The following was written for a literary journal at my college, called The Idiom. The prompt was an ekphrastic response to a picture of a baby with a “Make America Great Again” hat. I decided to write about an experience I had at the Women’s March in D.C on January 21, 2017.
The day after Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th President of the United States, a protest assembled on the door steps of Trump’s new home city. The Women’s March materialized out of anger at Donald Trump and a general injustice committed against women in the U.S. and around the world. Even though the celebration of resistance was loud and the crowed was flooded by a hue of pink, the festivities were unfortunately stained by the blood of polarity.
I use the word “blood” to describe the polarity I observed that day in D.C. because that polarity was found when the deep red “Make America Great Again” caps converged against the bright pink “Pussy hats.”. There wouldn’t have been any polarizing debates in D.C. that day if those red hats weren’t present. It’s not the fault of the red hatters, however, for that day, I saw some fault in the pink hatters.
Overall, the Women’s March was an amazing phenomenon. It was inspiring and hopeful to see so many individuals march through the streets to demand justice for women and other minorities. Even though there were positive elements of the march, I will always remember the fierce conflict between differing belief systems that I observed at the Newseum on Pennsylvania Avenue.
While I was walking down Penn Ave with some of my fellow marchers, I suddenly noticed a man on top of the Newseum waving a Trump flag out of delight of his leaders’ victory. Even though this man was being unnecessarily provocative, he nonetheless received a response that was significantly more inappropriate. Out of fury of the flag be woven, certain members of the march raised their middle fingers and yelled “F*** YOU!” Another response that I heard was, “Jump! We swear we’ll catch you.”
This response by the marchers to the Trump supporter was disrespectful and contradictory to their message of love and acceptance. Although these protesters might have been angry, they had no legitimate reason to be unkind to the Trump man. After witnessing this divisive interaction, I became very unsettled. I was more perturbed by the act of the “F*** YOU-ers” than I was by the man waving the Trump flag.
I eventually made sense of why some of the marchers acted in the manner they did towards the Trump supporter. I realized that these “F*** YOU-ers” were plagued by a disease that can be identified as a “white liberalism complex.” In the U.S., there are many white, wealthy liberal people who understand themselves to be superior to their conservative counterparts. These white, wealthy liberals consider themselves to be more kind or more “woke” than other individuals. This white, wealthy narcissistic attitude quickly leads individuals to treat other non-liberal people with a sense of disrespect or inferiority.
This “white liberalism complex” can be just as detrimental to our nation as Donald Trump can be. If this country is going to move in a direction of treating others with greater respect, we need to be more concerned about the topic of “justice for all” instead of who is more correct in a political debate. The pursuit of “justice for all” includes white liberals humbling themselves to show respect to their fellow white countrymen who voted for Trump. Many of these Trump supporters have been disenfranchised by this country’s economic system and it’s equally as oppressive for white, wealthy Americans to hate on poor, white Americans who are looking for a better way out of their destitute situation.