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The March, Part 1: This Is What Democracy Looks Like

Last time, I posted a blog about my disappointment in/incredulity at my fellow white Americans who voted for Trump.

A lot of people loved it and a lot of people hated it. A lot of people love Trump and a lot of people hate him. This is where we find ourselves.

I have family relationships that are now strained, friend relationships that are strained, friend relationships whose status is just…unknown. I have made new friends, I have lost some friends. I have trolls who are now responding to my blog and social media because I am speaking out against Trump and questioning voters who voted for him.

It’s a strange time for all of us. I think we can all agree on that.

My last post was an outlet for how I was feeling. We are all processing these events in our own way. You don’t have to like it. I stand by it. Based on my life experiences, that’s how I was feeling. Based on your life experiences, you can like it or hate it. If you liked it, I hope it helped you. If you hated it, I hope it is part of one of many difficult conversations we all have to have at some point. If you hated it, let it serve as a reminder from me that we are all still here, no matter how much you want us to go away. We’re not moving to Canada. Your candidate won but you still have to deal with us.

Another outlet for me was the Women’s March on Washington. It was the honor and privilege of a lifetime to attend the event. I posted on Facebook why I was marching and I’ll post it here again:

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I have decided to do multiple posts on the March, as I am still processing it and it’s something so much larger than myself. I want to do it justice. I hope you enjoy Part 1:

The March, Part 1: This Is What Democracy Looks Like

I rode a bus from Atlanta with about 50 other women and a few men. They were all different shades of white, black, brown. My incredible, supportive husband dropped my friend and me off. Shout-out to him and all the men (including my dad, my father-in-law, my brother, my cousin, my friends’ husbands) who support women and their need to march.

There were six buses going from Atlanta, with many more from other cities/towns in GA. It appeared that most of the women on my bus were from inside the perimeter but there were some of us from OTP. I have never done anything like this before in my life, and I had my share of anxiety about the whole thing. Would it be safe? Would the other women be nice? Would someone near me get me drawn into a fight and get me arrested? Would the buses have a wreck or break down? (One did break down but made it in time for the march.) Would I have to go to the bathroom when no porta-potty was around? These are the things I thought about as I got on the bus.

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Lining up to get on the bus! #ATL

First of all, the bus was lovely. It was like an airplane, with tv screens, personal lights, air vents and charging outlets at every seat. There was a bathroom that held up until near the end. They stopped every few hours for bathrooms, food and leg stretches. I would like to shout out to the Flyin’ J where we stopped twice — the nicest workers and cleanest restrooms ever. We were treated with kindness and respect by everyone when we stopped and I can only imagine what people thought when six buses of women wearing “Nasty Woman” and “Women’s March” shirts and matching pink knitted hats entered the truck stop. Not one person said anything ugly to us. Not one.

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2:00 a.m. Many thanks to Flyin’ J’s for the oasis they provided us.

The bus drivers were also lovely. The loveliest. They sang softly to us to wake us up (“wake up, sleepyheads, it’s time for a poopy stop!”) and took such good care of us. They supported us completely and told us so. They told us that they would be marching with us if they didn’t have to sleep so they could get us home. Our main driver, Lamont, was full of kindness and love and good humor. I feel so fortunate to have had him as a part of my March experience, and consider him, his co-workers and his company Atlantic to be a big part of its success.

The women around me on the bus were quiet and sleeping for most of the trip. We chatted a bit and shared info but for the most part, tried to rest. The bus captains were absolute champions. They kept us informed and organized. They answered our questions. They were tough as nails. Any anxiety about this trip diminished as I saw how competent and fearless they were.

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My bus mates and rockin’ bus captains!

(Note: Sleeping on a bus is an under-appreciated aspect of protesting. There is literally no comfortable sleeping position in a bus seat, no matter how hard we tried. Eventually, your body gives up and you will sleep a fitful sleep of a few hours. You consider lying down in the aisle. You study how others are sleeping and try to make it work. You remind yourself why you are doing this and you don’t complain. Well, maybe you do a little. You’re not perfect, ok? So I now want to say to civil rights protesters like John Lewis, “thank you for getting your skull cracked, for getting arrested and beaten, and for sleeping on a bus for us.”)

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Not me or my bus, but basically all of us on my bus.

Once we finally arrived after 12 hours of travel, we pulled up to RFK Stadium and saw bus after bus after bus. I saw a sea of pink hats walking toward the Rally location. I felt the energy. I felt alive. I felt the love. I knew that missing two nights of sleep was a small sacrifice to be able to be a part of this historic and important event.

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Not the best photo quality but it was a marvel to see.

Stay tuned for Part 2!

 

 

Be The Change

As you may have learned from my last post, I was devastated by our election results.

And I still am.

It’s a combination of :

-Disbelief that so many people would believe in and vote for a rich guy from a reality-show, who also happens to be bigoted, divisive, inexperienced as an elected leader and just…so…mean.

-Sadness that there are so many people who believe only people who look like them, worship like them, love like them, deserve to have the same rights and freedoms as they do.

-Anger that as hard as women, people of color, the LGBTQ community, and non-Christians have worked to gain these same rights, any progress we have made will now be undone.

-Sense of failure that as a parent, I could not protect my children from having to experience this election.

I am still working through all of these emotions and more and will continue to. I am lucky to have some wonderful friends and family who are going through the same thing and we will get each other through it.

What I’ve decided is that what I can control is my own actions. I must now walk the walk for myself, my family, my children, my minority friends and their children, my gay/lesbian friends and their children, and my non-Christian friends and their children and women everywhere.

I am pledging to myself to work in four areas to try to be the change we need in this country: women’s issues, education, the environment, and outreach to marginalized groups. I keep a bullet journal and it has helped me organize myself during this stressful, frightening time. It will also keep me accountable and help me track my work.

So far this week, I have made plans to attend the Million Women March in Washington DC (for women); signed up to volunteer at Books for Africa on Inauguration Day (for education); and I have emailed friends in marginalized groups to start a dialogue on how they are coping and taking care of themselves during the election aftermath (for outreach). And it’s only Wednesday.

This brings me to another important action item: self-care. If you are emotionally distraught over the election, feel targeted by the now emboldened bullies/bigots, or perhaps have strained, damaged or severed relationships post-election, you must take time to care for yourself. However you need to do that. Take care of yourself and then you will be able to take care of others.

If none of this makes any sense to you or you think I am a “whiner” or a “sore loser”, please go away. Truly, from the deepest part of my heart, I have zero interest in you. If you really do want to understand, go read. Go do the work. Yes, I know your crazy candidate won. But the rest of us are all still here. And we are organizing. And we are working hard to make things right. I’m a white, Christian Democrat and I am deeply sorry I haven’t been working this hard before. I am praying a lot about my own failures. But now I’m going to work my ass off. And readers- I would love for you to join me. ❤

Take care of yourselves and each other,

Yellow Daisy Chick

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