I Marched to Believe we Can Do Better. And I Walked Away Believing We Can.

I marched. For the women and men who marched before me. And for those women and men who could not.

I marched to add greater cracks in the ceiling made of glass. And I marched for the littles who will lead our country one day.

I marched for me and the ones I love. And I marched for those I haven’t met yet.

I marched for those who believe in the resistance. And for those who don’t think they need it.

I marched for the wage gap. And for freedom of speech.

I marched to no longer be a bystander. And to exercise my rights and privileges as an American.

I marched for public schools. And for equality for all.

I marched for hope. And I marched for strength.

I marched to believe we can do better. And I walked away believing we can.

I Marched to Empower All

I marched.  I didn’t want to.  Didn’t want to stand in a crowd (or in a disappointing small gaggle) of “protesters.”  I didn’t want to chant slogans or wave signs. But I did.  Because Donald Trump had encouraged and stimulated the absolute worst habits of machismo and white supremacist masculinity, the worst disdain that the wealthy have for the poor, the ugliest greed that views our natural world as only raw material for churning out money (to the 1%).  Because he was the most obvious antithesis of Christian principles.

I marched because I am a 74 year-old woman and my heart was broken by the election of a hate-mongering demagogue to tear our society apart, into US and THEM. And as a woman familiar with how it hurts and degrades women to be seen as obedient house-puppies, sex bunnies and underlings (“Just grab them!”), I knew that women would always be THEM.  Unless we could resist.

I marched because although I grew up dirt-poor in rural Nebraska, I was privileged.  Privileged because I saw my grandmothers and my mother as equal partners in their marriages: the women grew and preserved and prepared all the food and clothing for the families: chickens, eggs, butter, gardens, orchard trees. They had strong arms and clear minds and great open hearts.  My maternal grandmother always fed the “hobos” who came from the nearby railroad tracks. This was the Good Life, and I will always fight for it.

I also began to learn about whole categories of people who shared the oppression and cruel contempt often dished out for women, and saw it for what it was–blind prejudice & the love of having power over other people.

My family women were generous, fearless, practical, physically strong.  I grew up with the privilege of knowing myself whole, so the idiocy of every careless damaging dirty attitude toward women as lesser, as ‘things,’ and as slaves to their reproductive organs insults me.
As a privileged woman, I resisted the message I got in the fifties–that I should be careful not to get higher grades than men, not to run around playing sports because it wasn’t feminine, the boys wouldn’t like me.  And surely a girl won’t try to go to college if she was poor and if she wasn’t looking for a husband. I did.  I graduated in 1965 from the University of Nebraska, PBK, summa cum laud, having won a National Merit Scholarship, been on the State Scholastic Team of the highest Regents’ Exam scores.  Every step of that education was a march of protest.  The stories I could tell about date rape & about predatory male professors & male supremacy ideology are enough to make any woman today march against the loss of the progress feminists have made in the last 50 years!  Donald Trump represents that loss to me, as do the many who lap up his dirty stories as delicious.
I marched because I felt the weight of every contemptuous dismissal I ever had to fight as a young woman.  I knew women are at least equal to men, that biological gender is not destiny.  I marched because Trump represented every rich man who ever was amused by my futile dreams of social justice and equality for all.

I marched because I have known and loved and admired African-American men and women, and watched their pain as their own children were harassed, endangered, imprisoned.  Racism is un-American; we are supposed to believe in equality.  I marched because Trump’s rhetoric about immigrant “rapists” is like the rhetoric of Nazi ideology about Jew and Gypsy, Communist and “Pervert,”  and all the ‘unfit’ or resistant.  My son’s father was Jewish; I witnessed anti-semitism firsthand when my son was harassed at a summer science camp because he “had killed Jesus.”  A Jewish temple was bombed nearby when my son was in middle school.  The fear and distrust he felt was injurious to him;  hateful prejudice costs more than our country can afford.

I marched because I have known and loved single women trying to raise and nurture children–women struggling to work for lower pay than men and trying to feed, clothe and shelter children when medical care and childcare took more than 50% of their monthly net pay.  Dentists?  Maybe a free clinic.  Niceties like books (library trips take time), like a movie outing as a family. like travel to visit grandparents?  Women pushed to the edge of their limits.

Opposition to a decent minimum wage, to equal wages, to affordable healthcare, to government budgets that provide affordable childcare and education?  Those things are, to me, the antithesis of a democratic community because they disregard poverty and admire and promote selfishness.  Opposition to voting rights, to equality,  to democracy, to the service of our great public agencies and institutions: Donald Trump’s election signals to me that the selfish and arrogant of this country are willing to throw away everything that we Americans could be proud of.

So I marched.  Because if you don’t share generously, you are not part of the community.  If you don’t love and care about all people and want to see peace and security and health for all. you are not part of a democracy.  You want to isolate yourself from the crowds of those unlike yourself.  You think perhaps that the wealthier you are, the better you are.  Health, including a healthy world to live in, education, economic equality and generous decency:  those are the goals for which I march.

Before Trump was elected many Republicans kept a principled distance, but once he was crowned the winner, it seemed to me opportunism and the love (and fear) of power overcame many legislators’ resistance.  I march in order to cry out to all those in power: “Heal this lesion in democracy, this threat to America the beautiful, the kind, the healthy.”

I Couldn’t March – But I Care. Deeply.

I was not able to make it to a march but was excited to see so many around the WORLD expressing their thoughts and feelings. While not everyone marched for the same reason, emotions are high in this country right now. If I had marched it would be because I think Donald Trump is a lying narcissist who doesn’t listen to anyone except the cable news broadcasters. I would have marched because I am concerned about lawmakers changing my healthcare without a better plan in place. I’m worried about my senators not LISTENING to their constituents and their concerns over cabinet nominees who are clearly unqualified do the job set in front of them. I’m worried that we have a president who LOST the popular vote and can’t seem to wrap his head around that, or a long list of other FACTS that he just doesn’t like. I HOPE that our elected officials can keep their heads about them and get down to the work of representing the people of Nebraska and making good decisions for our state and country. Lord knows the president isn’t going to do it.

Minorities Unite Under Oppression

Minorities, including women, are facing oppression in all aspects of life under the current administration. I marched to show minorities that they are not alone, and to show the current administration that their actions and orders will face major resistance.

The wonderful, courageous women who made me feel whole and human again

When I was thirteen, I was taken and repeatedly raped for about 24 hours.

It was summer in a small town almost 20 years ago, so no one noticed I was missing. Too scared to tell my parents, and not understanding what happened or what to do, I used all my paper route money to take a taxi about thirty miles to a Planned Parenthood the next town over.
I knew they could help me; I had seen their flyers once, in a booth at the county fair.

When I arrived beat up, cut up, and bruised, they let me use the phone. I called my parents and told them I was staying over at a friend’s house.
The women at the clinic bandaged me up, extensively. They cleaned the cuts, the abrasions on my wrists, the scrapes on my cheeks. They cleaned up a couple cigarette burns. They iced my bruised and swollen face. They talked me through my first physical. They tested me for sexually transmitted diseases. They gave me the morning after pill.
I’m in my late twenties, which means I’d have an adolescent child now, had I gotten pregnant.

One of the women there gave me a ride back to my little town, and I stayed at a friend’s house for a couple days, until I could pass for having fallen off my bike.

I know what they did was borderline illegal, due to my age. But, I am forever grateful.

I know now that I could have told my parents, but I wasn’t ready.
It was MY choice.

And those women, those wonderful, courageous women who held me while I sobbed, who cleaned my cuts and bandaged me up, who held my hair back while I got sick, who held ice on my face and cradled me until I stopped shaking, who wrapped me in blankets and made me feel safe and strong and capable and whole and human again, they are heroes.

I will forever stand with Planned Parenthood, because they stood with me, even when I couldn’t stand for myself.

I also marched for my loved ones, my friends and family, especially those who are people of color and members of the lqbtq community. I marched for immigrants, who are some of the people I hold most dear in this community.

I march, I RESIST.

I will never back down from this fight.