May 20 • 12:07 PM
Hundreds of thousands of marchers on Pennsylvania Avenue, and not a body part to be found in this and many other photos. photo by Catherine Minolli.

February 01, 2017
I had no intention of writing about my experience a couple of weekends ago until I read the letters to the editor in last week's paper. I read them at the same time everyone else did because I was off last Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

David Naeyaert's characterization of the Women's March on Washington and blaming President Barack Obama for eroding the morals of our country left me scratching my head. I'm truly perplexed, and deeply saddened by his assertions. From one who was there, I can say his opinions about the event had to be shaped by whatever news outlets he gravitated toward; or else all the news outlets, if they say they were reporting "the truth," as Dave characterized it, were doing what they've been accused of doing by our current president. Skewing the facts. Either way, it adds to the divide, and discredits people of my gender when it comes to effecting change in a positive, compassionate and empathetic way.

Dave's not the first one to assert that everyone at the march in D.C. was donned in some sort of feminine body part costume; nor the only one who pointed out to me Madonna's choice to use vulgar language and to say violent things.

With regard to the former, yes, there were some protesters who wore some very creative outfits. Sometimes you have to get really creative in order to be seen and heard. They were definitely in the minority, but also drew a lot of attention because of their costume choice. No surprise there. As for the latter, I don't know why anyone would be surprised, either. Madonna has always been controversial, and has frequently bucked convention with regard to decorum and taste. It's unfortunate, but not shocking, that by virtue of her celebrity alone, her voice is being focused on. Her voice was not a majority voice in D.C. Far from it.

Walking down the city streets toward our nation's capitol, I saw signs bearing quotes from Martin Luther King and Mahatma Ghandi posted in front of the quaint, historic townhouses we passed by.

I saw families on their steps smiling and waving, offering kind words of support. Many noted that they've never, ever seen so many people in their city at one time. Ever.

I saw fathers with their young daughters on their shoulders. Mothers and their young sons walking hand-in-hand. Husbands with signs that said "I march for my mother, my grandmother, my aunts, my wife, my sisters, my daughters..."

Grandmothers with walkers and canes. Women in wheelchairs carrying signs that said "Make America Kind Again," and "Women's Rights are Human Rights," and "Love Thy Neighbor," and "Peace" and "Be Kinder Than Necessary," and "Love Trumps Hate," and "Community, Acceptance, Respect, Equality," and the word "Intolerance" with a circle and slash drawn through it, and "Women Care" and "Stop Undermining the Freedom and Independence of the Press." Oh, and there were American flags everywhere. Lots of people carrying American flags.

We marched to chants like "Show me what democracy looks like," which we answered with "This is what democracy looks like..." This is the Women's March on Washington, D.C. that I attended; that I took part in; that I am a proud, peaceful participant. If this is proof of the eroding moral fabric of our country, the cloth must be very, very strong indeed.

Everyone's entitled to their own opinion. That's the beauty of this democracy thing. But for anyone to take one tiny slice of the overwhelmingly positive, uplifting and loving event and try to claim it was nasty, vulgar and degrading is skewing the facts. I know. I was there, and I have the pictures to prove it.

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Catherine Minolli is Managing Editor of the Tri-City Times. She began as a freelance writer with the Times in 1994. She enjoys the country life, including raising ducks and chickens.
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