This is a guest post by Paul Hsieh.
Yesterday I went with a couple of friends to the Women’s March on Denver, where crowds reached around 100,000 people. The march was one of over 600 “sister marches” to coincide with the march in Washington, DC, and overall these marches drew around 5 million people worldwide.
The march was organized to highlight several themes, including freedom for “biological and reproductive health,” equality “regardless of gender, gender identification, ethnicity, racial heritage, disability, religion, age, sexual orientation and/or socioeconomic status,” and an overall support for “social justice, human rights and equality.”
As an advocate of limited government, individual rights, and economic liberty, I knew I would agree with some ideas expressed but disagree with others. And I don’t normally enjoy attending large crowd events. But I wanted to watch and learn what ideas and concerns were on the marchers’ minds, support some friends who would be there, and get a close-up view of a major news event.
Overall, the crowd was peaceful, friendly, and upbeat. I saw people with signs expressing ideas I fully support (e.g., women’s right to an abortion), others I disagree with (e.g., government-run health care), and others where my opinion is mixed.
My favorite sign featured the Thucydides quote, “Of all manifestations of power, restraint impresses men the most.”
As I expected, there were multiple signs promoting freedom around reproductive rights.
There were also calls for reproductive health care as an entitlement, as well as broader calls for health care as an entitlement (positions I don’t support.)
I’m not a supporter of ObamaCare, but I did appreciate this woman’s costume featuring breast pumps.
Countless signs promoted broader themes favored by the political left, including “Black Lives Matter,” immigration, environmental issues, public funding for arts and education, “intersectional feminism,” “privilege,” etc.
Many clever or humorous signs caught my eye, including one that read, “Melania, blink twice if you need help,” and one that quoted George Takei, “Tinkle, tinkle, little czar. Putin put you where you are.”
Overall, the crowd was full of positive energy. After the march, I saw many comments on social media from participants celebrating the fact that they felt energized, enthused, and empowered. I didn’t agree with every viewpoint expressed. But I’m enormously grateful to live in a country where people enjoy the freedom to express their ideas in a peaceful fashion.
I also noted a near-complete absence of signs discussing areas where I think the new administration will be very dangerous, such as free speech, the surveillance state, and economic protectionism. But given the mission statement of the Denver Women’s March, I’m not surprised these issues received minimal attention.
If the march in Denver was representative of the marches in DC and other cities, there will be an enormous amount of popular pushback against President Trump. Opponents of the President’s agenda should take heart. Supporters of his agenda should take heed.
Paul Hsieh, MD, is a cofounder of Freedom and Individual Rights in Medicine and a contributor to Forbes.
Photographs by Paul Hsieh
Thanks Paul for the onsite reporting. It was refreshing to hear your analysis versus the Fox shouting and the CNN idolizing.