Why Wouldn’t I March? Why Didn’t You?

I grew up in a small town in central Nebraska, went out of state to college, work, and grad school, and returned to rejoin my family. Seven years ago, I started my own family here. I’m now an educator, a mom, a researcher, a wife, a small business owner, a student. I’m comfortable speaking up and speaking out. But I wasn’t sure I would march. I’m 38 years old, and I, like most of the others in this collection, had never engaged like that before. I am a lot of different things, but was I an activist, a protester?

 Eventually, I realized… why wouldn’t I march?

Why wouldn’t I march– if I believe that whether you’re LGBTQ, Muslim, refugee, black, immigrant, differently-abled, or female, you don’t deserve to be afraid. You don’t deserve to be treated, in the eyes of the law, the characters of Twitter, or the dismissive or derisive comments of lawmakers, as anything less than equal, whole, supported, worthy, respected, valued Humans.

Why wouldn’t I march– if I love this country, in a way I’m frankly only now discovering, as I watch the fundamental principles for which it stands being threatened and twisted through the words, actions, behavior or inaction of many who are supposed to represent us. Through a “travel ban”; through threats to the free press, the judiciary, the environment, funding for climate change and gun control research, affordable health care, public education and more; through support of waterboarding; through party-line votes and support for an unfit Secretary of Education, an unfit head of the EPA, an unfit Attorney General, to name a few.

Why wouldn’t I march– if I reject the painful, intolerant, objectifying words and regressive, intolerant, fundamentally un-American actions of President Trump, and anyone who condones or defends them.

Why wouldn’t I march– if I believe that physical and sexual assault isn’t funny, and comments about women being not being attractive enough to be assaulted make my stomach turn, make me feel inhuman and demoralized and outraged and unsafe and confused and scared for my 7-year-old daughter. If many lawmakers don’t seem to be outraged with me. If I honor the many strong survivors I worked with at domestic violence shelters, and their beautiful scarred strong children.

Why wouldn’t I march– if I believe that a woman’s health includes her mental, emotional, economic, and physical well-being. That she deserves the right and the respect to make her own intelligent choices about it, rather than be denied options by largely white male lawmakers who have no idea what it’s like to be her. That those who do become mothers, their co-parents, and their new babies, deserve paid parental leave from the richest country in the world.

We can do better. We must do better. We are better.

As my pastor used to preach, we’re called to “remove the chains of injustice, let those who are oppressed go free, share bread with those who are hungry, and shelter homeless poor people” (Isaiah 58:6-12).  Nebraskans will continue answer that call. We will monitor and advocate and vote and fight and use our “shrill” voices to push the city, the state, the country to deliver liberty and justice for all.

Will you?

I marched because, if we are our sister’s and brother’s keepers, I didn’t know where else I could be.

Why wouldn’t I march?

Why didn’t you?

I Changed the Night of the Election, and I Will Not Go Quietly Anymore.

I grew up in central Nebraska where I was never comfortable speaking out against friends or family members who had differing view points, even if they made me uncomfortable and even if I knew what they were saying was wrong. I’ve lived in Omaha for years, and although the atmosphere here is much different, I still find that I have a difficult time speaking up. I donated quietly to Hillary’s campaign, hoping that it would be enough. And then it wasn’t. The Women’s March was my first march and my first protest. It was part of the beginning of me taking a stand for everything I believe in. I changed the night of the election, and I will not go quietly any more.

“America is not Donald Trump and the lock step Republican Party.”

I march because our democratic republic, with its three branches of government, is intended to function as a check and balance on each institution.  I recognize those checks and balances no longer function as they are intended when the politics of party override the good of the nation.  I fear a Congress that walks in lock step with a president who ignores the Constitution.  Rules appear to only apply if it benefits a party preference.  Case in point, the rejection of Marrick Garland for the Supreme Court.  In a year’s time, he could not even get a hearing.

I march because Congress is ramming through grossly unqualified candidates for cabinet positions.  Just to name a few; Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Education and Rick Perry, with a degree in animal husbandry to head the Department of Energy.  Goldman Sachs, I believe, has 6 representatives in the Trump regime.  How is this draining the swamp?  The hypocrisy is overwhelming.  We are hurling towards a dictatorship.

I march because I have three relatives that have health insurance because of the ACA.  One is disabled.  Another is taking care of a wife with Alzheimer’s  24/7 and is in poor health himself.  You are taking their health care away from them without an alternative plan in place.  I am on Social Security and Medicare and you want to mess with that. If you think the protest marches are large now, just wait till the gray hairs join in.  Retiring from an elementary school in a disadvantaged neighborhood,  I know charter schools are not the answer.  They will be left behind.

I march for an investigation into the failed Yemen raid.  Will it be as vigorously investigated as Benghazi?  Was Trump really eating his dinner when he authorized the raid and not in the Situation Room? An unconstitutional ban on immigration from 7 Muslim countries does not keep us safe. It is an optic of weakness and fear and has made this nation a continued target of hatred.  Trump will continue to isolate himself as he did not go to Harley Davidson because he was afraid of protest.  Protests will continue and he will isolate himself in his bedroom tweeting at 3 in the morning because he is a coward.  My dad fought in the Battle of the Bulge during World War 11.  My husband was a Marine in Viet Nam and suffered from PTSD all his life.  In large part, a reason for the failure of our marriage.

I march, I call, I e-mail.  Most of my representatives mailboxes are full.  I hope they are full because of protest but sometimes I feel they are full because our representatives simply don’t want to talk to us.  We, the people, are speaking through our marches and will be speaking in the next election.  Our numbers are large and growing.  The marches only energize us, we see the millions that share our values but the most important reason I march is to say to the world, “America is not Donald Trump and the lock step Republican Party.”