In a country that is politically and ideologically divided, a united voice was heard, one day after the inauguration of our new President. Donald Trump never could have imagined that his insult to Hillary Clinton during the third and final debate would be turned into a rallying cry for women all across the country. As I awoke this morning, concerned for the health of our nation, I was reminded of our true “greatness,” by patriotic women from every section of the county. I was reminded of the “sheroes,” as Hillary supporters commonly called them, that have historically been the backbone of America.
I was reminded of all the women who have been the pillars of our country. Women like Harriet Tubman and Ruby Bridges. Women like Eleanor Roosevelt and Ida B. Wells. Women who didn't go with the status quo. Women who got “nasty” and fought back. I was reminded of the well known historical giants, as well as the often forgotten heroines, that have ensured our greatness in world history.
Women are our lifeline. Women are the champions we need. We need women who refuse to accept the status quo. We need women who refuse to stand by quietly. We need women who are unafraid to stand up to the powers that be. We need women who demand equal treatment. We don't need passive women who normalize our political climate, we need the type of women that Donald Trump referred to as “nasty” women, to save us from ourselves. Women are rooted in our past and in control of our future. All across the country, women of all different races, religions, and ages came together for the biggest inaugural protest in the history of the United States – even bigger than the protests of President Nixon in 1972. All across the world “nasty” women stood together; united as one.
In the President’s inaugural address, he spoke of returning power to the people. He said:
“Today we are not merely transferring power from one administration to another, or from one party to another -- but we are transferring power from Washington, D.C. and giving it back to you, the American People.”
Less than twenty-four hours later, the American people sent a “nasty” message of power back to Washington. A rallying cry was delivered to politicians on both sides of the aisle. A rallying cry that politicians of both parties would be smart to take note of. A message was delivered. A message that is bigger than Donald Trump or his administration. A message that is bigger than the Democratic or Republican party. These “nasty” women are a reflection of an ongoing countrywide conversation. A conversation about our moral obligations and how we intend to treat each other. A conversation cemented in the historical struggle between a government by the few for a few, and a government of the people, for the people. The “nastiness” on display today is about what kind of country we want to leave for the next generation. The “nastiness” on display today is about how we want history to remember us.
Let us not forget, while men may have braved the shores of Normandy in World War II, it was women who built the machinery. It was women who provided the intelligence. It was women who flew the supplies that defeated the axis of evil. It wasn't just men that took on Hitler and Stalin, it was women who nursed the injured. It was women who led the home-front. It was women who kept our country safe and ensured that there was still a country left to fight for. It was women like Rosa Parks who led a nation out of segregation and into an integrated existence. It was women like Fanny Lou Hamer who fought for civil and racial equality. It has always been women that have been the soul and backbone of our country - today is no different. It will always be women that give our country life - literally and figuratively. Women are the champion that Barack Obama spoke of when he said "we need a champion.” Women are the conscience of a nation, that has periodically lost its moral compass. We don't just need a president, we need something to believe in, something to unite us. We need “nasty” women.
Like many “nasty” women, I have struggled with the idea of a Trump administration. I have struggled with explaining how all of this happened. I have struggled to respond to our deep divisions. I have struggled to come to grips with the message that his election sends to the world. Like many Americans, I have struggled. But as I watch mothers, daughters, sisters, and grandmothers take to the streets to demand their voices be heard, I know that our Republic will survive. I know that we all will endure.
I know this because I believe in “nasty” women. I believe in the fire of your resilience and the depth of your convictions. I believe that in 2016, a “nasty” battle was lost, but in 2017 a “nasty” war continues. Sometimes we need to be reminded of the fragility of our democracy. Sometimes we need to flirt with despair in order to appreciate our vulnerability. Of this I am sure, on January 21st, a group of “nasty” women awakened a movement. “Nasty” women made clear their intention to fight back. America heard your “nasty” message. It was a message that was delivered loud and clear. I heard you. America heard you. The world heard you.
One thing is certain, the future looks “nasty.”