Monday, July 04, 2005

'Absolutely Awesome': Bus Loads of Women Rally For Women's Rights In Nashville

Elevated from the comments:

It was absolutely awesome. I was in tears when the woman were marching from the distant side of [Legislative Plaza] to the side that we all were on. I could truly feel the power of the tribe of women. It was awesome..

Jane, thank you, thank you, thank you. 'Absolutely awesome' sums up my experience too.

Bus loads and bus loads of women, along with some extraordinary men, arrived at the state capitol yesterday to rally for women's rights and to tell Bush, Frist, Alexander and the rest of the male-dominated U.S. Senate that they can expect one hell of a fight if they attempt to put a radical anti women's rights judge on the Supreme Court.

I was on one of the buses that came straight from the Nashville NOW convention, and it was indeed an awesome experience. It was also very gratifying to find a crowd of Tennessee women and men waiting for us at Legislative Plaza.

We were white, black, hispanic, lesbian, straight, young, old, middle class, working class, poor; we were disabled and we were marathon runners. I talked with an 84-year-old woman, and I marched alongside a woman who pushed a baby carriage. The 8-month-old baby girl wore a shirt that read: "Born Feminist." (You can see scenes from the rally on CNN today.)

For me, the best part of the experience was that it was safe for so many women to be 'out' about their feminism. In my view, until a greater number of women come 'out' about their feminism, it will remain unsafe for other women to do so. That's especially true in the more conservative, or red, parts of the country. Here in Nashville, when my car has to go in the shop, I'm smart enough to remove the feminist bumper stickers. Women lose jobs for being honest about their feminist views. Little wonder that so many women who act like feminists and talk like feminists, refuse to identify themselves as feminists - at least in public. If it weren't for organizations like NOW, we'd probably all be in the 'closet.' If it weren't for organizations like NOW, we'd probably all be 'barefoot and pregnant.'

All women in this country owe a profound debt to NOW and to the larger feminist movement. You can begin to get an idea of just how big that debt is by glancing at the Feminist Chronicles.

Contrary to the many stereotypes, feminists are ordinary girls and women. Some people don't like us because we have the audacity to raise our voices and demand our rights. Obviously, the stereotypes about feminists serve a purpose. Just like those about other minority groups, they divide us and they keep countless women and extraordinary men from joining with NOW, or other feminist groups, in the never-ending fight to ensure that women's rights aren't the last damn thing on the Democratic Party's agenda.

The risk to women's rights - from abortion and birth control to economic to maternal to lesbian to health care - has never been greater. As I've noted in previous posts, women have far fewer rights in this country than do women in many other countries. We certainly can't afford to lose the ones we do have.

Our only hope of defeating Bush's right wing efforts lies with a unified mass based movement. We need to be a movement that can make it crystal clear to the Democratic Party that women's rights must be at the top of the Party's agenda. The Democratic Party needs to understand that if Bush continues to pander to his radical right-wing misogynistic base, we expect Democrats to Filbuster, filibuster, filibuster, filibuster, filibuster . . . .

Take Action: Contact your senators NOW.