On October 8, the Washington Post published a tape of the Republican presidential nominee bragging about his talent for getting away with sexual assault. The next day, pundits and politicians from across the political spectrum left Donald Trump’s candidacy for dead. The only question now was whether America’s disgust with the GOP standard-bearer would wipe out his co-partisans down-ballot — many of whom scrambled to distance themselves from the would-be pussy grabber-in-chief.
And then Trump won. And feminists across the United States were provided with a potent reminder of their nation’s tolerance for misogyny — and of the profound threat that the modern GOP poses to the health, economic security, and reproductive freedom of American women.
So, on the day after Trump’s inauguration, millions of women across the country and globe marched in defense of the rights they currently possess — and to demand those that they have yet to secure.
In Washington, D.C., the Women’s March brought a larger crowd to the National Mall than Trump’s Inauguration had the day before.
The consensus of such photos was confirmed by the Washington Metro, which struggled to accommodate the hoards of marchers in pink, “pussyhats.”
As of 11:00 a.m., the DC Metro system had tallied 270,000 trips — by the same time Friday, that figure was only 193,000.
In fact, turnout proved so high, it became physically impossible to execute the march as planned.
With the aid of Google Maps, Los Angeles Times reporter Matt Pearce found that it would take 19 minutes to walk from one end of the march to the other.
By early Saturday afternoon, the organizers of the D.C. march told the Washington Post that they now expected as many as a half million participants, after preparing for less than half that number.
In New York City, an early estimate from Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer put the number of marchers at roughly 200,000.
Up to 150,000 marchers were expected in Los Angeles.
So many Chicagoans turned out to express their solidarity with those whose rights are threatened by Trump’s election, organizers were forced to cancel their plan to march through the city’s downtown, due to public safety concerns.
Tens of thousands of protesters made their presence felt in Denver.
And the marches extended across the Atlantic. Less than 24 hours after the new president’s belligerently nationalistic speech, marchers in Paris, London, Lisbon, Tokyo, and countless other cities affirmed the value of collective, international struggle.
Even Antarctica made its solidarity known.
It’s early days for the anti-Trump resistance. Mass demonstrations are no guarantee of sustained organization and engagement. But the organizers of the Women’s March have articulated a broad vision of the society they wish to struggle for — one that would guarantee greater freedom and security not only for women, but for all those who suffer from disadvantages based in their race, sexuality, gender identity, immigration status, or class position.
That vision — and the millions that it helped mobilize — offers some hope to all who fear the journey our country has just embarked on.