Fight for rights is a long, hard road
The Eastern Panhandle was well represented at the Women’s March from #NRA2DOJ rally in Washington, D.C. on July 15. The rally capped two days of protests against an incendiary recruiting ad produced by the National Rifle Association that was released several weeks ago beginning with an 18-mile march in 95-degree heat from the NRA’s headquarters in Fairfax to the steps of the Department of Justice in Washington.
Widely recognized as one of the most deep-pocketed of corporate kingmakers in the U.S. political theater, the NRA spent over $50-million buying influence among Republican candidates during the 2016 election alone, 60 percent of that on the Donald Trump campaign. Through massacres, assassination attempts and some 33,000 other annual gun-related deaths in the U.S., the NRA has steadfastly protected and defended the profits of gun manufacturers and sellers. The recent ad uses a series of startling visuals blurbs and buzz-phrases to falsely portray Trump policy protesters as violent and unlawful, and exhorts prospective members to join the NRA in responding with “a clenched fist.”
In fact, the Jan. 21 Women’s March on Washington set the tone for the hundreds of protests that have taken place worldwide since Trump’s inauguration without a single arrest for unruly behavior. Tamika Mallory, Linda Sarsour and Bob Bland-all executive level members of the national Women’s March organization-joined other speakers at the July 15 rally in urging peaceful and non-violent resistance against the NRA’s financial sway on American politics.
Four NRA-supporting hecklers staged a largely unnoticed counter-protest in the median of Pennsylvania Avenue during the course of the rally.
“We are not against the Second Amendment,” Sarsour said from the stage, directing her comments toward the counter-protesters. “We are not here to take people’s guns away from them. We are here to say that we stand for responsible gun laws that keep guns out of the hands of the people who should not have them.”
Members of the Women’s March Eastern Panhandle chapter, the Vigilance activist group and Jefferson County Democratic Association were present at the July 15 event. While the protesters chalked the day up as a success, they also acknowledged the long road ahead. At the event’s conclusion, one of the attendees was seen tugging up a shirt sleeve and remarking that she was developing a “marcher’s tan” from the outdoor protests and rallies she had participated in since Trump assumed the Oval Office.
Daniel A. Harris