I was wrong about the numbers. This event we had in Washington was far bigger than this wide-eyed boy met in 1993 for the March on Washington for Gay and Lesbian Something Something and Liberation. I’d believe the claims of a million people. Now, to business.
I’m a bit of a chant snob. (I realized – to some horror – that I was belting out some of the chants used today before some of the teen chanters at The March for Women’s Lives were born. And yet I still qualify for membership in my denomination’s young adult organization. Odd.) To review —
I know slogans are not the basis of either public policy, or an ethical theology, but I’m also aware how much internal room they can claim and never fully relinquish. (And then they drink all your beer.)
Not, the Church, Not the State, Women Will Decide Our Fate begs for a kind of anarchic separatist collectivism that is both dated and untenable in a democracy. It also obsesses about faith, and makes it awkward to make a faithful witness in what is still an abortion rights event. Recast this one as “Sisterhood is still powerful, and I think boiled tofu has a good flavor, uncontaminated by patriarchy.”
Hey, Hey, Ho, Ho, George Bush Has Got to Go is the latest revision of a slogan so tired that I’m ever repeating it (under my breath) as Hey, Hey, Ho, Ho, This Old Chant Has Got to Go. No more comment there.
Pro-Choice, Pro-Child is a strange, defensive relic of the “Having It All” school of professional/mother womahood. It should go “I live two full time jobs and I’m too tired to have to re-fight social and legal battles.” I notived it was in full blast in the zone on Pennsylvania Avenue where the counter-demonstrators were.
The one I liked, but is at risk of being done-to-death is a responsive:
Show me what democracy looks like!
This is what democracy looks like!
I’ll have to speak to why this was the most appropriate chant for the day, and, I’m glad to say, was the one most ably adopted by the younger participants.
Of course, like the whole day, it had a rhythm that would be better conveyed in a sound recording, but I don’t have that. I have pictures instead.
More commentary later. (Oh, one more thing. Why were so many of the marchers in an event for womens’ lives smoking? And young women, too. You ain’t come a long way, bay-bee, to die of a tobacco-related illness. I care about your lungs and hearts, too. Just a thought.)
A note about the pics. The first one was on Pennsylvania Avenue, near 10th Street. Then I camped out on 7th Street, and took some shorts. When I saw a large group of Unitarian Universalists, I jumped in. The rest are from the Mall.)