Donald Trump is still President. His cabinet of incompetents, grifters, and deplorables is as likely as ever to be confirmed. The conservative agenda of small-government austerity and the rollback of hard-won rights and protections is still on the table in a House and Senate likely to ram them through and — to borrow a phrase from the folks doing the ramming — down the throats of the citizens of these United States, whether we like it or not.
But yesterday, the day after the least popular incoming President in history held his poorly-attended inauguration, four million Americans took to the streets of cities and towns across the country to march for women’s equality and women’s rights.
A cynical person might ask what it is we think we accomplished. All of the above is still true, after all, and it’s unlikely to change as a direct result of the largest political demonstration in our nation’s history.
It’s a fair question.
The simplest answer is that we came out and showed our sheer numbers. It makes a splash, makes the media pay attention. It changes the conversation. It puts our elected representatives on notice that the ideals and policies we marched for has a constituency they ignore at their political peril.
Those answers are meaningful. Important. But they aren’t the whole story.
A cloud has hung over vast swathes of the American people these last two and a half months. A feeling like we lost something important. Like something critical to our happiness, our well-being, our safety both personal and economic died. We have been grieving that loss. Mourning it. Fighting hopelessness and despair.
But not today.
Today my social media feed is full of fired-up, hopeful, and energized people. People ready to organize and fight for what they believe in. People whose faith is re-energized. People whose hope is restored. Whose resolve is galvanized, and whose hearts know joy again after a long, gray season of despair.
And that, to me, is the real answer to the question. What do we accomplish by marching?
We march to turn grief into power.
And with our faith re-energized, our hope restored, our resolve galvanized and our hearts filled with joy, we will overcome. We will bend the moral arc of history towards justice. We will make an America whose greatness isn’t grounded in power or wealth, but in fidelity to our highest ideals: to life, liberty, equality, opportunity, and security for every American regardless of who they are, what they want, or what they believe.
Yes we will.