Warning: Contains profanity.
In the seven years I have been writing this blog, I don't think I have ever written a political post, or even written one that contains a whiff of politics. But, the times are changing; Donald Trump was just elected as 45th president of this great country and boy, are people mad about that. My intention for this post is to share my opinion and viewpoint, not to change yours.
This post isn't about President Trump though. It is more about the recent Women's March that took place on January 20, 2017, the day after Trump's inauguration, in major cities all over the United States and Canada. It's also about being a woman in this country. Most importantly though, it is about standing up for your beliefs, even when you are criticized for them.
I am going to preface this by saying I did not attend the Women's March. All of my information is from people who did attend as well as both printed and online media sources. I mention this because I want the reader to know that if you are going to comment on this post or argue facts, you need to know that I did a LOT of fact checking for this post. However the reality is, media sources are not always accurate. The other reality is that if you did attend the march and something I said wasn't true in your experience, it doesn't mean what I said was necessarily false. It just means that may not have been your experience.
I consciously chose not to attend the Women's March. It wasn't because I was too busy or dealing with illness issues. There was a march held about two hours from my home. I had every opportunity to attend one.
So why didn't I?
I didn't believe in it.
It was that simple.
Now you have to know a few things about me before I delve further into my reasons for not attending the march. I am 45 years old. I am considered middle-class. The children in my immediate family (my husband's children) consist of three women and a man. The women range in age from 20-34 I believe. I have a boatload of women friends. I have a mother, aunts, goddaughters and female cousins. I am a school nurse who only works a minimal amount of hours most months due to a life-changing physical disability. I am a practicing Christian who worships at a liberal church, a United Church of Christ. I live in Massachusetts, one of the bluest states in the country. I believe in legalized marijuana, gay marriage, and that every American citizen should have the right to defend their person and property and if that involves a gun, so be it. I am anti-death penalty and pro-life. People have told me because of my beliefs, I am a walking contradiction of sorts. My reply is always, "I am just me, take it or leave it."
I personally know at least twenty people (women and men) that attended one of the marches on January 20th. And I feel the need to make it clear that I don't just know these people. Most of them are an intimate part of my life, people whom I love, cherish, and respect. If I had to classify them as liberal or conservative, I would tell you that all of my friends who attended the march, without exception, are very liberal. If you turned around and asked me the same question about myself, I would tell you that I used to call myself liberal and now, I just don't classify myself at all.
Despite the fact that I disagreed with the march, I felt no anger or animosity to those friends of mine who did attend. I viewed their photos and status updates about the march on social media. I will be honest with you, that was a bit of a struggle for me at times but I finally came to the conclusion that I was happy that people I love were participating in something they felt passionate about. I know my friends and I know where they come from; they come from a place of love.
And while I also come from a place of love, I absolutely disagree with the Women's March. However on social media, I wasn't reading about many other women disagreeing with the march. Well, not at first anyways. It took a post from a friend of a friend to make me fully realize just how very liberal my Facebook friend list is. And among the friends that are conservative, not many of them were saying too much on the topic. Ultimately, that is what drove me to write this post today. This is my attempt to let those women know that they are not alone. You may feel that the extreme left is drowning you out, but there are many of us out there who are either conservative or who tend to walk the middle of the road.
To me, the term "Women's March" is a misnomer and frankly, a bunch of crap. It was the first thing that drove me away from even considering a trip to D.C. or Boston. If I was asked to name the march, it would have had a title like, "Anti-Trump Rally" or "The Liberal March." It drives me crazy when people and/or groups pretend to be something they are not. If you want to organize a protest against Trump, go for it, but don't use the term "Women's March" to try and justify that this march is for the good of all women. It certainly is not for the good of THIS woman.
I wonder if all the women in America understood that this Women's March had partners such as Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice America sponsoring the event? Maybe they did know and it didn't matter to them because they are pro-choice? Originally, there were also pro-life movement partners for the march, such as New Wave Feminists and Students for Life, listed as sponsors. However right before the march, the organization, New Wave Feminists, was removed from the list of partners with the following explanation: "The women's march is pro-choice and that has been our stance since day one. We want to assure all of our partners, as well as participants, that we are pro-choice." Apparently the pro-life group was removed after it went public that they were a partner of the march. The backlash from the pro-choice movement was enough to revoke the partnership of pro-life movements.
Outside of the abortion factor, I'm not against Planned Parenthood or any other organization that acts on behalf of women, but how can you have a Women's March and exclude a large percentage of women? According to a Gallup Poll done in 2016, 46% of women in this country are pro-life. Just because someone is pro-life does not mean they agree with the comments made by president Trump during his election campaign. However, I, in good conscience, could never attend an event where a specific agenda like pro-choice is promoted when I cannot then assert my opinion about being pro-life, without being hassled. And if you go do your own Google search about what happened to pro-lifers at this march, you will see that they were indeed hassled.
And it worked out that it was the best choice for me. I think if I had gone and had to be surrounded by women wearing their "pussy hats", I would have lost my shit. Before the march, I honestly did not get the whole hat thing. I asked my husband and he had no idea. I googled it and saw article after article about these "pussy hats" being a slap in the face to President Trump.
And yes, I know about the whole drama surrounding the Trump and Billy Bush conversation. I've known about it since the news ran it ad nauseum for months. It was an incredibly stupid thing for Trump to say and I agree that it is absolutely a slap in the face to women in this country; especially when you also factor in the numerous other inappropriate comments he has made against women.
But, I still didn't get it.
So I then asked one of my girlfriends and she echoed the sentiment of many of my other girlfriends on social media the day of the march: the wearing of the "pussy hat" was a symbolic gesture to reclaim the word pussy from a misogynistic man who feels that he can get whatever he wants from a woman, whether it be because he is a man or because he is THE Donald J. Trump.
Listen, I don't know about the rest of you, but where I grew up and even now with the friends and social circle that I keep, the word pussy is NOT a word that is used in general conversation. It is a derogatory term, similar to the way "dick" is used, as a term of offense. It is a term of nastiness and degradation. Who the heck would want to reclaim a word like that? To me, the whole "pussy hat' situation didn't raise women up, it degraded them. It brought us down that much closer to Donald J. Trump.
I truly believe that we, as women, can be a mighty force to be reckoned with in the right circumstances. To me, the right circumstances are ones in which we try to understand women who think differently than us, who live differently than us, and who vote differently than us. I recently received an inbox message on Facebook from an acquaintance who verbalized to me that she was surprised that I voted for Trump in this last election. I asked her what she was talking about. She then proceeded to tell me that she saw a Facebook post of mine in which it seemed obvious that I was against the Women's March. I told her that first off, I was against the march and secondly, I did not vote for Trump. She was surprised. She was even more surprised when I told her that it was really none of her business if I had voted for him.
Why do we, as women, struggle so much to accept each other's differences? Why do we always look at each other in black and white terms when more often, we are all working in a shade of gray?
I have a dear friend, who differs from me on many political views and opinions, who posted recently on Facebook about the fact that she learns a lot from reading about, and listening to, opinions different than her own. She feels that while she is strong in her convictions, that doesn't mean that she is too above anybody else to hear them out, even if she knows she will not agree with them. That, I think, is the type of woman that I will strive to be more like...the type of woman that maybe we should all strive to be like.
Sunday, January 1, 2017
Below is the Facebook status update I wrote this morning. It pretty much sums up my thought about embarking on a new year...
I've been thinking a lot the past few days about 2016. Believe it or not, I am not one to do that or get all hyped up about a New Year, maybe because for me, every day is a fresh start.
I've been reading a lot on FB about how horrible 2016 was and how people couldn't wait to start a new year. For me, 2016 was pretty lousy, but there were two wonderful event highlights that stood out: our Ireland trip and my Kripalu yoga retreat. When going through our wonderful moments jar last night, I got to remember that there were other great moments too. I think a lot of those memories got lost and overshadowed by all the bad.
But, there was a ton of sadness and pain, both physical and emotional. When I think about that lately though, I realize that having a year like 2016 is just a part of life. Nobody ever promised me that life would be easy or filled with solely happy moments and days. We always expect it will be though, don't we?
I got a lot out of 2016. I learned a ton about who I am and I am definitely not the same person I was on this day last year. After spending my entire life believing the statement that, "you can choose your friends, but you can't choose your family". I have learned that is no longer true for me: you CAN choose your family. I chose this past year to sever ties with a family member who brought me more stress, drama, and negativity than what was healthy for me. On the opposite end of the spectrum, I lost somebody dear to me who was not blood related, but family nonetheless. Essentially, I lost two brothers in one month. And, a sister.
I learned to say "no" and that I get to choose what is brought to my door and what/who I am willing to sacrifice my time and health for....that list got much shorter in 2016.
I learned who will be there for me when the shit hits the fan and when the days are dark and long. I had more darker days than I care to remember, especially this past fall...but those days reminded me of how strong I am. I learned what it really means for ME to be a friend and the value of what it means to truly connect with a person on all levels. I learned the importance of not taking my life for granted.
My relationship with God and my church changed. My relationship with my husband changed. My relationship with myself changed. Pretty big stuff.
I pray that each and every one of you have a 2017 that brings you nothing but happiness, peace, love, and good health. And for the times that it doesn't, I pray that it brings you the strength to get through the bad times and people by your side to help carry your through it.
Happy New Year!! <