Why would a 71-year-old woman travel all the way to Washington D.C. in the middle of winter to participate in a political march?
For Cookeville’s Vicki Love, who confessed that she’s claustrophobic and hates crowds, the January 21 Women’s March was too important to miss. “Over the past year or so, I’ve witnessed an assault not just on women’s rights but also a general disrespect toward women by certain elected officials and some of the candidates running for office, including our newly elected President,” she told me. “They need to understand that the things they’ve said and done that deprecate women are not okay. That’s why, for the first time in my life, I participated in a political demonstration.”
Four other folks from this area—Margie Brock, Carol Krause, Lisa Avrit, and her dad Dan Dodson–traveled to the nation’s capital with Vicki. “I want to emphasize that, although this gathering was called a ‘Women’s March,’ lots and lots of men, including Dan, participated,” Vickie said. “One of the most impressive things I witnessed that day was a chorus of male voices chanting HER BODY, HER CHOICE! over and over again.”
The group rented rooms at the Ramada Inn in Quantico, Virginia in hopes of avoiding throngs of people the night before the march. They planned to hop on the subway on Saturday morning and breeze into Washington, D.C. Wrong. “The line to board the Metro near our hotel was at least a mile long,” Vicki told me. “It took us two hours just to get into the station. But the people working there were wonderful, very polite and very apologetic about the delays. Metro officials reported that 850,000 people rode the D.C. trains that day, which broke the record.”
Was there a lot of complaining? “Absolutely not,” Vicki said. “I never heard one person griping about long lines or anything else that day. People were friendly and respectful and it was so gratifying to see so many people of one mind. Near the end of the march, Margie chatted with some young women who expressed their gratitude to our generation for showing how important it is, when we see things that need changing, to do something about it.”
So what’s next for those who marched and those who supported them from back home? “This experience made me realize that a lot of us, including me, have grown lazy and taken our freedom for granted,” Vicki said. “We need to get back to teaching civics in our schools and to keeping a close eye on what our elected officials are doing. This march wasn’t about being a Republican or a Democrat. It was about realizing there’s lots of work that needs doing to steer our country in the right direction.”
(February 12, 2017)