This was a crazy weekend filled with images of pink, videos of shouting women, and angry debates on social media. I spent the weekend wondering if this is what life will be like in America for the next four years.
I’m exhausted already.
It was difficult not to look at the images of thousands of women marching in Seattle and not have a tinge of FOMO, but I’m happy with my choice to stay home.
I didn’t march out of respect for my boyfriend who is a County Deputy. Seeing the damage done in the marches on Inauguration Day, I didn’t want to risk being caught up in conflict on Saturday. I didn’t want to have to make a call to my boyfriend to bail me out of jail or use his influence (because I would have asked) to get me out of trouble. Happily, it appears that marches across the country were peaceful and without incident.
I didn’t march because He is my President. I understand the sentiment behind the messages, I can appreciate people’s desire to send a message that we won’t be treated as second class citizens and as pretty things who are here for a man’s pleasure. But I won’t stand by the message that President Trump isn’t my President. I’m an American, he won the election. Therefore, he is my President.
I didn’t march because I’m tired of the conflict. After the election results had come in, after Clinton conceded the election to Trump, after Trump tweeted proudly of his win – I thought we were finished. I figured we were over attacking each other, going in for low blows, threatening people who didn’t share our opinion – I was wrong. All weekend, I saw people on both sides of the aisle hurling insults back and forth.
I didn’t march because I was afraid. The idea of being in a crowd that big was frightening. Many times on Saturday I thought “maybe I should just go.” But fear would take over and I would hear “but you don’t know anyone – you won’t be able to find your friends – what if the anarchist show up?” The idea of being in a crowd that big was frightening. I play a great extrovert, but the Real Me prefers to stay at home, surrounded by my dogs and books.
I didn’t march because that was my right. It was amazing to see millions of women and men march in cities around the world to stand up against something they felt was wrong. This is what our country was founded upon, right? The right to stand up to our government and shout “Enough!” and demand change. Seeing so many exercising that right made me proud to be an American. Knowing that I had the right to abstain, made me thankful to be an American. In how many countries can citizens protest en masse without severe and sometimes deadly backlash?
Enough is Enough!
I saw someone post “them” when criticizing to the black community – unintentionally continuing the divide between races that makes “us” feel like we don’t matter in America. I saw a child attacked on social media because he bears the name Trump. I saw a woman claim that the women who marched on Saturday only wanted the right to kill babies. I saw Kellyanne Conway’s looks and style attacked mercilessly by a group of women aka Mean Girls. I saw people attacking each other in the comments of videos featuring Scarlett Johansen, Madonna, Ashley Judd, and in response to an article about the Canadians who were denied entry into the country, and on and on and on.
I was blocked after someone told me to “calm down” in response to my concern over the changes Trump would make during his candidacy. I asked her what her problem was with me sharing my thoughts – she blocked me. We block each other when we’re concerned about harassment; however, people on social media are blocking each other (instead of unfriending / unfollowing) because they’re afraid of seeing an opinion that varies from their own.
Every day, I think maybe this is the day when we can speak politely to each other. Today is the day when we’ll slow down and start listening to each other, ask questions, share our concerns and hopes, clear up any confusion. Today is the day when we come together as Americans to work towards a better future.
And then I turn on Facebook and see that Nope today is not that day.
I know that my feelings are shared by many. I could have marched on Saturday in solidarity with my fellow women to call for equal pay, protection of my reproductive rights, no taxes on tampons, the ability to be judged by our contribution and not our ass-ets. I think all of these things are important. But for me, Saturday was about slowing down, accepting the change, and speaking with people who shared my beliefs and concerns while also listening to people who’s beliefs were opposite and, sometimes, offensive.
I learned that in some ways, we’re not all that different. We all want a better America, we all want to believe that everything will work out, and we understand that the divide in America is what’s killing America. And we’re all having trouble rising to the challenge of leaving negativity and distrust behind.
Racism was here long before Trump and will be here long after he’s left office. I cannot afford to lay the responsibility of bigotry in our country at Trump’s feet. No, he doesn’t own bigotry, we as a nation own that, and we as a nation need to make a choice to change course. I can’t expect one man to lead us there; I have to take the steps on my own.
So that’s what I’m doing. It’s not easy to avoid rising to the bait when hateful people spew wretched things, but I’m going to do that – instead of engaging people who only want to hate, I’m going to work alongside individuals who want to see a change, who want to make a difference.
The question is, where do I start?