On Saturday, January 21, 2017, millions of people (mostly women but also a lot of men and children) marched for
women’s human rights all over the world– in big cities and little cities. I didn’t march on Saturday. And I regret it.
I could have gone. Your Dad would have gone with me if I had asked. You would have gone with me if I had explained it. But I didn’t ask or explain.
And I’m ashamed of that. I’m ashamed that I had a choice about it– that it was entirely up to whether I wanted to go and I didn’t.
I was afraid, kiddo. Big crowds terrify your mother. I can do orderly crowds– at Disney we stand in neat lines. At the airport we are surrounded by protocol. I get nervous at a high school football game– I eye the exits and plan out escape scenarios in my head. In a movie theater I pretend that it is just a dozen of us in the dark together. But big open spaces filled with people and rallies and protests and marches? They freak your mom out.
In hindsight the crowds on Saturday were kind– there were only 4 arrests that I’ve read about (and even those weren’t disruptive). Women (and men) reached across all the different lines between us– race and economic class and education and age and orientation– and shared protein bars and knitted pink hats and stories.
They did what your mom didn’t do that day– they stood up for themselves and– more importantly– for each other.
You know I don’t have any respect for the new president. (The fact that Dad and I refer to him as Cheeto McRacistpants is probably a tip off.) I know that you don’t either. I hate some of the conversations that we have had to have about the things that you have heard or learned or didn’t understand. But I love your heart. I love that you know that this isn’t about a political party but an ideology that Dad and I find abhorrent. Our hope is that by the time you can vote (two presidental elections from now) you’ll have choices among a variety of qualified, educated candidates. (Maybe even the kind of people that read and value education… and morality.)
So my feet (and your Dad’s feet) weren’t on the pavement on Saturday. We didn’t don pink pussy hats or brandish a placard (and believe me– mine would have been very neatly penned). You might not remember that for us it was an extraordinarily quiet Saturday that we spent at home reading and eating tacos and playing with the funny little pups. You and Dad had dug out his old NES game system and delighted in playing Super Mario World together while I finished two books, started a third, and then took a break to work on a Disney castle puzzle.
Our hands, Jack Rabbit, will be part of what’s next. Because the marches were just the beginning. Now, ahead of us is the period where we learn how to rebel. This will be a hard lesson for your vanilla, follow-the-rules parents. This weekend I started by making a few calls to DC offices to add my name to the lists opposing Betsy DeVos as well as the repeal of the Affordable Care Act. I’ll pay attention. I’ll stay alert.
This president in office has made clear in just the first 80 some hours that he will lie and that he will castigate the media for not reporting his lies. “Alternative facts” are falsehoods. Lies. Made up things. He will distort.
It will be important to practice truthfulness. Honesty. Integrity. It will be important for us, as Christians, to truly be Christ followers and show mercy and act justly. We will read, and ask questions, and know that even while, of course, our faith isn’t in any government but in God– the reality is that our lives– and our neighbors’ lives are very much effected by decisions that these elected people (even when we very much did not elect them) make on our behalf.
I might never work up the courage to march with a million other people– but I hope that in these next few years I’ll be doing the work that they started.