By Taylor Blasko
On January 21, 2017 millions of people around the world marched. As one, we all raised our voices. People came for women’s rights. People came for immigrant rights. People came for environmental rights. Because women’s rights=human’s rights and that’s one thing we can get behind—is that we’re all human, that was the central goal of The Women’s March on Washington. I was a part of this march. I marched at the heart of things in Washington, D.C. and it still doesn’t even feel real. The mass of people that were gathered all in one place for one purpose was bone chilling to say the least. There were moments of chanting where I would hear it start in the distance and all of sudden the chant was upon me, enveloping me in its power, surrounding me, from all sides, from every mouth around me I saw the chant being yelled with pride. And then it would move on, like a wave and dissipate into the distance as the cries made their rounds through the thousands of thousands of people in the streets.
This march was incredible and I feel honored to have been a part of it but there’s one thing I noticed that I want to caution some to. It was primarily a women’s march for women’s rights. Now I know that people marched for many, many different reasons. But there was something that inherently bothered me on my march from the capital building to the white house —it was the hate.
On the way to the white house we passed the Trump International Hotel. And as soon as I reached the very vicinity of this building is when I heard a large majority of hate —from the general booing to chants of “asshole” as well as “not our president” and “Trump sucks.” And so, I get it, I get that everybody is angry, I am too. But we can’t let that group mentality rationalize it in our heads to be hateful. Honestly, I was kind of disappointed, and in that moment felt like an outsider in the march. I couldn’t bring myself to chant these things with everyone, I couldn’t bring myself to drop to that level. How can all of us carry around signs that say “Love trumps hate” and then be just as hateful to what were mad about. Like I said, I get it, we all have a reason to be angry, we all have a reason to protest. But I would assume (though correct me if I’m wrong) that the march brought out a plethora of people, as I mentioned, and some of those people had the agenda of specifically protesting Trump. It makes sense. All of the policies he is, and has been saying he’s going to enact are direct attacks on human rights, but we can’t attack him for it. We can’t play his very game.
And don’t get me wrong, do I think Trump is a good person? No not at all. I just felt very uncomfortable in that moment joining into the group mentality of these hateful chants. And honestly, I was surprised at myself. I think younger me would have chanted these things with everyone else and not thought twice about it, but now I can’t bring myself to slander anyone (at least I try not to, none of us are perfect). I simultaneously love people, even as I hate them 🙂