I wrote a news article on the March on Monument and once it is published, I will share a link to it, here. This piece however is my personal thoughts, feelings, reflections and reasons behind why I went to Richmond and why I will be going to Washington, DC this weekend.
Note, I will not leave hateful, mean, things up on the page. I will delete them. You have every right to disagree with me, however, go do it on your Facebook page.
I went to the March on Monument on Saturday. My short, fat, gimpy self drove to Richmond, early in the day, found parking, unloaded my scooter of whee and joined in with a couple thousand other people at the foot of the Robert E. Lee statue on Monument Avenue for a social justice march.
Yes, ironic that we would gather at the foot steps of an oppressor to begin this march, but there we were- Black, white, women, men, children, gay, straight, bi. Able bodied and the disabled, people of all religion, and no religion. Gathered in the shadows of a statue that was erected just 25 years after the American Civil War, in honor of a Confederate General, to work toward justice for all. Now that is ironic, I do believe.
I digress. As I unloaded from the van and headed up from my parking spot, I was nervous, it had rained all morning, it was cold and grey. When I got there only one of the organizers, were there.
I made my way to one of the places offering us a restroom the assisted living center just around the corner. While, I did not get her name the lovely woman at the desk not only made me feel welcome, but thanked me for coming to the march.
Off to the crowds even though I was not officially working, I went into reporter mode. Pictures were taken, I interviewed some people, then dodged some media. Or actually turned down the opportunity to be interviewd.
People approach me to talk to me. It happens wherever I may be. I have, what I am told, a kind face, I smile a lot, and I am just genuinely interested in others. As journalists approached me, I told them I was a journalist and couldn’t be interviewed. They all understood although one woman did look at me oddly.
(I get that, I do not look like what you expect of a reporter. I am short, I am super sized. I am disabled. I use a mobility scooter. And, I was also in a #pussyhatproject hat made by my incredible friend. Still, I thought, better safe than sorry, people might get mad.)
So, I did my thing. I interviewed, I took some pictures, I took notes.
Then, I let myself become part of the march. I melded into the crowd, near the front where I would be able to hear the speakers, the singers, then three people of faith, and be a part of it.
That was the right thing to do. As the singers started with a couple songs and into Holly Near’s “We are a gentle angry people,” I became part of the march. I was no longer solely an observer, but I became part of the march. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JUAoyE0DFBw)
I know my reasons for being in Richmond. Trump’s election to the presidency had disheartened me. Not because he is a Republican, we have lived through many Republican presidents. Hell, I made it through George W. Bush in one piece.
No, I am angry because he isn’t a Republican or a Democrat or a decent human being. He was elected on the backs of an angry Alt Right who are a group of white men who are worried about losing their privileges.
I believe he conned many actual conservative people into voting for him and they will, and some already have, come to regret their votes.
I am angry he was elected because he mocked a disabled journalist, lied about doing it, when we watched him do it live, and people thought it was okay.
I am angry because he said it was okay to “Grab a woman by her pussy,” and get away with it. Again, people thought this was okay. Our President-Elect admitted to sexually assaulting women and people let it go. As a rape survivor this is unacceptable to me.
I am livid that he wants to build a wall, at the costs of billions of dollars, along our southern border. Let’s work with those who wish to come to America. Let’s make the immigration process easier, not more difficult.
I am angry because a man that referred to our African American brothers and sisters as “The blacks” who all live in “crime ridden hell holes” was elected to the Presidency.
I am angry because racists and bigots and homophobes have been emboldened by this man to attack, verbally and physically, those that differ from them.
I am sad that so many smart women I know voted for Trump because they couldn’t vote for Hillary Rodham Clinton. The far right has lied and pushed their agenda about her for close to 30 years and it worked.
HRC was the most qualifier candidate, ever, for the office of POTUS. Former first lady, former senator, former Secretary of State, who has spent her life in public service and we voted in a damn multi-bankruptcy, on his third marriage, reality star who has ties to Russia and Putin.
So, 240 years into this land called the USA, we have had 43 white, male Christian presidents, one black male Christian and now Trump. I am saddened for the little girls who still have no woman president to look up to.
One of my friend’s daughters even told her Mom that “I can never be President, that’s not for girls.”
The highest office in our land isn’t for girls.
That angers and saddens and disturbs me so much. My nieces are growing up in a country that devalues them to the point that the ERA has still not been ratified. That a rapist (Brock Turner) can serve three months for raping a woman.
They are growing up where people of color still suffering institutional racism (on top of standard bigotry) and are told their lives don’t matter.
They are growing up with a President who thinks of women as arm candy, subservient, and garbage.
My 17-year-old niece, who is gay, is facing a country where people would destroy her freedom to marry because “it’s against my religion.” She and her girlfriend were taunted by students, mainly one, actually, with a chant of Trump, Trump, Trump in the days after the election.
These are why I marched.
And, then, back to the story of the actual March.
As the songs spread across the 2,000 gathered souls, I could feel a tiny sliver of hope. There are good people left.
There are people who believe that Love is Love, Black Lives Matter, Women’s Rights are Human Rights, Reproductive freedom is important.
I was surrounded by people who care enough for one another that they came out on a rainy cold Saturday to march with one another. Chanting, or not, holding signs, and joining together to show that we are the majority.
To show that America is better than whom we have elected this time. The majority voted for her.
As a woman who is also disabled and a journalist, three of the things Trump seems to hate, I am scared. I worry for my healthcare as the ACA kept me on my insurance even though they have spent above what the old lifetime maximum was on me.
I worry as a woman since it seems we are going to lose more of our reproductive freedoms.
I am terrified as a journalist as our President-Elect calls major media organizations fake, refuses questions from CNN, then answers one for the alt right site BreitBart. He planted his paid staff in a PRESS CONFERENCE to cheer him on.
His White House staff is talking about removing the White House Press Corps from the White House. He has stated he will make it easier to sue journalists.
I am scared, but it won’t stop me from writing. It won’t stop me from going to DC. It won’t stop me from calling out what is going on.
It may lose me some Facebook friends, but if you are so disinterested in politics that you can’t deal with anyone posting about it, I don’t understand you.
These things are important. Quit staring at your damn game on your smart phone and pay attention to what is going on around you.