Sunday, April 21, 2019
Women’s March-‘Feminism is a Radical Idea’
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Rachel Lee marched “to spread some love.”
 
Sunday, January 20, 2019
 

STORY AND PHOTOS BY KAREN BOSSICK

Linda McMahon donned a Viking helmet she’d found at the Gold Mine. She pulled fringed leather gloves beaded with the flag of Denmark reflecting her heritage over her hands. Then she took up a shield emblazoned with the words “Warrior for the Truth” and slipped out on to the streets of downtown Ketchum.

“Love not hate! Make America great!” she chanted in unison with others as they walked up one side of Main Street and down the other Saturday morning.

McMahon was one of more than 200 men, women and children who turned out for the third annual Women’s March in Ketchum.

 
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While Roxanne Jensen and Nancy Kennette took note of the government shut down, there was not as much reference to the four-week shutdown as you might have thought.
 

“I didn’t march in the first two, damn it, so I decided I needed to get involved this year and stand up for things like women’s equality and equal pay,” she said. “What we need is people telling the truth.”

The first Women’s March held the day after President Trump’s inauguration in 2017 boasted the largest  protest in United States history with more than a half-million women standing wall-to-wall in Washington, D.C., and several hundred taking part in Ketchum.

This year’s marches were smaller, in part due to treacherous snowstorms across the United States and charges of anti-Semitism surrounding one of the leaders of the Washington, D.C. march. But, still, they took place even in places like London and Berlin, with marchers carrying signs asking “Ugh, where do I even start?!” and “Real men are feminists.”

While the marches may have been smaller, they were every bit as spirited, with the crowd celebrating an unprecedented number of women elected to the U.S. Senate and House with the help of women who became politically active following the 2017 march.

 
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Karen Kjesbo came from Stanley to wave her “Women are Perfect” sign.
 

Women also made gains in the Idaho legislature, noted Michelle Stennett, the Senate Minority Leader.

But, she cautioned, “It took a team to get us elected and it will continue to take a team to insist on good health care and equal representation under the law for everyone.”

Noting that Monday is Martin Luther King Day, she added a quote from the slain Civil Rights leader: “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”

Former Divinity school scholar Sarah Sentilles told the crowd that “feminism is the radical idea that women are people, that consent matters, that women should get equal pay for their work and that  maybe, just maybe, a woman can be president.”

 
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Susie Werner was still marching three years after the first march.
 

She challenged the crowd: Whether you’re sitting in a board room or on the ski slopes, ask yourself who’s missing. “Does everyone look like you? And how can you change that if that’s the case?”

Nilab Mohammad Mousa recounted how her mother led her four children out of Afghanistan to escape the war. They went to Pakistan, then Moscow, finally coming to Idaho. Her mother has worked as a caregiver here, treating every person she has cared for like family, Mousa said. And Nilab attended Boise State University where she met her husband.

“That would not have been possible if Idaho had been closed to a mother looking for shelter for her children,” she said.

Amy Aranda, a student at Wood River High School, recounted how she had volunteered to register voters at Albertson’s this past year when a woman told her, “You don’t belong here. Go back where you come from.”

 
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Mia Edsell led the crowd in ye olde protest songs, such as “This Land Is Your Land.”
 

“I am a person of color but I am a U.S. citizen,” she said. “I have learned not to be ashamed of my stories. I have learned that my vulnerability is not a sign of weakness but courage.”

“Give us an opportunity to rise above expectations and show our real worth,” pleaded her fellow high school classmate Melissa Gonzalez.

Eric Toshalis told the crowd that he was struck by the vulnerability of his five-month-old daughter, her vulnerability forcing him to confront how harsh and cruel the world is. He added that he can’t stand to see her hurt in any way, whether because of a delayed bottle at feeding time or because of any of the hurts she will encounter as a woman.

When leaders make decisions to purposely harm others, it takes no stretch to see how their vulnerability may one day become yours, he warned.

“Men often act tough and hoard resources to make sure we’re the threat, not the threatened,” he added. “We use religion and shame and media and jokes to shield us from feeling vulnerable. Equality feels like a weakness. But vulnerability is actually a strength.”

Ketchum resident Janet Wygle said she was marching for many reasons, not the least to stress the need for equality, not just for women but for everyone.

 “It’s a crime when 60 percent of Americans don’t have enough in their savings accounts to get them through a month without a paycheck in the event of something like the government being shut down,” she said. “We’ve got to do something about the divide between the oligarchy and the working class.”

Jeremy Fryberger tried to explain to his 5-year-old daughter Nina as they walked through the streets  that this parade was a “people-moving parade,” unlike the parades she’d seen with horses and floats. Nina was 2 when she took part in her first Women’s March, he noted.

“We’re excited to help our country to return to its most humane equal principles,” he said. “I’m concerned about many issues and challenges facing our country. But I’d like to see all policies rooted in the principle of equality and humanity for everyone, whether health care or immigration or anything else.”

Rosemary Kells wore a white hat that she bought at the Trailing of the Sheep Festival’s Sheep Dog Trials that she said reminded her of the pink pussy hats made famous by the Women’s March. Kells is a veteran marcher, having participated in her first march protesting the Vietnam War in 1970.

Her most memorable was the Hands Up (Don’t Shoot) march on behalf of Black Lives Matter in Seattle  where she laid down with others on 4th Avenue.

“I cannot believe I still have to protest this sh-t,” she said.

 

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