Don’t Tread on Me

January 24, 2017 at 4:06 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

The Women’s March was one of the most incredible, inspiring and awesome things I’ve ever been a part of. Period.

There were hundreds of women and men waiting outside Union Station for buses when I arrived and they had been boarding and departing all day. I met up with a friend of mine and dozens of others, most of whom came prepared for the ride with cookies, candy, snacks and of course wine. The mood was hopeful even though we all wished it wasn’t necessary for us to be there to begin with. And as we got closer to D.C. (all twelve hours’ worth of a ride each way) it became apparent we weren’t the only ones who felt that way.

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My sign is on Buzzfeed! The red one under the pink shoe!

I’ve literally never seen anything like what I did last weekend. We stopped at a gas station in PA around 4:30 Saturday morning and the entire parking lot was full of charter buses heading to the March. The gas station was FULL of women (lined up out the door) using every bathroom they had available and purchasing snacks and drinks from frazzled workers. As we got closer and closer, it became apparent it was just about ONLY buses on the highway and we were all headed to the same place. We parked around 8am and my girlfriend and I found a place to grab a breakfast sandwich before heading to the National Mall. Even the cafe we went to had a line to the back of the store – every place was absolutely packed, which told us right then that the March was going to be bigger than anyone had anticipated. And was it ever! I met groups that had three generations with them – women and men who had marched in the 60’s along with their sons, daughters and grandchildren. The unity and cohesiveness that I witnessed is something that I’ll never forget.

After our walking breakfast, we used the deluxe bathrooms (aka porta-potties) before finding a space in the Rally, which was smart because we were immediately surrounded by thousands of people of every color, age, sexual orientation, gender and walk of life. There were so many people that you couldn’t really get out even if you wanted to, which was evidenced by the girl who popped a squat and peed on the ground right next to me. She lucked out because I came equipped with toilet paper and hand sanitizer in my handy, awesome little fanny pack. We all stood around chanting and singing for the entirety of the Rally, which ended up being four hours instead of three. That would have been fine and good but we couldn’t hear a thing that the speakers and performers were saying and could barely see them on the Jumbo-Tron, so we were beyond ready to walk around by the time we started to move. There was a brief rumor that the actual March would be cancelled because there were so many people that the route was entirely clogged but we all had to go somewhere, so March we did. We actually ended up taking to all of the surrounding streets from the Mall and wound our way through the city, ending everything near the White House gates. All in all, we walked for about three hours and my friend and I were among those who left our signs outside the White House. And there were thousands of others who did the exact same thing!

As I said, I’ve never experienced anything like that. I’ve also never seen that many people in one place – one National Guardsman told us that they were told there were 900,000 people there (three times what was there for the inauguration!) but even if it was the 500,000 that the media portrayed, I can attest that it was a whole lot of people. To have everyone there feeling the same things and hoping for the same changes was truly inspiring and did my heart and soul an immense amount of good. Everyone was courteous, peaceful and as optimistic as we could be, given the circumstances. It was an extremely positive and very energizing experience and we all plan to carry that momentum forward for the next four years!

Some people didn’t understand the March or the mission behind it and I can see how the message was a little confusing. This wasn’t an Anti-Trump March, first and foremost. I accept the fact that he is my president, even if I don’t like it. That said, the last thing I want is for him to mess up or fail because that’s like saying I want my pilot to crash our plane. I would love if he really did uphold equal values for everyone and moved this country in a positive direction, I just don’t think it will really happen. So for me personally, I was there to show our new president that we matter just as much as the people who voted him into office and that we’re all going to be watching to ensure he doesn’t do more harm than good – and we’ll be holding him accountable. The fact that hundreds of other countries (and every single continent!) also had people rallying for the same thing just goes to show how strongly we all feel about this. Chicago had 250,000 people in the streets (my feminist husband included) and it was amazing to see how many people came together all around the world. If nothing else, knowing all of those men, women and children feel the way I do will give me the strength to get through whatever the next few years might throw at me. As one of my favorite chants said, “This is a movement, not a moment!”

We’re stronger together and we’re not going anywhere.

 

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Now What?

November 18, 2016 at 11:22 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , )

I’ve had a hard time posting lately because the last three months or so have been a complete roller coaster of emotions for me. The death of my first grandparent and unfortunate news about my dad’s health were difficult things to deal with and they were juxtaposed with the happiest day and night of my life – mine and Scott’s wedding! The support, love, joy and pure elation we felt that day was something wonderful to be surrounded with. Everything was perfect – and then the election happened. I really do try not to get too political around people who may not want to hear it, but life has not been so rosy after I learned that Donald Trump will be our next President. I’m not going to go into the multitude of reasons why I think this is a terrible, awful, really no-good idea because there are plenty of other people out there talking about that. So instead of focusing on the worry and fear that I feel, I’m insteading choosing to focus on what I can do about it. And here’s what I’ve come up with (so far):

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  • I’ve started monthly donations to Planned Parenthood (in Mike Pence’s name…which put a smile on my face), the ACLU and the Sierra Club. I’m not able to give tons of money but every dollar helps.
  • I took a self-defense class, because I feel helpless and impotent and have some legitimate fears about the safety of myself and my loved ones over the next few years. I’m not exactly Rambo now but it was empowering and I’m going to go back for more.
  • I’ve purchased a trash-picker-upper and will be using it to gather the garbage in my neighborhood. Eventually I’m going to rally my neighbors to do the same – we may not be able to clean up Washington but we can at least take care of our own backyard.
  • I’m continuing my volunteering with the food pantry and the Field Museum. I decided long ago that two causes I feel strongly about are education and poverty, specifically hunger awareness. Volunteering at the pantry and the museum allows me to literally get my hands dirty while making a difference.
  • I’ve called my local congressional representative  to tell them that I’m opposing Trump’s pick of Steve Bannon as his Chief Strategist and urging him to pressure Trump to remove this known white supremacist from the White House.
  • I’ve bought bus tickets for myself and Scott to attend the Women’s March in Washington DC over Inauguration Day weekend. It’s going to be a long weekend spent mostly on a bus but we’ll be there to stand and march with others promoting equal rights. This isn’t a protest but instead a rally to unite women and those who believe in minority causes.
  • I’ve talked about this. I’m talking about this right now! I have refrained from getting into long Facebook arguments because I don’t feel that’s very constructive and instead I have talked with my friends and allies about what we’re feeling and what we’re going to do about it. I’m also trying very hard to keep in mind that four and eight years ago the other side was feeling like I do now. Some of the hate and rage I’ve been seeing from the left is very reminiscent of what I saw during the birth of the Tea Party and it’s scary. It’s also not something I want to be associated with. Not that staying positive and not spewing hate is easy – I want to rant and rave with the best of them but I’m trying not to do so publicly. I would rather put forth an effort to be the change I want to see.

There’s more coming. And even if Trump turns out to be the best President the country has ever seen, the things I’m doing now will still be beneficial in the long run. I believe there’s always been more good in the world than bad and I’m going to do my damndest to keep that true for as long as I’m around to fight!

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