With any major protest march come counterprotesters. And on Saturday Jan. 20, when hundreds of Women’s March anniversary events flooded the streets in cities and towns across the country, handfuls of dissenters were reportedly there to yell back, from Seattle and Los Angeles to Dallas and Boston (and in Knoxville, Tenn., where a women’s march event is slated for Sunday, a neo-Nazi group has promised to disrupt it).
In Las Vegas, where the main national Women’s March event — a rally called Power to the Polls — is set for Sunday morning, a minor counterprotest got a jump on the action.
Conservative Women for America, an event mobilized through Facebook and hosted by the Make California Great PAC, brought a small but passionate bunch of about 100 Trump supporters (split pretty evenly between men and women, despite the name) to the grounds of the Grant Sawyer State Office Building on Saturday.
Dubbed “a day of celebration, community, and hope,” it kicked off Friday night with a meet-and-greet on the Las Vegas Strip at Trump International Hotel, and continued with a four-hour lineup of speakers — conservative radio hosts, bloggers, antiabortion activists, and aspiring politicians among them.
Those present came mostly from California and Nevada, but also from as far away as Ohio and South Carolina. Some wore red Make America Great Again caps or “Fight Sanctuary State America” T-shirts, while a few waved large American flags. A life-size cardboard cutout of Donald and Melania Trump stood just next to the speakers’ podium, blowing over at one point in the afternoon’s fierce wind.
“This is to counter their narrative,” event co-organizer Lisa Collins told Yahoo Lifestyle, referring to the Women’s March activists. When fellow organizer Carrie Fleming learned of the Power to the Polls event in Las Vegas a month ago, Collins said, “It was offensive to her… To wear pussy hats on your head is really offensive. Plus they take a lot of liberty in saying they represent all women.” She, like many who voiced their opinions at the event, did not hesitate to denounce feminism.
“I think being a feminist means pro-abortion, emasculating your men, and no room for any common ground or dialogue,” Collins, of Crestline, Calif., said. She praised Donald Trump for his stances on illegal immigration, terrorism, and the media.
Laura Zulema had come from Sacramento for the counterprotest, and she brought plenty of spirit — wearing a Wonder Woman costume and waving a massive black-white-and-blue American flag (originally meant to symbolize the sacrifices of law enforcers but appearing en masse in August during the white supremacist protests in Charlottesville).
“I feel like Wonder Woman represents everyone, but she is now misconstrued as a feminist,” Zulema said. “And a feminist is someone who is kind of hateful — they make themselves into victims instead of strengthening themselves. They are extreme, and they talk down about men.” Still, Zulema said she also planned to attend the Power to the Polls event on Sunday, and had hope that it would be more “all-inclusive” than she felt it was last year.
Victoria Muñoz of Northern California, who made the trip with a friend, agreed. “I’m not a feminist. Never have been,” she said. “I love Trump,” she added, because she wants “the wall,” and because “I pay too much taxes and I’m still poor.” Regarding Linda Sarsour, Muñoz said, referring to a Women’s March co-chair, she gave a hearty thumbs-down signal.
Sarsour, the hijab-wearing feminist who formerly headed the Arab American Association of New York, was a favorite target of criticism among many of the day’s speakers — although feminism (which one male speaker dubbed “a cancer”), pussy hats, pro-choice women, and sanctuary cities were also jabbed and booed.
Jessica Martinez of La Habra, Calif., who is running for a seat in the state’s 57th Assembly District, said she made the trip on Saturday because she is “pro-life, pro the Second Amendment, pro-jobs, and pro-working families.”
The Second Amendment held a particularly important place in the heart of another speaker, Erin Sith of San Francisco, who is rare in that she is an outspoken conservative woman and gun enthusiast who is also transgender. “My opinions don’t fall within a narrow range,” she said, noting that she had also come to Las Vegas to attend the Shot Show later this week.
And on Saturday, she appeared happy to be among like-minded individuals, noting, “As I like to say, it’s easier to come out as LGBT than it is to come out as conservative.”
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