It is January 21st, 2017, the day after the election of Donald J. Trump as our 45th president; it is the day of the Women’s March on Washington. I wanted to go and was all set to get up before dawn to make my way to the capital when I heard there would also be a March in Philadelphia. Call me lazy; call me not as dedicated to the cause as I should be, but to be able to be to my destination within an hour and home before midnight seemed a task equal to my commitment.
What was the draw? What made it so important for a Christian never-before protestor to join thousands of others in what seemed like an endless sea of humanity? It was simple, I needed to do something.
On the night of the election I had watched in disbelief as the map of the 50 states glowed red, going to bed uncertain about the America I thought I knew. It was a shock to the system, yet I tried to be open minded asking myself; “What had I missed about the president elect that others had seen?” And yet as each day passed I became more convinced that some kind of magical power had been unleashed across our nation, a magical power that brought blindness to what seemed blatant.
When the election statistics began to unfold the real truth was too much for me to take in. If the data was correct eighty four percent of evangelicals voted for Mr. Trump. How could this be? The crassness had been overlooked. The immorality was disregarded. The lack of public service was unnoticed. These very truths made me question; who was I sitting next to in the pew on Sunday morning? These were my people, yet they did not value what I valued. I heard a woman on the radio who described herself as missionary speak of Trump as the person who “would return our country to its Christian roots.” I had no further explanation than to believe that the unseen magical power was for evil and not for good.
So, this morning I got up and took the train to center city Philadelphia. The packed cars were full of woman and men that were euphoric with the idea that their voices still mattered, that their bodies that were too many to count, would make a thoughtful statement to the newly formed government. I sat on the train, not knowing what my experience would be, but just glad I could be a part, one person one more person that was saying by their presence that something had gone wrong.
Pretty soon I was in a great crowd surrounded by signs and placards, some humorous, some serious, all with a message. I did my best to read each one, to see what the priority of the marchers was. Many focused on woman’s reproductive rights; many drew attention to the objectification of woman, while others were thoughtful quotes that called woman and men to action. As I walked amidst the masses I tried to think what my sign would say. Why was I there? What was I crying out against? If I could put my heart cry into words what would it say? Sure I wanted what many around me wanted, but none of their signs said what I was really thinking. The reality was, I wanted something back that I had lost in the last two months.
My sign would have said, “Christians for Sanity.”