I marched last Saturday, just as I marched a year ago. The signs were poignant, hilarious, clever, and on point. Thousands marched in our city. There was camaraderie and there was purpose. But there was a difference in this year’s march. Last year we marched because of what we feared this presidency would bring; this year we marched because our fears have been realized. Marchers seemed a touch weary. I was a touch weary. And this concerns me.
There is still so much to do, not only to survive this administration, but to defeat it. It requires purpose and drive. Focus. We have to keep changing the Republican status quo, flipping as many seats as possible. We have to not only register voters, but also get them to the polls. We have to make calls, send emails, stuff envelopes, walk the walk. We are women, hear us roar. Loudly. There is just too much to be done to rely on only the march to get it all done. The March was important, but mostly as a springboard. I saw a sign carried by a marcher that said, “If you march today but do nothing tomorrow, you’re part of the problem.” I’m not sure about being part of the problem, but you’d certainly be doing nothing toward solving it.
In our state, the great GOP stronghold that is Missouri, the fight is and will be even more intense. We have a corrupt governor who had no qualifications for the job and who now stands accused of blackmailing a woman with whom he was having an extramarital affair, the same governor who ran on the usual and very tired Republican family values platform. He is a Trump wannabe, a Trump Lite, who holds victory rallies statewide just as his orange idol continues to do. Right to Work has been foisted on Missourians despite voter opposition (and that was yet another march in the state capital following a lengthy petition drive). Women’s rights are being challenged. The state board of education is being dismantled and the governor is stacking it with his own appointees in his quest to favor private education over public.
All of this gets old. All of it wearies the hell out of us. And all of it needs to continue. In fact, it will have to ramp up. If it sounds like I’m thumping the podium here and more or less attempting to goad someone into action, I am. And it’s me. The antics of the GOP are wearing me down and wearing me out. The toll they’re taking on us and our democratic way of life is shameful. After last year’s march, I coasted quite awhile on the high of the experience; I felt like I could afford to wait a bit and see what would happen next. I don’t have that luxury this year. I know the score. We all do. And both the stakes and the cost of inaction couldn’t be higher.
Other commentaries by Gail Barth:2018 Stinky Awards
A Call to March for the Soul of the Country
Fire and Fury: Review
Can the Presidency Survive Trump?
Where’s the Outrage?