Over the course of the past election, President Trump faced multiple sexual assault claims and marital rape allegations. He was caught bragging about committing sexual assault and claiming that “all women are bimbos.” Trump’s businesses were investigated for racial discrimination, and he made multiple racist remarks against Muslims and other minorities.
This past Saturday over 147,000 protesters gathered for the Women’s March in Washington; thousands more gathered at sister protests around the country and the world to oppose Trump’s questionable attitude toward and treatment of women. The protest was one of the largest in American history, drawing far more supporters than the inauguration of President Donald Trump the day before.
The Women’s March was not only a success for American women, but for women worldwide, 2as it showed that many Americans do not support Trump’s stance on women’s rights. It also communicated a strong message that President Trump’s disrespectful attitude toward marginalized groups, personal liberties and freedom of speech is opposed by millions of Americans willing to fight for personal liberties and rights.
News coverage of the march was generally positive, but backlash and criticism were quick to surface. The March was strongly criticized by New York Times columnist David Brooks for overemphasizing women’s reproductive rights over less contentious issues. The critique of the march is not entirely warranted, and misses a crucial point — women’s reproductive rights are not only important for women, but society as a whole. Support for women’s healthcare includes important issues besides abortion. Access to reproductive health care, birth control and education, for example, are causes that need support from women and politicians across party and religious lines.
Despite these praises for the protest, the protest failed to be inclusive of the range of political and religious affiliations that surround abortion after the removal of a pro-life group from the Women’s March official website’s list of registered participants. The protest’s “Unity Principles” championed “open access to safe, legal, affordable abortion.” It is imperative that women who believe in equality come together to fight for respect and personal freedom, regardless of their stance on abortion.
The March’s focus on reproductive rights also largely overshadowed the need to fight for the rights and fair treatment of all women, including transgender women and minorities.
Though Trump carried 42 percent of the women’s vote nationally this past election, the Women’s March was a strong rebuttal to Trump’s offensive attitudes toward women displayed during the election. In the face of political upheaval around the world, this peaceful protest was a victory for conscious and active citizenship.
The March’s ideals and successes should certainly be applauded, but if women aim to influence these important decisions, sustained action throughout Trump’s presidency is necessary. The Women’s March should serve as a catalyst for continuous dialogue and as a call to action for all Americans. After winning an election on a populist campaign, public support is Trump’s strongest ally and his greatest liability. This march showed the world that millions of Americans do not support Donald Trump or his policies.
The above editorial represents the majority opinion of the Wheel’s Editorial Board.