The so-called Women’s March returns this week, with a rally in Washington and other events around the country. But don’t expect it to pack the same punch it did two years ago.
When President Trump was being inaugurated, millions of women were concerned about what his presidency would mean for women like them and the direction of the country. The march organizers warned that his administration would roll back women’s rights, stall economic progress and dismantle the safety nets that protect vulnerable Americans.
Today, people see that not only do women’s rights remain firmly intact, people’s lives are getting better now that wages are rising, more jobs are being created, employers are offering more benefits, and more people are starting their own businesses.
The unemployment rate for women is just 3.8 percent; for Hispanics, it’s 4.4 percent; and 6.6 percent for African-Americans. Those are the lowest rates in decades. Wages rose 3.1 percent over the past year, which is the fastest pace of growth in a decade. Hundreds of thousands of workers who had previously given up on finding a job are now coming back into the labor market. No wonder consumer confidence remains at a strong 54 percent.
Behind these statistics lie millions of stories of real people whose lives are getting better day by day. Not only do more people have more money in their pockets, so are able to take an overdue vacation or, fix the roof, but they also get to enjoy the tremendous feeling of optimism that comes with feeling that they are on the road to better times, that they are contributing to their communities and are needed by their employers, as well as by their families.
This doesn’t mean that people are satisfied with the direction of our country. People remain deeply troubled by our vitriolic political discourse and with leaders who seem more interested in scoring political points than finding common ground. People are tired of the increasing coarseness, which may be exemplified by those raging on twitter, but spills into the media, our communities and homes.
Yet the march isn’t protesting these worst angels of our nature. Rather, it seems to be another example of it. The women leading the march talk a lot about their desire for equality and inclusivity, but sadly too often fail to practice what they preach. In fact, around the country, individual Women’s March chapters have been canceling their events and individual members have been expressing disappointment with the march’s leadership, which seemed reluctant to denounce virulently anti-Semitic comments made by Louis Farrakhan and has been shown to have had a problem with antisemitism since its beginning.
Today, the Women’s March has clarified its position and finally added Jewish women to the long list of identity groups that they claim to want to defend. They’ve also posted a lengthy position statement describing the policies and agenda that they will officially march to support, which show that this isn’t really a “women’s” march, but rather a rally to support a far-left progressive agenda of more expansive government regulation and redistribution.
Millions of women who read the details of this agenda will conclude that this march isn’t for them.
Even women who support the march’s policy agenda may not be comfortable with the rhetoric of the Women’s March, which paints our country as overwhelmingly sexist, overlooking the progress we have made and the opportunities that we have.
That’s why other women are joining a more inclusive effort, called March for ALL Women, to reject the Women’s March’s divisive rhetoric.
These women recognize that — while America is an imperfect place and more progress needs to be made to eradicate sexism and violence against women — we remain a country of tremendous promise. We aren’t a nation divided between two competing sexes. Men are our partners in making better a future, and women want their sons, husbands, brothers, fathers and friends to have good opportunities, just as they wish that for the women in their lives.
Most women also don’t see people with different political views as enemies. Most want respectful debates about the paths forward for our country. They know that begins with each of us, listening to those with different views and treating each other with respect. That doesn’t begin with another angry march or profanity-filled protest.
Some women may decide to march in Washington, but they aren’t marching for me.