Marching forward

I woke up this morning to an achy body and bursting heart. Both sensations kept me weepy all day.

When the boys and I left home Saturday morning to meet up with the families who comprise our proverbial village, I had no idea what to expect aside from sore feet and complaints of hunger. In fact, I had a little talk with the boys before we even left home.

“Listen, today isn’t going to be easy. There might be a lot of people. We won’t be able to quickly leave if you’re tired or hungry. So just remember that fighting for what you believe in isn’t always comfortable and it isn’t always fun.”

I didn’t “make” my kids join the Women’s March on Washington. I’d decided to walk when I first saw the announcement, but initially figured I’d leave the kids home, fearful of subjecting them to acts of violence. But both expressed concern for this new Administration and a desire to take a stand, so we outfitted up, pockets full of snacks, and joined the throes.

“I wish I’d made a sign,” my younger son said immediately upon getting off the metro and seeing the sea of posterboard. He got something better; a marcher handed him a Ziploc bag containing a pink hat knit by a woman in Kansas unable to come for the march. (He didn’t take it off until bedtime.)

We walked. We chanted. We shared stories with the people we encountered. We smushed in close and spent the entire march keeping track of the kids in our village. We were 14 adults and 11 kids, though it certainly felt like those numbers were flipped, head on a pivot constantly counting and recounting. We didn’t make it to the rally (or anywhere near the Jumbotrons), wedged as we were on the Mall-side of the Native American Museum, just a few blocks from the action. So many people were packed into this usually wide open space that we never made it to the actual march route; instead our part of the crowd carved a wide and densely populated path to merge in with the rest of the marchers on Pennsylvania Avenue.

I’ve been to a few Inaugurations, Wembley Park for a legendary concert, the Esplanade in Boston for 4th of July festivities, and I’ve never experienced such a friendly, supportive and polite crowd. There was little pushing. Lots of information comparing/sharing. A warm camaraderie underpinned the grit, determination and passion evident on faces and signs. When in midafternoon we peeled off to head back to the metro, I was surprised to turn back and see the sea of pink overtaking the city; I wasn’t surprised this morning to read zero arrests were made in connection with the event.

We got home exhaused but exhilirated. Hungry, but ready for more. “We marched for a good cause,” noted my older kid. “Defending the rights of you and my friends is totally worth it.”

The hard work starts now. The new administration already scurbbed the words climate change from the White House website, like deleting those two words will make the crisis disappear. The new press secretary lied in his first press conference, which didn’t involve the press at all but served as a venue for him to scold the media for reporting the numbers from the day before. (Why is this White House so focused on size?) And the president made a jab at marchers before appearing to have his Twitter handle taken over by a more moderated set of thumbs.

This is our new normal; it’s anything but normal and it’s not okay. What I learned and felt yesterday is that I am not alone. For the last two months, I felt helpless; now I’m unstoppable.

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2 thoughts on “Marching forward”

  1. Being a full time working mom supporting a family of four, I’m excited to see this administration’s support for tax free childcare and equitable pay for women. Since the new president was just sworn in on Friday, in my opinion it’s really too premature for me to judge what this administration can and actually will accomplish. What is it, specifically, that your organization is protesting?

    1. I don’t work for any organization. I am a self-employed single mother who coordinates with conservatives to advocate for free market based climate change policies. This new president has from the beginning mocked one of the worst crises of a generation. (If you are worried about paying for climate policies, just look at the tab the US currently foots to respond to natural disasters… it’s only going to go up. Not to mention relocations of entire villages, already necessary in parts of Alaska.)
      He’s already scrubbed the White House website of climate change references and most of his cabinet is filled with guys who don’t take the issue seriously. We can pay a little now to mitigate the problem or a lot later in response.
      I also rely on the ACA for my health care coverage. Is it perfect? No. But it’s better than paying a second mortgage worth in premiums. Who is going to cover me anyway if the pre-existing condition clause falls? I am willing to look at Trump’s healthcare plan objectively if he shows us details but to date he’s given us nothing to look at – just rhetoric. “Repeal and replace” is missing a key element: what are you going to replace it with?
      As a woman, his history of misogyny troubles me deeply. He doesn’t respect women as anything more than his playthings.
      He can’t handle criticism – a pretty scary quality in a guy who now runs a country whose citizens have the protected right to speak their minds. The bullshit over the weekend about crowd size is a perfect example. Smacks of insecurity.
      I’m also first generation American on my mother’s side, and I oppose both the wall and any form of registry.
      I can go on, but I know we disagree on his positions.
      I hope he passes tax free childcare (though noting is “free” – it will be offset by an increase in another tax somewhere) and equitable pay for women; if he achieves both those promises I will praise him. He’s got a lot of other issues I disagree with him on though, and I’m paying attention.

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