Sunday, January 29, 2017

One March, Two March, Red March, Blue March

"Everyone shall sit under their own vine and fig tree, and no one shall make them afraid."
~Hamilton the Musical, George Washington

So my daughter and I went to a little march in Washington and many I know are sick of hearing about it. Certain news coverage of obscene costumes (saw only one, in the many thousands of people I encountered) and litter (the signs were left strategically, and I only saw overflowing trash cans with items neatly stacked next to them because let's face it, women clean shit up) trying to overshadow the historic and world recognized causes. Somehow millions of people worldwide, raising a voice, hurt a lot of people's feelings.

And now we are seeing a march a day, at the least. People standing up for human rights all over the country. Marches planned, movements organized, concerts, mailing agendas and newly created small groups all devoted to making noise, being heard, and not "giving away our shot."

You see, my favorite memory of the march was coming across a family who had traveled from Alaska. They included a nine-year-old girl, her mother, her mother's parents and a great-grandmother, speaking with women from Chicago about the lyrics to a Hamilton song. The girl had been trying to learn the Lafayette rap and the Chicago women admitted they couldn't do it. I chimed in that my daughter could do it. With a look of "WTF MOM!" I asked her what better thing did she have to do at the moment? She broke out in perfect cadence with a Chicago woman doing the side comments in the song. I would have whipped out my phone but she would have shut down immediately. I could not have been prouder.

So now in my car, I'm listening to Hamilton and wishing that was the only politics I need to worry about. But it's not, and it can't be.

This has not been easy for so many people. So many insulted and called names for coming out to say that this administration does not speak for them. We don't want a wall. We don't want a ban on people who desperately need our help. We worry about an administration that thinks they can control women's rights and possibly control human rights. I've been labeled a bleeding heart liberal, a victim and in need of therapy because I can't sit down and shut up.

Don't get me wrong. I ran into a friend today at the grocery store who voted for Trump, and all she had for me was love and interest about Lily and my experience at the march. Curious questions about an event she would never attend but questions with an intellectual and compassionate curiosity about such a historical occurence. I often have these experiences. That is where we meet. Rather than label marchers with ugliness or lump Trump supporters in with the KKK, we recognize the humanness of each other and the broad range of concerns.

So if you feel like you have a friend who has changed and you don't understand, maybe look at it another way. They probably are the same person that they have always been. They just never had the need to speak out until now.

If that doesn't work, and friends and family can't make some sort of peace, then we bleeding-heart liberals will be getting our therapy and listening to the Hamilton soundtrack for the next four years while not so quietly fighting for human rights.  Now if I could just afford the tickets.

March on my friends.

"I don't wanna fight, but I won't apologize for doin' what's right."
~Hamilton the Musical, Alexander Hamilton

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Political Therapy

"I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy,  as cause for withdrawing from a friend."
~Thomas Jefferson

I was recently told that if this president-elect bothers me so much I might need therapy. You know what? It very well could be the case. In fact, I would guess there will be a huge rise in therapist bills for the section of society that has a hard time with this man as their leader.

But I would like to explain something about the majority (I think) of those feeling discontent. Don't stop reading! Hear me out.

We are not against you.

This is not a Hilary vs. Trump issue. This is not about who voted for each candidate. This is not about rejecting election results or Trump himself as our next president. We know that you, our friends and family, are intelligent, thoughtful citizens who heard a message that spoke to you. I have had long conversations with many people trying to understand each other (the majority of my friends do not share my point of view).

The people who will march on January 21st are not doing it to overturn an election but to show a unified presence to an administration that has displayed clear discrimination towards women's rights, the LGBTQ, our Muslim community, and our immigrants.

The discontent comes from the language that is now deemed okay, even presidential. Bullying, insults, racism, aggression against women and threats toward whole sections of our society now have a place in acceptable conversation. I recently heard of a middle school student in my district saying horrible things to a Muslim boy because, in his mind, this boy deserved and even required it due to his religion.

No one is out to overthrow the government but instead, make sure the government knows there are serious concerns.

If President-Elect Trump succeeds, if he makes positive change, we will all be the better for it. That, on my part, would be an unexpected surprise and I will admit my concerns were wrong. Unfortunately many are seeing the potential damage and isn't it the right of all American citizens to raise a peaceful voice and ask to be heard, considered, and protected?

When my daughter found out I was not taking her to the march in Washington she cried. I HATE crowds and I worry for her safety. But in swoops Step-Dan willing to make arrangements with an old college roommate for housing and buy train tickets because Lily's heart was broken (even though I told him I've seen her get over things before). So my daughter and I are going to DC. It will be my first time taking an actual physical stand for something and my daughter will see a historical event.

But when and if I post about it don't tell me to pull up my big girl pants and get over it. That is not what this is about and simplifying it to such an extent is missing the point. This is not about dividing the nation. This is about protecting those that need a voice if only by showing up as a visual presence, a reminder that we still care about these issues and hope they will be taken seriously.

Once again, I want to be clear, what you as a Trump supporter are seeing in social media or news sources (for the most part-I won't blanket statement) is not about people rejecting Trump as President. That is a set fact. It's not about disagreeing personally with each other. That has happened in every election in history and will continue unless we move to a dictatorship. It is about people trying to protect each other and if you can't understand that, appreciate the goodness of the message at its heart, then I'm at a loss.

But we can still be friends.

"It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize,  accept, and celebrate those differences."
~Audre Lorde