The second day of Trump’s administration has already earned a place in history. It was not because of an action taken by the brand new leader. The people who demonstrated in hundreds of cities across the 50 United States were the protagonists. It was a clamor in favor of a participatory, inclusive democracy that respects diversity and individual freedom, and it resonated from coast to coast.
The Women’s March, whose organization was set in motion a few months ago, was an adequate response to the tone set by last Friday’s inauguration ceremony.
That day was devoted to the solemn transfer of power expected in a country like ours, respectful of democracy. The incoming president does not always arrive to power thanks to the popular vote. Precisely for that reason, in this case it would have been very important for Donald Trump to keep tradition and call for unity. But he did not.
As was his style while he was a candidate, the president addressed his supporters delivering the picture of a catastrophic present that terrorized them during the campaign, and the chauvinistic solution for all domestic and global problems of putting “America first.” No vision of unity came up during his message.
The nearly one and a half million people who took to the streets on Saturday showed that, while they may be ignored within the new president’s parallel universe, their questioning of an agenda rejected by the majority of voters in November will not be silenced.
The marches demonstrated the power of unity that Trump’s opposition possesses. It is a strong sign to keep our hopes up that not all is lost and that there is much to fight for.
Immigrants need to know that they are not alone. Environmentalists, human rights advocates, social justice advocates, public education activists, union members fighting labor exploitation, religious rebels and women and men who want a society free of racism were there with them.
They will not be alone either. Immigrants will continue to march along with them on the long road that lies ahead.
The great challenge is how to channel that passion and energy into a force that has enough impact today to stop an unpopular agenda and lay the foundations or the future. The first step was taken on Saturday.