It was between dinner and dessert that my devoutly Catholic mother-in-law announced that she supported a woman’s right to get an abortion. That being uncontroversial, and the silence at the table otherwise being awkward, I asked the obvious question designed to evoke her fury: So, you’re no longer Catholic?
And, as expected, she reacted. “Of course I’m still Catholic. I just disagree about abortion.” I had her. She wanted to remain a member of her tribe while disputing a number of fundamental tenets, both about abortion as well as papal infallibility. “Sorry,” I replied, “but you don’t get to be a Catholic if you reject the beliefs of the religion.” Maybe she could be Catholic-lite, or a cultural Catholic, but what she couldn’t be was Catholic. Religions aren’t the sort of thing where you get to pick and choose which beliefs you prefer. You believe or not. If not, then you may well be right, but you’re no longer a member of the religion.
When the Women’s March®* was founded, and the white women were replaced, there was an abundance of warm feelings. Unity was the word offered to express how the issues for which the march was formed, and so it wormed its way into the mission statement that few read and fewer still cared about.
Women wanted to march. They marched for their own reasons, their own causes, their own feelings. Some marchers had specific issues. Some had amorphous ones. Few seemed to give any thought to why anyone else was marching, or why the organizers, who had yet to vote themselves paychecks,
created took over the march.
Today is supposed to be the Women’s March for 2019, and there’s a problem. The problem’s name is Tamika Mallory, and her “leadership” of the national Women’s March has compelled many local chapters to dissociate themselves with her. The problem isn’t that Mallory isn’t smart or dedicated. She’s both. The problem is that Mallory is a Nation of Islam supporter, supports the Palestinians and refuses to disavow either Louis Farrakhan or the eradication of Israel.
In an excerpt released Thursday by “Firing Line,” Mallory tried to explain her position to host Margaret Hoover, saying that “the Palestinians are native to the land.”
“There are people who have a number of sort of ideologies around why the Jewish people feel this should be their land,” she said. “I’m not Jewish. So for me to speak to that is not fair.”
Hoover pointed out that Mallory also is not Palestinian.
“Because I’m speaking of the people who we know are being brutally opposed in this moment,” Mallory answered. “That’s just the reality.”
Silly people will point out that Mallory is unknowledgeable, ahistorical, in her simplistic grasp of the problem. One can take issue with specific acts by Israel against the Palestinians, but that’s not what Mallory does.
Then Hoover asked whether she thinks Israel has the right to exist.
“I have said many times that I feel everyone has a right to exist,” Mallory said. “I just don’t feel that anyone has a right to exist at the disposal of another group.”
So Mallory isn’t good with the laws of physics, either? Not at all. She gets it, but she’s trying desperately to wiggle out of being forced to say the words. She did the same when asked to disavow Farrakhan.
Mallory expressed similar exasperation in an interview earlier this week on The View where, after being pressed by Meghan McCain, she would not condemn Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, who has called Jews “termites” and praised Adolf Hitler.
The Women’s March isn’t exactly a religion, and certainly Mallory isn’t the Pope. But the Women’s March® has a statement that makes certain choices, wrapped up in similarly fuzzy words as Mallory’s attempt to slough off her position to avoid offense. It is the language of social justice, that there good identities and bad. In this case, Palestinians are good.
In the minds of shoddy thinkers, this doesn’t mean that Jews are bad, but that Palestinians will be denied their rightful homeland as long as Israel exists. Mallory doesn’t want to say aloud that she’s all in favor of the eradication of Israel, as that’s not the purpose but the consequence. Yet, there is no other way the Palestinians can prevail but for Israel to be gone.
What’s this got to do with women? With feminism? With social justice? That’s in the head of the marchers, each of whom comes to the march for their own reasons with their own set of beliefs. They may align with Mallory’s or not. They may have specific issues or general issues. They may include the full panoply of social justice choices, from supporting transgender women to hating them for trying to sneak into the feminist tent when they lack the experience of growing up female. Who knows?
But the Women’s March® is Mallory’s religion. It’s Palestinian Linda Sarsour’s, who has miraculously escaped scrutiny of late. You can march for whatever reasons you want to believe, and you can pretend that’s the reason for the march because they’re your reasons, and who would possibly care about anything beyond what you believe, but it’s not your March. You’re a bit player in a bigger production, a huge and highly profitable show for which you’re getting paid bupkis.
Tamika Mallory is right about the message of the Women’s March®, not because anyone else (besides Sarsour and Bill Bland) agrees, but because it’s their March and you’re enabling it by showing up, even if your message has nothing to do with theirs.
Bang the drum. Hold a sign. Yell a slogan. You’re entitled to march for whatever reason moves you, but it all inures to Mallory’s benefit because this is her March. As long as it’s her March, she’s absolutely right about why it’s happening, what the message is, and these efforts to get her to say aloud the obvious miss the point. Disagree her faith all you want, but as long as you march, she calls the tune.
*As the New York Times reports, a trademark for the Women’s March was filed to prevent others from using the name. This is huge business, and one has to protect one’s revenue stream.