Saturday, January 21, 2017

Why we marched today (in person and in spirit)

My granddaughter and her spouse marched today in Washington, DC.  I've been so proud all day, just knowing she was representing her whole family.  This evening, a friend of hers asked her on FB why she wanted to accomplish by marching.  This was her response:

 I definitely can't speak for others, but I can tell you why I marched.
• First and foremost, President Trump has repeatedly and publicly spoken in ways that are incredibly disrespectful of women. Not only do I find this personally offensive, I am also incredibly concerned by the fact that one of the most powerful men in the world thinks that this is acceptable behavior. I think that words matter, and his words contribute to a culture where sexual assault is dismissed as “locker room talk”. In a country where 83% of high school girls have admitted to being sexually harassed, I don’t think that it is acceptable to have a President who promotes that kind of thinking.
• I am pro-choice. I know that you don’t feel that way, but I truly believe that decisions about a woman’s body are between the women, her partner, her doctor, and her God. I don’t think that there is a place there for government. It is an incredibly personal decision, and not one that I feel I have a right to judge someone else for making. The right of women to make this choice is under attack, and I’m willing to fight to protect it. (And by the way, I absolutely respect your right to fight against it! That is the amazing thing about living in a free and democratic society – we are entitled to differences of opinion and there are ways for us to express those opinions through protests, through voting, and through communicating with our elected officials.)
• I also am surrounded by many smart, successful, amazing women (married, single, moms, and those without kids). And I have been lucky enough to make myself happy and successful. However, the world is much bigger than the circle of women I know, and many of these women face enormous challenges. Lack of access to affordable child care, lack of ability to take maternity leave or stay home with your kid if he is sick because you are afraid of losing your job. I am blessed to be in a position where I have a loving and supportive partner, good health insurance, and generous family leave policies, but many women are not in that position.

I very much hope that President Trump is successful because having a strong and successful president is in the best interest of all Americans. However, he has made statements and indicated support for policies that go against many of the American values that I think are most important, like tolerance, acceptance, and protecting those who cannot protect themselves. I marched because it is impossible for my elected officials to act on my behalf if they don’t know what I believe. Today, I stood up for what I believe in, because I feel like that is an incredibly patriotic and American thing to do.

I also believe that both liberals and conservatives live in bubbles where they mostly hear from people who think and act like they do, and that isn’t a productive way to solve problems. I think that the United States has some major issues that we need to address, and it is going to take a lot of smart people working very hard to solve them. Neither party has a monopoly on good ideas or smart, innovative, passionate people, and we’ll make a lot more progress towards solving things if we combine the best ideas from all perspectives. So, while I’m not up for name calling and rushes to judgement (like has been done in some of the previous comments on this thread), I’m happy to be a liberal you (and others reading this thread) can talk to! We may not agree on a lot of things, but understanding where somebody else is coming from and practicing empathy for people who see the world from different perspectives is the only way I know of to be part of a strong, thriving democracy.

There is no way I could improve on this.  I'm so proud of you both.

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