Next weekend will mark my first protest march, a sister march to the Women's March of Washington that's being organized right here in Madison. So, what am I protesting, you might ask? I've spent weeks asking myself that very same question. And if I'm going to carry a sign as I march, what should it say?
The Washington march's mission states: We stand together in solidarity with our partners and children for the protection of our rights, our safety, our health, and our families—recognizing that our vibrant and diverse communities are the strength of our country.
That is a powerful, clear statement. I agree overwhelmingly with all of it, but it's not quite quippy enough for a protest sign. But the question of what sign to carry is a superficial component of a deeper question: Why am I really marching? What has got me so pissed off that I'd give up a Saturday with my family and stand out in the cold with a bunch of other women and show the world that I'm not going to stand for this shit?
Some friends and I had a message exchange about this very question. Two women, who I met in college and I haven't seen for over 15 years (if memory serves) are coming down to Madison next Saturday, and we're all going to march together. And naturally, the question of signs came up. We're all very motivated and energized about the march, and about finally getting together again. The general feeling in our trio seems to be that it sucks beyond belief that we have to do this—that things have come to this—but we're proud to stand together and it has the delightful side effect of letting us set eyes on each other again after so long. But how to put all these complicated, fierce feelings into a single sign that I can proudly, confidently hoist above my head? I'm a writer, dammit, I can do this!
Maybe I could carry one that says:
Our Bodies Are Not Public Property
Because I certainly believe that.
Or one that says:
Donald Trump Is Not My President
Because that feels damn right too.
Just one that reads,
Doesn't feel punchy enough.
I've seen signs that say:
The Most Violent Element in Society is Ignorance
That's a good one.
I love Carrie Fisher's words,
Take Your Broken Heart
And Make It Into Art
But I lack the serene confidence of Meryl Streep.
My favorite just might be
Girls Just Wanna Have FunDamental Rights
But that seems too cute for how angry I am.
I began writing this blog post mainly to figure out my feelings on this issue, and to come to some sort of a decision. (So thank you if you've stuck with me this far on my little self-therapy journey.) But I now realize that no single sign can express all the things I'm angry about. And yes, I'm a writer, but I tend toward the wordy side of things. I love a well-placed adverb or two. (Shh. Don't tell Stephen "The Road to Hell is Paved with Adverbs" King.)
There is no perfect sign for me. I joked to my friends that I should carry a sign that says:
Too Pissed Off to Fit All My Feelings On This Stupid Sign
So instead of carrying my message overhead, I will muster all my nasty womanhood, put my fiercest face forward, and follow in the footsteps of Bob Marley.
I will get up, I will stand up. I will stand up for my rights and I won't give up the fight. Care to join me?