mostly regret for the results of the election, and they were speaking out about it.  Did I somehow miss the real agenda for all these women, (and men) coming together?

So I thought I’d take a look and really listen when I got to the rally, and try to understand the point of this gathering.  And since Debra is on vacation, I could be the cub Express reporter for the day.

I was supposed to meet up with Rebecca’s sister and her husband, Martha and Fernando, at 5th and P, about ten blocks into the march.  I got a text that they had just left the starting place, South Central Park, and they thought they would get to the rendezvous point in about ten minutes, and I was only a block away from the there.  So after paying my bill, I set out for the meeting spot.

When I got there, the crowd was a lot larger than I expected. I assumed that there would be a couple of thousand people, but it reminded me of the Bay to Breakers race, because they were so bunched up, they could barely take full steps when they started out.  Like the San Francisco race, it was loud, noisy and everyone had signs and bright costumes. They filled up the street and sidewalks as far back as I could see.

While I waited for Martha and Fernando, I heard the chants  people were shouting: “Love not hate—It makes America Great,” “This is what Democracy looks like,” and “No hate… No fear—Immigrants are welcome here.” Hmm, nothing about abortion there.

And the signs, (I imagined people working on them late the night before with markers and poster board) that expressed why they were there:  Here are some I saw and photographed:  “Fight like a girl,” “One day women will have the same rights as guns,” “Love your Neighbor,” “No Human is Illegal,” “See Women Run… For Office!” “Women’s Rights are Human Rights,” “Time to evolve” (carried by someone in a dinosaur costume), “Solidarity is happening,” and many women had signs that simply stated, “Me Too.”  Hmm, I can’t quite imagine any of those with an abortion connection, unless that “me too” slogan was somehow a secret signal for a procedure instead of a molestation.

After 30 minutes, still no Martha and Fernando.  I thought I might have missed them, so I headed out for the State Capitol, still watching, still taking photos.

Of course, there were signs that showed people in protest of the current President:  “Your president is a rapist,” “2000 lies matter,” “Fighting Fascism since 1922” (carried by an elderly woman in a wheel chair), and “Bring back Obama.”  Well, nothing there about ending pregnancies.

There were nearly as many men and children as there were women.  Why were they there?  One man carried a sign that read, “I’m with her” with arrows that pointed in every which way, like a clock with far too many hands.  Another man carried a sign that read, “And we thought it couldn’t get worse.” “Black Lives Matter,” was carried by a white guy.  And my friend and Davis City Council member, Lucas Frerichs, was there, and he carried a sign that read, “Men of Quality are not afraid of Equality.”

Why were the children there?  One mom I talked to said that she brought her daughter so that the girl would observe the power of women coming together. “I want her to be inspired that women can make a positive difference,” she said.  “She needs to know she’s not alone.”

The woman in the restaurant said the march would be horrible.  It wasn’t horrible.  The entire event was very positive, up-beat and focused on bringing about positive change. Were some of the people there because they wanted to expand abortion rights? Maybe, but I didn’t see any evidence of it, not in the signs people carried, not in the slogans they chanted, and not in the speeches delivered at the State Capitol. The one sign I did see that could possibly be argued was pro-abortion read, “I support Planned Parenthood.”  But from what I know about that organization, its work has actually lead to fewer abortions (not more) by informing men and women of ways to prevent unwanted pregnancies.

I can tell you that I was inspired by seeing so many people at one place, marching for positive change.  Like the woman I talked to who brought her daughter, It really made me feel like I’m not alone.  It made me feel that we’re all in this together.  If we don’t like the status quo, we must work together, support each other, and we must vote.

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