Last Saturday, just one day after the inauguration of President Donald Trump, hundreds of Petaluma women joined millions of others nationwide and across the globe who took to the streets in history-making marches to register their discontent with the billionaire reality TV star turned President. Petaluma women marched in cities from Washington D.C. to San Francisco to Santa Rosa to voice their opposition to the new President’s policies which they rightfully believe threaten their civil rights, their community and their country.
Many took issue with Trump’s hateful, misogynistic rhetoric, his opposition to women’s constitutionally protected right to obtain an abortion, and his bragging about being “a star” who could, without rebuke, “grab” women by their genitalia.
Others marched in opposition to Trump’s promise to deport millions of undocumented Latino immigrants, or his threat to ban members of the Muslim faith from entering the country. Some marched to express opposition to his plans, now underway, to eviscerate the Environmental Protection Agency and roll back federal policies designed to combat climate change. Still others opposed his pledge to repeal the Affordable Care Act, a move which would jeopardize the health of millions of Californians enrolled in the state’s Medi-Cal program.
Some of those marching were angry. Others were fearful. Many were joyful about the solidarity of women united in a just cause, while others simply marched to promote equality for all.
The high level of participation in the demonstrations by local women was no surprise, since the Petaluma community voted overwhelmingly for Democrat Hillary Clinton in the November election and most voters here tend to reject the more regressive policies advocated by the extreme right wing of the Republican Party which now controls both houses of Congress.
Are Petaluma’s local, state and federal representatives listening? You bet they are.
We were encouraged to see that North Coast Congressman Jared Huffman plans to be a leader in Congressional efforts to strongly resist Trump’s more destructive tendencies flowing from his dark, dystopian view of American affairs. Instead of attending Friday’s inauguration in Washington, D.C., where Trump shamefully pratted on about his bleak and disturbing vision of “American carnage,” Huffman chose to spend the day in his district hosting a day of service and engagement. Speaking before a crowd of protesters in Santa Rosa on Saturday, Huffman exhorted them to stay involved and remain vocal in resisting Trump’s retrograde nationalist dogma. “We are going to get through these next four years together,” Huffman told the crowd.
In the few days since the marches took place, and to the extreme dismay of most Petalumans, Trump has begun signing executive orders intended to codify his most dangerous policy changes, all the while continuing to make bizarre and entirely false claims that his inaugural crowd was larger than any other in American history, and that he would have won the popular vote if millions of “illegals” had not been allowed to vote. Seems truth has been the first casualty of the Trump presidency.
Against this grim backdrop, the Petaluma women who marched on Saturday included Karen Curry, who demonstrated with a half a million people in Washington D.C., and Michele Larkey, who attended the march in Santa Rosa.
Before leaving for Washington, Curry told the Argus-Courier that Trump’s election has, ironically, been a catalyst “activating people to get involved” and advocate for positive change. She’s helping lead a new local group, “Time for Action,” designed to advocate for positive change.