Stop Saying Protesters Are Acting Like ‘Victims’

01/25/2017 10:01 am ET Updated Jan 25, 2017
Bonzo McGrue/Flickr

Naturally, after almost 3 million women and allies, including myself, took to the country’s streets last Saturday to remind the nation’s newly elected president that our concerns for marginalized communities must be heard, we were met with much vitriol on social media from those who disagreed.

Most of what I saw from conservatives and Trump supporters involved calling us names and saying the march was pointless as well as trying to inform these marchers that women already have totally 100 percent equal rights across the board so why are they whining?

What they fail to see, of course, is reality. The country-wide event was organized by women for women to have a platform because so often we are not given an equal opportunity to have the mic, particularly queer women and women of color. Not every issue addressed was Feminism with a capital F as a lot of people outside the fray see it, as feminism itself is a varied and intersectional ideal (or at least it should be).

The signs displayed at these marches across America depicting the carrier’s worries as well as their passions were diverse. They were funny. They were challenging. They were controversial. But guess what? So is our movement and so are the needs of so many people in this country and in this world.

That, my friends, is why we march. Not because we feel like victims.

The same people you would say are acting like victims and crybabies were also folks like the Bostonians who threw tea into the harbor as a sign of dissent. They helped launch the revolution that got you the freedom you have today as Americans.

Or the women who were force fed with tubes in prison for fighting for your right, as a woman, to vote for whoever you please, including Mr. Trump.

Or the brave young men and women who sat at lunch counters and walked the streets while getting their heads bashed in so they could do something so simple and something we take for granted every day like using a water fountain.

Were these people acting like victims? Like crybabies? Like “snowflakes?”

Not at all. They were being courageous. Protesting is what this country was built on and for. We have that right to peacefully assemble and petition the government for a redress of grievances. And you don’t get to say when is and isn’t a convenient time or place or manner. I am sure there were people who thought it was disrespectful or inconvenient when that tea was dumped into the river on December 16, 1773. And I know for sure there were people who found it bad-mannered to “break the law” by sitting at the front of the bus as a person of color in the 1950s.

But whether it’s protesting silently at a sporting event or protesting loudly among hundreds of thousands in our nation’s capital, this is our right not as liberals or conservatives or greens or independents, but as Americans. When we believe our government and our society is not treating people equally under the law, we make it known.

Do I agree with the old men who stand outside my local Planned Parenthood holding posters splattered with inaccurate photos depicting full-grown toddlers covered in blood? No. Do they have a right to be there? Yes.

Did I agree with the modern Tea Party’s message and false accusations regarding President Obama’s nationality? Hell no. Did they have a right to take to the streets as they did? Yes.

Listen, guys. We’re not going to agree on everything. But one thing we should all be able to find common ground with is our fundamental right to cause a few hours of traffic jams in order to voice our concerns.

Because it’s not inconvenient. It’s indispensable.

We’re not whining. We’re concerned about our kid’s futures.

We’re not crying. We’re standing up for what’s right.

And we’re not victims. We’re Americans.

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