David Brooks’ Jan. 25 column “After the women’s march” fundamentally misread the recent marches.
Brooks’ claim that the marches focused on the “wrong “ issues not only ignored the importance of reproductive rights, equal pay, health care and climate change, but the marches’ wider scope, evidenced by signs and speakers, encompassing immigration, economic inequality, education, discrimination and America’s need for respect, civility and engaged residents.
He criticized the marches as “identity politics,” ignoring the marches’ core message to move outside interest groups and come together in advocacy. These criticisms reflect both misunderstanding, Brooks “alternative facts” about the march and bias. These were women’s marches; the perspectives of women shaped the articulation of issues and solutions. (Dismissing pink hats and female signs misses their importance as symbols of strength and self respect)
Although mistakenly discounting the historical impact of social movements, Brooks is right that one march will not effect change; long-term strategic action, including the “the messy practice of politics,” is required.
The marches, recognizing this, called on participants to organize, run for office and call on local, state and national officials to act. Had he chosen to join a march, Brooks would understand that these marches offered the “modern forward-looking patriotism” he wants.