It has been many years since I felt the urge to “demonstrate,” for or against anything. The late 1960s probably. But, I did want to go to Washington this week to march with several hundred thousand people in the January 21 “Women’s March on Washington.”
Please note that I am stating that I want to demonstrate, not protest. Although I have been gobsmacked* (a wonderfully descriptive British term for how I feel) by the hate-filled pronouncements and divisive rhetoric pouring out of the mouths of American politicians, they are all just threats. Very scary threats, but, not yet, an actuality.
I have felt stymied in my need to “Do something,” because it is a waste of energy and time to panic over something that may or may not happen. I have spent many (many, many) years of my life in “Chicken Little” mode, agitated and petrified by things that could/might occur. Never once has it done me a whit of good, may I add. I have come to realize that there are some preparations that we can make (emotionally, financially, physically) in the face of looming disaster, but we cannot implement them until we know which of the threats is actually coming at us. (I hope to post some thoughts on “settling, or sheltering, in place” in the next few days.)
That is not to say that I am not willing and prepared to take a stand and do whatever is in my power when I can “see the whites of their eyes”. It just seems difficult to respond constructively to ranting, raving, accusations, reports, and fake news (back in my day, fake news was whatever was published in The Enquirer, now it seems like you need to fact check everything you hear, or see, on Facebook, because anybody can make up anything and two million people will repost it). Not throwing stones here, I have done it myself. There is a frisson of satisfaction in reporting some horrendous report about someone you don’t like to begin with.
The Women’s March on January 21 is, to me, an opportunity to let politicians know that there are a LOT of people out there who will pay the price; in money, time and effort, to protect the rights of minorities, women, children, veterans, the sick, the elderly, the LGBT community, the refugees of the world and displaced liberals everywhere. Based on the political leadership voted in last year, it would seem that I, what my husband referred to as a “bleeding heart liberal”, have become part of a minority; if not in number then in power. This will let our leadership, of all parties and persuasions, know that there are millions of eyes watching what they do; millions of votes and billions of shopping dollars on the line. Each of us (Democrat or Republican and everything in between) have rights that require constant vigilance to protect. We all deserve dignity, solace and the necessities of life; nourishment, clean water, and air, safe shelter, love, medicine when we are sick, “the pursuit of happiness.”
There are places I no longer shop, and places I have started to shop, based on the hateful spewings of their CEOs, and I am not the only one. Maybe people didn’t vote enough in this last election, thinking they didn’t need to take a stand because other people were (echoes of Brexit). That does not mean that we won’t vote in the next election, and the one after that, to support what we think is important. Maybe all of this upheaval is the wake-up call we complacent millions needed to remind us that we need to stand up for ourselves, that it is not someone else’s job, and that there is always someone ready to take our share if we don’t fight for it.
I will not be in Washington, DC on Saturday, but my thoughts will be, as well as the four Pussyhats I knitted and sent for people to wear in The March.
I kept one for myself, as you can see, and I will be wearing it all day, and keeping it pinned to the wall to remind me that, if there is a battle brewing, I already have my armor ready to go.
*Gobsmacked: utterly astonished, astounded (does not work in Words with Friends).