Today is the one-year anniversary of the Women’s March 2017, which was a worldwide protest, essentially against Donald Trump and his words, actions, and deeds. The Women’s March is more than that, of course, as the march advocates for legislation and policies regarding human rights, women’s rights, immigration reform, healthcare reform, racial equality, and worker’s rights.
Today’s anniversary Women’s March, January 18th, 2018, is celebrated as Power to the Polls.
I have never marched. Ever. In any march, anywhere, at anytime. I have never attended a protest or a political rally. Ever. I cannot claim the title of activist.
BUT THESE TIMES CALL FOR ACTION!
Succinctly, I refuse to accept how Donald Trump acts and behaves towards the population, and how the Republican congress drool over him. There is nothing normal about what is happening with Trump and the Republican-controlled congress. On almost any topic, I disagree.
Yes, science is real. Yes, climate change is for real. Yes, children matter. Yes, women matter.
My entire adult life I have toiled in the trenches of fire department public safety work to care for all people, to protect all life, and to take care for the community, the commons, the people. It’s never mattered to me if the patients I encountered where women or men, brown or white, rich or poor, gay or straight. My mission was to steward the public’s resources well and deliver exceptional care to the community. This is what firefighters do.
How Donald Trump talks about women, people of color, homosexuals, and how he attacks people- his own leadership- in public is absolutely astounding to me. It’s unprofessional, lacks decency, and is disrespectful.
What’s worse, is that people support this man! Not only support, but fall all over themselves to please “daddy.” It’s grotesque.
I have experienced a lot of frustration over the last year because I see the crumbling of norms of decency and I don’t know how to respond. I have felt powerless to affect change.
As I sit here and type, I am still smiling over my first march today. I TOOK ACTION. I GOT INVOLVED. I STOOD IN SOLIDARITY WITH WOMEN AND MEN. I can’t tell you how good it feels to be elbow to elbow with thousands of people all expressing their frustration with Donald Trump and Republicans.
I walked next to a senior woman who held my elbow as we walked across the icy roads. I had just met her. She stood to my left. On my right, marched a young, male leader of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA). We talked, we commiserated, we acknowledge each other’s frustrations and disappointments over the last year.
The march ended in a park and several women took to the stage to share stories of solidarity, to share words of encouragement, and to encourage continued action in the fight against Trump and what he stands for.
It was a peaceful and encouraging march. I feel good. I like that I took action, that I did something. I was afraid to go, because I wasn’t sure if men would be welcome. I am so glad I went. There were hundreds of men, kids, dogs, and people from every walk of life.
There was a moment after the march where I was literally moved to tears. A young brown-skinned child, about eight years old, stood with a sign that said her dad had been deported. I stopped in front of her and said something along the lines of, “are you serious, your dad got deported!?” Yes, she said, several years ago. I gave her a hug and told her, “that was from your dad.” She welled up with tears and so did I.
The march started with a prayer from a Native American man, celebrating the beauty of women and their likeness to Mother Earth. My march ended with me shaking hands with the young DSA member, Josh, and saying, “I will see you tomorrow at the meeting.” I will be there. I am getting involved, it’s time.
In closing, I have a wife, a daughter, a mother and many other wonderful women in my life who have made a profound difference for me; women whom I love. I refuse to accept Donald Trump and his denigration of women and people of color. At every turn where I can say no to hatred, fear, and ignorance, I will. Where I can embrace cooperation, equality, and common human decency, I will embrace it.
Thank you, ladies, for leading our country to a better place today.