Saturday, January 21, 2017 will go down in history as the day that the greatest number of women in the WORLD demonstrated for the same thing…respect and civility and tactical prudence.
It was an emotional day for the demonstrators. The atomic energy that was generated by the unprecedented numbers of people (men and women), created an atmosphere of hope that has been absent for oh, so long.
Why did I participate?
It was a very deliberate decision.
Yes, I am very angry that the we have a President that I cannot respect as an person. He is a rude, disrespectful, emotional egomaniac who thrives on conflict and bullying anyone who disagrees with him. I fear his presidency on a national and international level.
But my anger is not what fueled my decision. Anger blocks logical thinking. I keep trying to step back from my anger to examine WHO is the target of my anger. (That is another topic for another day.)
I decided to step forward in unity with the millions of women (and men) from around the world because I did NOT step forward during the 60’s Women’s Movement, Civil Rights Movement, and the Vietnam Nam War.
Those were defining events for our country and I was detached from them. I lost friends in Vietnam Nam but did not question the validity of that war. I lived in a lily white community that was not touched by civil rights injustices (or so I thought). I believed that any woman could achieve what she wanted if she worked hard enough. I was young, naive and unquestioning of authority. My focus was on myself not the world around me.
I awoke to reality VERY late in life.
This fall I read Waking Up White: and Finding Myself in the Story of Race by Debbie Irving. It was like having a truck of ice dumped on me while sleeping! Suddenly, I saw the gross injustices that our country/government has imposed on all but a small minority. My eyes were opened and will not be closed again.
Yes, this country was founded on the highest of principles, but those principles have been undermined since Day 1 to protect the power of wealthy, white men. As much progress as we appear to have made in gaining equal opportunities for the middle class, women, immigrants, and minorities, we have fallen way short of our ideals.
I am pragmatic enough to know that our society will not change overnight. But I am also idealistic enough to feel that the energy and commitment of last Saturday will transform something. An explosive force was in play. A positive force. (Yes, as with any movement, there are fringe elements who push too far. We see that in every political movement. But fringes are trimmed away.)
I showed up to be counted among those who will not sit quietly in the back of the bus.
I listened to grandmothers (my age group) who recognize that our generation has achieved more in our careers than did our mothers. They are well aware of our privilege and opportunities. They are also well aware that our black female friends and immigrant neighbors do NOT have the same privilege and opportunities. And these grandmothers fear the vitriol of our President and his followers who show such unprecedented disrespect for large segments of our population.
I do not know where this protest will lead.
I HOPE we will see a major realignment of ideology of BOTH political parties.
I HOPE we will see representation within our elected officials, at all levels, that represent our true population in gender, ethnicity and color.
I HOPE that people will once again learn to question and analyze the world around them.
I HOPE that civil discourse and personal respect will emerge to guide our interactions.
That is why I stepped out last Saturday!