A word or two for the concern trolls and boo birds regarding the Women’s March…
First, to the Trumpers: Hurling epithets is outdated. While terms like “libtard, buttercup, snowflake, or femi-nazi” may induce chortles from the bar buddies saturated with hate radio talking points, times have changed. There’s a point at which formal policy is secondary to cultural acceptability. And, no, it’s no longer socially acceptable to grab and grope the women. Actually, in polite society it never was. There are fewer judges willing to adopt the boys will be boys, or the she must have been asking for it, mode and when they do they make undeniably negative headlines. What might have been socially comprehensible 50 years ago is unacceptable today — in part because women have simply stopped putting up with it, in part because no brother, uncle, father, or husband wants his female relatives to put up with it.
Secondly, to the concern trolls who pontificate that the March won’t be effective because…it doesn’t have a precisely focused agenda, it encompasses too many divergent interests, it doesn’t have the right people saying all the right words…
Let’s start with the obvious proposition that there is no magic formula for effective social action. Nor is there any single organizational structure that guarantees efficiency and instant rewards.
For example, consider the unfocused agenda argument. This presumes that the protesters must have a single issue or a specific agenda. Issue organizations which develop agendas have to start somewhere, and that somewhere is networking. The Occupy movement was pronounced ineffective because it didn’t generate specific policy proposals and attendant lobbying. This critique is roughly analogous to arguing that all fires should be lit with a blow torch, because it’s far more efficient than putting a match to kindling.
We won’t know for some time how much local networking was accomplished during that protest. It won’t be immediately apparent how that networking will play out in single issues and focused agendas to come. We’ll not know how many interconnected individual snowflakes will come together at some point to create an avalanche.
We might move along to the marches don’t work anymore argument, too often premised on the notion that if it isn’t the March on Washington for Jobs and Justice it isn’t worth consideration.
Again, those looking for instant gratification as the measure of social activism will forever be disappointed. The point of the Women’s March, as I understand it, isn’t to drive the Orange Foolious from the District of Columbia taking his myrmidons with him, but to direct national attention to the rights and needs of women in this country.
Then there is the ripple effect. Women who participate in the Washington March and those who engage in the satellite marches, will go home and from thence come more measurable results. Those who participated in these activities we can assume will be more likely to contact their congressional representatives, more likely to write or call senators, more likely to organize local issues, or even more likely to run for offices.
Newton’s First Law, abbreviated, an object in motion will stay in motion until it encounters another force. The motion is just beginning.