The women’s march on Washington on Saturday garnered a great deal of media attention, but the speeches that were given do not seem likely to persuade those who are not true-blue progressives. The march featured celebrity polemics worthy of Occupy Wall Street.
We present below a list of those that made the worst points, in ascending order.
Actress America Ferrera kicked things off around 10 a.m. with a speech making the case that she and the assembled protesters constituted the real America:
“The president is not America,” she said. “His Cabinet is not America. Congress is not America. We are America. And we are here to stay.”
While no one claims that the president, his Cabinet, and Congress are in fact, “America,” the president and the Congress (which includes many progressives presumably more congenial to Ferrera’s world view) are duly elected officials, chosen in accordance with our constitutional system. In that sense, they do represent “America” — in the only way that counts in our democratic republic. Ferrera’s claim to speak for the majority is especially rich given that the women’s march peddled an array of far-left causes that most Americans do not support, from government-funded abortion to increased mass immigration to the cause of Palestinians against Israel.
No. 4: Madonna
This speech described the 2016 election in near-apocalyptic terms:
Our refusal as women to accept this new age of tyranny, where not just women are in danger but all marginalized people, where being uniquely different might truly be considered a crime. It took this horrific moment of darkness to wake us the f*** up. [cheers].
Her attempt to offend by saying “f*** you” to the haters felt contrived:
Her closing “We choose love” chant was low-energy, and even her now-famous line musing about how she wanted to “blow up the White House” was really part of a soft appeal for people to “choose love.”
No. 3 Cecile Richards
Planned Parenthood’s president Cecile Richards may have shown more composure than Madonna, but she espoused a philosophy more troubling than the pop-star’s profane rabble-rousing:
We are here today to thank generations of organizers, and troublemakers, and hell-raisers, who formed secret sisterhoods, who opened Planned Parenthood health centers in their communities and demanded the right to control their own bodies.
Not welcome in the sisterhood: pro-life women, who were purged from the march. In that setting, since Richards and her ilk had demanded support for abortion as a precondition of belonging to the community of women, no one was there to offer a narrative to compete with hers:
For the majority of people in this country, Planned Parenthood is not part of the problem, we’re the solution!
She finished by appropriating a list of causes unrelated to Planned Parenthood — clean air and water, immigration, the minimum wage — but that was nothing compared with the ramblings of the next speaker on our list.
No. 2: Angela Davis
No one illustrated the absurdity of the conceit that the women’s march was an inclusive and mainstream gathering better than Angela Davis. A leader of the Communist Party USA, Davis’s repugnant history has included twice running on the Communist Party ticket, denying Czech prisoners’ requests for her to denounce the Soviet jailing of dissidents, and supporting cult-leader Jim Jones. In her remarks Saturday, she went through a list of every social-justice cause she could think of:
The struggle to save the planet, to stop climate change, to guarantee the accessibility of water from the lands of the Standing Rock Sioux, to Flint, Michigan, to the West Bank and Gaza. The struggle to save our flora and fauna, to save the air — this is ground zero of the struggle for social justice.
This is a women’s march and this women’s march represents the promise of feminism as against the pernicious powers of state violence. And inclusive and intersectional feminism that calls upon all of us to join the resistance to racism, to Islamophobia, to anti-Semitism, to misogyny, to capitalist exploitation.
Her speech went on to include everything from a defense of cop-killers and terrorists to a denunciation of gentrification, with Donald Trump mentioned only once, as the symbolic enemy of those causes.
No. 1: Ashley Judd
Using a poem from a “nasty woman” in Tennessee as a starting point, Ashley Judd’s speech was one part stream of consciousness, one part rehearsed diatribe, which sounds like a contradiction until you watch her in action. She covered the usual extremist tropes — including a direct comparison of Trump to Hitler — yet also veered into numerous other subjects including slavery, the use of tampons, and an alleged GOP plot to push LGBT “electro-conversion.”
It is worth a watch for anyone interested in activism that verges on surrealist comedy, and the conclusion is especially exhilarating and perplexing:
Our pussies ain’t for grabbin’. They are for reminding you that our walls are stronger than America’s ever will be — our pussies are for our pleasure, they are for birthing new generations of filthy, vulgar, nasty, proud — Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Sikh, you name it — for new generations for nasty women — so if you, a nasty woman or you love one who is, let me her you say, “Hell, yeah! Hell, yeah! Hell, yeah!”
This march may have owed its large numbers to opposition to Donald Trump, but it is clear that its organizers and speakers pushed an agenda far beyond opposition to any of the policies or even personal flaws of the new president. It was a ramped-up dose of far-left protest politics that used “womanhood” as a pretext to call for everything from a redefinition of the American constitutional order to resistance to capitalism.
— Paul Crookston is a Collegiate Network Fellow at National Review.