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Women most influential in 2017

One year ago, Donald Trump became our president. The day after that momentous event, women by the hundreds of thousands assembled to march in mass protest.

They sang, laughed, talked and shared their elation and sorrows right there in the nation's capital. Marchers in 161 other U.S. cities and towns, and 81 other countries, joined their protest. With one voice, they announced their opposition to the new president's implied and stated goals. They also denounced his obvious delight in bullying and exploiting others. Whether it was financial, emotional or sexual exploitation, he appeared to enjoy it all, while also easily dismissing the harm done to his victims.

With the infamous Access Hollywood tape in mind, the women and girls wore pink hand-knitted hats with pointed "pussy cat" ears. By that clever gritty gesture, they told him and the world what they thought of his bragging about his history of degrading sexual assaults.

The capital marchers include people of all colors, sexes and ages. It was exceedingly clear that this march was an exuberant celebration of the power and determination of the "weaker sex." Male support was welcome. Male domination and control were not.

It should have surprised no one when, a few months later, women again took courage and began speaking out about demeaning, predatory and harassing behavior they had experienced in their lives, much of it at the hands of men with the power to silence, slander, intimidate or simply fire them.

Many famous people were in the news, both as victims and perpetrators of sexual mistreatment. While an entire culture of arrogant degradation of women was uncovered at Fox News, it was clear that perpetration of debasement was cruelty that had no exclusive political, racial or media identity.

Thus was spawned the #MeToo movement, as more women stood bravely and spoke through the pain of their own abuse and demeaning harassment. To date, this sad tale has primarily featured white collar and professional people. The extent of sexual intimidation and exploitation among less privileged working women, including women of color, remains to be seen.

As we watched and listened, we realized this was all about disrespect, abuse of power and attempts to dominate and exploit. Issues of power and control are plain as day. The inevitable consequences for violations of spirit are obvious. We came to understand that the Women's March of 2017, in its call for respect and justice, is closely related to the Black Lives Matter and the Indigenous Rising movements.

When I reflect on their courage, leadership and unwavering commitment to justice and freedom from oppression for all citizens, I am filled with admiration. Seeing so many women run for elective offices renews my hope for more decent government, and I find it entirely fitting that Time magazine chose "women" for its most influential person of the year award.

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