Flash Lash: The Power of Protest
Hey guys! Remember back in November when the Flash Files brought you this little gem that talked all about how sad your two favorite snowflakes were after the election but then we vowed to stop our whining (just like so many people on Facebook were telling us to do) and actually get to work doing something that might make a difference?
Well guess what? We did it!
Little Jenny and I got our bums out of bed earlier than pretty much anyone in human history this past Saturday morning and hopped a bus to D.C. to participate in the Women's March on Washington, one of a series of marches that took place throughout the country (and the world) culminating in what's since been dubbed the biggest political demonstration ever to take place in the US! Like whoa.
Check us out!
Ok, admittedly this is a totally lame photo after that buildup however, we got separated at one stage and unfortunately this bus pic is the best one I have of us together.
Talk about a crazy 24 hours! And I will, I promise. But first allow me to elaborate on some of the sentiment we felt in the two months prior. It seemed that there were a lot of people who just didn't understand what this march was about. In fact, the question we heard the most from skeptics was "What's the point?". If Trump is already president, what good is protesting going to do? To be fair, we weren't one hundred percent clear on the answer at first either. We just knew we were upset and wanted an opportunity to say so! But as the weeks went by and the time grew closer for us to descend on the capital, the purpose of such an event began to come into focus. By the time we left for Washington we had a pretty good idea of "what the point" was, however after we got back, we were sure of it. Here are just a few of the ways Jenny and I started to understand the power of protest:
1. No one wants to be disliked.
Did anyone else notice that immediately following the election, amidst a sea of angry demonstrators, our new President began to back out, in one way or another, of nearly every major campaign promise he had made? We acknowledge that he currently appears to be making an attempt on a Guinness World Record for most executive orders signed in a week, but directly following his win he appeared shook. All of a sudden his wall was a fence, Obamacare would be revised instead of repealed and "Locking her up!" seemed like overkill. The desire to not be disliked resonates with most of us but there's one person who has shown himself to be particularly susceptible to it: our new President. This guy hates being disliked so much that he's besties with a Russian dictator and won't renounce the KKK simply so he won't fall out of favor with them. Now picture what it must feel like for this type of a person to have five hundred thousand people show up on his doorstep (not to mention the two and a half million others who popped up around the world) and say "Excuse us! Would you mind knocking all this crazy crap off already?". I would imagine it would feel "not good" or "very bad!". "Sad!" even. So let's keep doing it and see if we can't talk some sense into this dude.
2. Protesting makes you feel better!
Yes. We'll admit it. The election hurt our little feelings, ok? I mean damn! Y'all act like Fox News, Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh and our new favorite, Tomi Lauren, didn't cry about Obama every day for eight years straight. So cut us some slack! There are many genuinely terrified people out there. If the only thing these demonstrations did was to show them that they are not alone, that's good enough for the Flash Lab ladies.
3. The rallies have inspired action.
We've heard a lot of people question what the singular objective of the Women's March was, or if they're being dicks about it "What are these broads complaining about?". It's our belief there were many reasons for marching held by women coming from a multitude of backgrounds. So let me start off by saying that if you're a woman and you've never felt disempowered, or experienced sexism or racism and you're "not a victim" well then good for you. Consider yourself lucky. Yours is not every woman's experience however. Frankly, I'm surprised at the lack of understanding by those who have positioned themselves as opposers of this movement because "they don't get it". You see, I have never been engulfed in flames, yet I can imagine it smarts a bit. If you're genuinely having a hard time figuring out what our problem is though, I'll explain a major reason why Jenny and I marched. It's not that we were protesting Trump being elected. We accept him as our President. However, having both experienced various degrees of sexual harassment and assault, what we won't accept is the normalization of what has now been dismissed as "locker room talk" and the behavior associated with it. We live in a city with a lot of guys and if you watch this video you can see what a bitch it can be just to walk down the street. Like it or not, the Commander in Chief sets an example for how the rest of us should behave and when ours treats women with less respect than a guest on Jerry Springer might hope to enjoy, there's a problem. We will not stand for that. Other women have decided they will not stand for the defunding of Planned Parenthood or the ever-increasing gun violence in our country or a complete disregard for the environment or institutionalized racism. As such, they have decided to get involved in those respective areas. Already the organizers of the March are actively assisting women in running for office. On top of that, the Women's March itself has evolved to include a call to action with Hear Our Voice which offers a list of things you can do to make a difference in the next one hundred days. There are also thousands of smaller groups which have been formed since the March's inception in an effort to fight for what's important to them. So to be clear, the Women's March was not about declaring ourselves victims, rather it was quite the opposite, in that millions of us stood up at once and said "Not on our watch, buddy!".
4. Protesting works.
I'm not even going to talk about what marches did for the Civil Rights or Suffrage movements. Instead, I want to touch on a little organization known as the Tea Party. In a nutshell, the Tea Party Movement (short for Taxed Enough Already) started off as a series of small demonstrations which were aimed at opposing Obama's Stimulus Package and mortgage assistance program. Members of the Tea Party felt that the government was squandering their tax dollars on handouts for people who didn't deserve them. This sentiment exploded with the passing of the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, leading to a wave of massive protests all over the country and resulting in an energizing of the Republican base. On election day in 2010, the Democrats suffered their worst loss in more than 50 years, making way for an obstructionist government that succeeded in handicapping President Obama at every turn and ultimately paved the way for a President Trump. The Tea Party Movement was one of the most successful and effective political movements in modern American history.
This is what the Tea Party protests looked like when they first started out:
And this is what the Women's Marches looked like when they started out:
...just to name a few.
So what do you think guys? Can we hope to accomplish as much as the Tea Party did?
That's yet to be seen. The exciting part is that it's entirely in our hands. In a phrase, it's ours to lose. So whether you agree with the idea that there's power in protest or you think it's a complete waste of time, Flash Lab has learned at least one thing for sure, if you want to accomplish absolutely nothing, just ask "What's the point?".