Photo: Kerry Clare
On November 8, 2016, I baked a Hillary Rodham Clinton victory cake, and that night, as I tucked my eldest daughter into bed, I told her, “One day you might have a daughter and she’ll never believe that you lived during a time when a woman had never been president in the United States.” I was so confident that goodness and righteousness would prevail even after an election that had been so fractious and ugly that I gave both my girls (ages seven and three) every reason to expect that they’d wake up to feminism’s sweetest win. But in the morning, I had to hold my eldest while she cried and I lied and told her everything was going to be okay.
That was the morning my husband said to me, “You know, we’re going to have to change things.” The stakes were too high. No longer would politics be something we witnessed from the sidelines. As individuals and as a family, we stand for things—now is the time we actually have to do so, literally, holding placards even. Because it occurs to me that I’m nearly 40, and I’ve been waiting years for the grown-ups to save the world. One day my daughters will ask what I did to save the world for them, and I don’t want to tell them, “Nothing.” I don’t want them to ever think they’re too young to start standing up for what they believe in either.
And so this is why on Saturday, my daughters, my husband and I will be attending the Women’s March in Toronto, in solidarity with the Women’s March in Washington and in cities across North America. It’s the only way I can think of to take responsibility for my daughter’s abject disappointment the day after election day.
My three-year-old will be holding a sign that says, “Seriously?” which is her favourite expression, and entirely fitting for the times we live in. And I will be carrying a sign that reads, “My Body My Choice,” because reproductive choice is the foundation of my feminism. It was access to abortion that allowed me to become a mother when the time was right, and it is because I am a mother that I’m going to fight like hell to ensure my daughters have the same reproductive choices that I did—freedoms that plenty of people in power even here in Canada seem intent on dismantling.
I know that marching doesn’t immediately translate into much. Donald Trump will still be the president and we’re not US citizens, but at this moment in time it just feels essential to stand up and be counted as a Canadian who cherishes our freedom and this country’s progressive ideals. I am also fully aware that we still have a long way to go before those ideals become a reality for all Canadians.
I realize this is a long game, and to seasoned activists I probably sound like someone who resolves in January to start working out. But I hope they will welcome me anyway, and my family too. And I think it will be a solace for all of us here in Toronto, and in cities all over the world, to know how stunningly not alone we are in all of this.
Kerry Clare’s debut novel, Mitzi Bytes, will be published by HarperCollins on March 14, 2017. She writes about books and reading at PickleMeThis.com.