It’s been a crazy few months for the American people. We have been graced with the presence that is President Donald J. Trump. I use the word graced lightly, because in truth, we have just succumbed to the turmoil that we didn’t anticipate.
Many of us were hoping for a brighter future when it came to Election 2016. Many were hoping that when January 20, 2017 came around, we would hear an inaugural speech from the first female president, overlooking Capitol Hill. Many were hoping to see someone our mothers, sisters and daughters could aspire to be one day. What we got was a man who, for all intents and purposes, is bigoted, armed with a multi-billion dollar company (or so he says) and conservative backing, lamenting about how our country has fallen into the gutter and that from now on it’s “America first.”
After reading the full transcript of his inauguration speech, I had many thoughts. I’ll be honest—he did make some interesting, yet controversial points. He discussed the state of the middle class and that the U.S. needs to give jobs back to the Americans. He talked about America winning again, a lá Charlie Sheen in 2011. He vowed that “every decision… will be made to benefit American workers and American families.” Despite all of this, I can’t look at the man and see him as my President.
There’s something alarming to me that we as a country allow him to represent us, in all issues—in monetary issues, in foreign issues, in women’s issues. That one irks me the most. Women’s issues are a hot-button topic for me. Having been raised by a mother (who, by the way, is Canadian) who instilled in me that a woman’s choices are hers alone, I take a look at our President and my stomach immediately starts to churn. How can we sit back and allow someone who is so out of touch with how women think and operate dictate how we deal with abortion and birth control, amongst other issues? How can we embrace him as our nation’s leader?
I watched as many cities around the world, including our own lovely New York City, had a Women’s March, in solidarity with women’s rights, which includes the right for a woman to decide how she deals with her body. I wish I could have stood right beside them, fighting for the same cause, but these marches were held on Shabbat. Our dear Trump Administration didn’t so much as glance at the protest, even when it was happening right outside the front doors of the White House! What does this say for women under this presidency? Are we going to go backwards in policies, in our standing? Are we going to lose what rights we have and have to fight for them again?
I think of one of the opening scenes from the 1964 film Mary Poppins. The mother, clearly a feminist for her day, is preparing to leave her home for a protest with her fellow suffragettes. She laments in the song “Sister Suffragette” that women are “clearly soldiers in petticoats,” looking to gain equal rights. Though this movie is over 50-years-old, the message is the same. We need to fight for what’s right, not just as women, but as a nation. President Trump needs to be held accountable for what the disgusting things he uttered on the 2005 Access Hollywood tape. By letting Trump take over our country, we essentially give over our rights and everything the United States worked so hard for in the past century.
So what should we expect from Trump over the next four years? I truly don’t know. I hope that Supreme Court cases that help women, like Roe vs. Wade, don’t get overturned. I hope that we don’t have to worry about the prices for birth control—which aren’t just used for protection—flying through the roof. I hope that President Trump and his administration understand that women are an integral part of these United States of America. Without them, we physically wouldn’t be here. I hope that when Donald Trump wakes up in the morning, makes his cup of coffee and looks out the window of the Oval Office, he realizes that women aren’t going anywhere. We can, and we will, fight for what is right. We will “rise up,” if you want to quote the hit Broadway show Hamilton. I think my thoughts are said best by the end of the song “Sister Suffragette”:
“Our daughter’s daughters will adore us
And they’ll sing in grateful chorus
Well done, Sister Suffragette!”
So thank you, Donald Trump, for not breaking down my feminist ideologies. Thank you for instilling and reinforcing them to an even greater degree than they already were. I hope that by the time you leave office, you will not only learn how important feminism is, but how together, we can learn to “make America great again.”