I’m not a Trump supporter and I went to the inauguration. I’m not an abortion supporter, and I went to the women’s march. I’m not even American, and I went to both.
So what gives?
Why I went
If you ever have the opportunity to go to an inauguration, regardless of your political leanings, I would encourage it. It’s historical. It’s epic. And it has a lot of significance for the direction of the country, and those around it.
I mean, imagine all the Americans living in 1865 that kicked themselves for not watching Vice President Andrew Johnson slur his way through his oath due to his apparent and accidental public intoxication?
I know I NEVER would’ve missed Jimmy Carter’s 1977 enormous Macy’s-like peanut balloon at his inauguration parade, and would’ve delighted at the chance to meet Chuck Norris at George’s Bush’s day of glory.
All kidding aside, inaugurations have huge historical significance. But Trump. Well, Trump’s even more so. The guy is the first President of the United States with absolutely no political or military experience. He’s a complete outsider in every way. The media was against him. The punditry was against him. And people wrote him off from the minute he announced his candidacy. Some will use this drag him down, but regardless of your feelings either way, it’s objectively significant. The hurdles and level of difficulty it is for an outsider of that degree to win any political post, let alone the President of the United States is enormous.
Not only that, but as someone whose job it is to analyze social media trends, successful recruitment techniques and effective messaging for a cause, his campaign went against the grain in every way. As friend of mine who trains political staffers said to me last week that “everything we had been teaching for years was instantly turned upside-down because on all accounts, he did everything wrong”. Trump’s campaign team had 94 people on his payroll nationwide. Hillary had 765. Trump spent only $10 million on ads (which he wrote himself). Other candidates, like Jeb Bush spent $82 million. Trump built a millions-strong email list at virtually no cost just by requiring registration from rally attendees. Other candidates spent millions acquiring candidate lists. Trump had the first female Republican presidential campaign manager and is refusing to take a salary as the leader of the free world ($400,000/ year).
Purely based on how the man won is incredibly fascinating because he did everything outside the box and his own way. And it paid off. That alone was reason enough for me to attend the inauguration of a figure who is a political phenomenon in my eyes.
Now don’t get me wrong. It’s impossible for me to fully support him given his outrageous and derogatory insults towards women, his inability to take the high road when his critics or opponents goad him, and potentially problematic policies that certainly need to be clarified and discussed at a deeper level than just “I’m building a wall because some people who come to America are rapists”. He’s rough around the edges and has no filter. It’s unbecoming, sleazy and insulting of the leader of the free world to speak in that manner. I hope as he learns the ropes, he uses one to gag himself and stop saying anymore ignorant comments.
I’d also like to remind anyone reading this on either side of the political spectrum, that this type of behavior and commentary is not unique to Trump. Let’s not forget about Democratic Senator Anthony Weiner’s unwelcomed nude photos sent to females over Twitter as well as sexual explicit conversations with underage women and Bill Clinton’s rape allegations. I am not mentioning this to try and justify Trump’s actions, but more to show that the people we elect are systemic of the society in which we live. As the most recent video by J.ournal puts it,
“Presidential candidates come from the same vulgar, sexist, violent, sex obsessed locker room society that we’ve curated. So why would it be so surprising that the cream of this crop, rises to the top?”
In politics, you can’t let perfection be the enemy of good. As my friend Jonathon Van Maren wrote in one of his recent articles, “you vote for a second-class firefighter over a first-class arsonist”. It’s not a compromise to work with candidates who are sympathetic to social conservative causes yet are still flawed human beings. It’s common sense. How else are we supposed to influence them and bring them along? You condemn the bad and encourage the good. We see this first-hand with Donald Trump and what happens when this is executed correctly:
While I don’t advocate for someone solely on the basis of one issue, there are certain issues that are “automatic disqualifiers.” Anyone who does not support human rights for all human beings, who discriminates against a class of people by supporting the termination of human life in any way, is unfit to hold any position of influence in a civilized society. It’s an automatic disqualifier. I cannot fully support Trump based on his grotesque comments. I cannot support Hillary at all because she was inherently unfit.
But then again, I’m Canadian. So it doesn’t really matter…
What happened: the inauguration
And so, an opportunity arose for me to go to the inauguration of this unique yet deeply flawed individual, and I took it. My friend and I woke up at 4am and took the empty metro downtown. Unbeknownst to us you needed tickets to get in to certain areas. We waited in one line-up, thankfully only for a few minutes, until we realized it was for ticket-holders only. So we had to walk further away from the Capitol to the peasant, I mean non-ticket holder line. It was only 5am and it took us a few minutes to walk from the beginning of the line to the end. At first glance, everything shocked me; how young everyone there was, the Trump swag that people were decked out in. The flags that looked like the opening of Colbert’s comedy show except with Trump’s face on it. The thousands upon thousands of high school and university groups that walked past us in the three hours that we waited in the line-up. The tens of thousands of cops everywhere and how there wasn’t a car in sight for miles due to all the road closures. We stood with two gentlemen from Arizona and California. They were middle aged, wearing leather jackets, and very high energy. We learned they were from the group “Bikers for Trump” along with thousands of others who rode up to Washington to protect the president-elect from potential threats issued against him in the past few weeks. They made fun of Canada. We made fun of America. We bonded making fun of Trudeau. It was everything you would expect at a Republican president’s inauguration.
When we finally got to the front of the line, we had to go through security. They took my apples, which wasn’t cool. When we finally got in the gated area, we ran to the front right away. The Capitol building stage was barely identifiable, and those on the stage looked like specs. We quickly carved out a spot in front of the jumbotron and waited. And waited. And waited.
For two hours, I listened to all the inauguration attendees around me as I was buried under my layers including my winter coat and plastic poncho. I learned what the term “snowflake” was, and realized no one ever got tired of chanting “lock her up”. A man in his underwear went past wearing only a cowboy hat and cowboy boots. People flocked to get their picture taken with him. Every so often the jumbotron would turn on, showing Trump or Pence go into the Episcopal church, come out of it, get in their car, arrive at the White House and eventually make the slow and steady drive to the hill. People cheered boisterously at the smallest sighting of that feathered mane.
From this point on, the inauguration was basically exactly how it was portrayed on TV, except that every time they showed Hillary on the screen, the boos were overwhelming. The energy after Trump’s speech was high intensity, given that he obliterated every talking point the Democrats used in their campaign against him. When he ended the speech with “we will make America great again” everyone screamed it along with him. I found it as awkward as it was entertaining when Trump basically bashed Obama and everything he had done in the past 8 years during his speech, and turned around to shake his hand directly afterwards. Oh politics.
We then made our way to the inauguration parade. There we stood in line for another 2 hours to go through the metal detectors and get searched. The bleachers and barriers were swarming with people and it started to get even colder and rainier. I stood beside a young family whose little son asked every five minutes, “is that Trump”, “is that Trump”? When his motorcade finally came through, it was extremely uneventful. I saw on the news later that evening he did get out and walk part of the way, but when he reached my end of the parade, it was just 10 black cars surrounded by hundreds of police and secret service. If Trump wasn’t inside, no one would’ve even known.
After the parade we went to the Dubliner and met up with friends who were also in DC. I got to meet Andrew Moore, a pro-life political strategist from the amazing organization the Susan B. Anthony List, which was probably the highlight of my night. They understand politics and know how to win, which is what makes our two organizations follow the same strategies and marketing. I look forward to the day when we can share in the major victories like electing a pro-life Prime Minster and passing dozens of pro-life pieces of legislation.
I took the metro home to get as much rest as I could before transforming into a pro-choice feminist the following day.
The women’s march
I knew the march had many feminist pro-choice keynote speakers, but I, like many others, believed it to be a protest against Trump’s presidency. Women were going to protest Trump’s disrespectful attitude towards our gender and demand greater from the leader of the free world. I can understand that. But what I thought the march was going to be, and what it actually was were two incredibly different things.
I went to that same metro stop the morning of the march to find a line-up outside the station and around the corner of people wearing pink cat-ears and holding signs. They weren’t signs demanding respect or showing the power and strength of women. No. They were signs mocking Trump, making fun of everything from his hair to his family. Some even had cartoon depictions of him committing sexual acts on himself. Many of them had statements like “I am a nasty women” or “p***y patrol” on them. The rest were about abortion.
To me however, this was a small sample of the number of people who were actually attending, so I made a mental note of what I saw, but proceeded to head to the march. It took me about an hour to get on an actual train, because each car was packed to the brim with rainbow signs and cat-eared females. The city wasn’t prepared for the number of people who attended the march, especially the day after the inauguration, so in a nutshell, it was a gong show. When each train would roll up, the women inside the train would scream to the people trying to get on that there was no room, and to “back the f*** off”. The people getting on would shove their way in regardless. This would cause the screaming to get louder, and the fighting more catty. I’ll never forget what a friend of mine once said in university after attending a history class on World War II, “If only women existed in the world, there would be more wars. But they would be weird”. That was visually what was happening before my very eyes. Part of me wanted to turn back and head home. But part of me needed to see the rest of the march, what the speakers would say, and what exactly the majority of women would be protesting. When there are events like this in Ontario, they are so small that I have been recognized in the past. Here, no one knew me, and I was automatically considered “one of them”. It was like stepping into a different world, where my pro-life activism and Christianity was non-existent to them. I was curious to see what it was actually like.
When I finally arrived, it was like the apocalypse. The lineups to use the scarce porta potties were hours long. It was so bad, I saw women rushing off behind the trees out of sheer necessity. I heard the screams in the distance and realized the stage must be close by. I saw only one screen, and tried to make my way to the front, which proved to be an impossible task. The crowds squishing in to see the stage were worse than any mosh pit I’ve ever been in. And I once went to a My Chemical Romance concert.
So I walked around and looked at the signs, crowded around people with megaphones, and tried to take-in as much of the messaging as I could. “Keep your rosaries off my ovaries”, “My p***y, my choice”, “my body, my choice”, “Donald Trump! Go away! Racist, sexist, anti-gay”, and “Abort Trump”. The only people with megaphones were NARAL Pro-Choice America and Planned Parenthood. Half naked women got up on the pillars and were dancing to non-existent music. On the jumbotron I could see Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards on the screen with a colleague wearing an “I heart abortion” t-shirt beside her. I realized fairly quickly this was not an event to defend the dignity of women. It was a giant abortion rally.
I mean, I knew that pro-life groups like New Wave Feminists and Students for Life of America were kicked off the list of partners for the march and were told to stay away. But I didn’t realize how deep -seated this agenda-driven event really was. I later learned the billionaire George Soros had ties to more than 50 ‘partners’ of the women’s march. The same man who has a net worth of $24.9 billion (according to Forbes), who previously had a three-year plan to overturn pro-life legislation in Ireland, throughout Latin America, Africa, Europe and Tasmania.
Anti-Trump pro-lifers were not just dropped from being an official partner of the march, they were openly and viciously attacked, harassed and spit on for attending.
The majority of the speakers talked about abortion rights, which ironically coincided with violent and bizarre statements from Madonna about “blowing up the White House” and Ashley Judd’s “feeling Hitler in the streets”.
I went home after 3 hours at the event realizing that I never wanted to step foot in that world again. It wasn’t about unity or conquering negativity, it was about divisiveness and spreading hate towards Trump, his family, pro-lifers and conservatives in general. And the majority of it was over the issue of abortion.
I do not regret going to the inauguration or the women’s march because both were learning opportunities and historically significant in different ways. Attending the inauguration taught me, as a Canadian outside of the political situation, that Americans do not hate Trump nearly as much as it’s portrayed on CNN or Jimmy Kimmel. Being in the vicinity of 3 former presidents, George Bush, Jimmy Carter and now Obama, was personally significant (especially watching Bush wrestle with his poncho).
The energy and excitement was electric, and watching first-hand how such a monumental event was planned and executed, including all the significant ceremonial proceedings was incredible. Trump’s speech was definitely one for the history books, making straightforward promises like fighting for “mothers and children trapped in poverty in our inner cities” and getting “people off of welfare and back to work, rebuilding our country with American hands and American labour”. And some were a little less straightforward, like “freeing the world from the miseries of disease”. Overall, I am glad I went, but would never go again. Being present for one inauguration is good enough for me. That is unless Rubio becomes President. But that’s for another day.
The women’s march was significant, but in a different way. It revealed how much work the pro-life movement needs to do to continue to educate people on the effects of abortion and what true feminism actually is. Abortion is a reflection that we have failed women, and have forced them to settle for less. Women are driven to abortion by a lack of resources, support and laws to protect them and their children. Instead of fixing these root problems, current legislators and “advocacy” groups like the ones who organized and attended the women’s march, tell women that abortion will empower them and free them of their problems, when all it does is leave them isolated, wounded and alone.
I find it embarrassing and shameful that the women’s march celebrated and gave a platform to people like Madonna, who spewed violence and vitriol into the crowd. She’s infamous for her lack of tolerance and mockery of people of faith, including performing while pretending to be crucified, and videos depicting her seducing Jesus. These figures do nothing to advance the respect, dignity and empowerment of women. They only force us to become more objectified, disrespected and not taken seriously.
It’s insulting to the core of who we are as women to say that we can achieve true equality by mocking others we don’t agree with, celebrating abortion, and over-sexualizing ourselves to the point that our children are wearing p***y hats. Instead of embracing this false dichotomy of the women’s march, let’s truly unite to adhere to the basic feminist principles of nonviolence, nondiscrimination and justice for all, including the unborn.