I find the fact that these were universally peaceful events to be testament to the power to protest in this country. Recently, when we think about protests, we think about large police presence, looting, violence, and an overall aura of danger. From everything I've seen these events had an aura of unity, of hope, and community. The seemed to be celebrations and most of the photos I've seen involved smiles, as well as some wickedly funny signs.
I said in our most recent podcast - yet to be published - that I think the election of Mr. Trump will prove to be a positive thing when analyzed in the context of time. If anything, it was a wake-up call and a call-to-action, and yesterday that call was hear (and demonstrated) loud and clear. This most recent election was the most divisive event in my memory, and events like today are a stark reminder that we haven't forgotten how do "do" unity.
It wasn't about a candidate. It wasn't about a political agenda. It wasn't about I'm-right-so-you're-wrong. It was about solidarity in declaring the dignity of personhood. I'd go so far as to say it was a necessary healing event, and it reminded everyone in the power of the people. That power has been dormant for a long time. Sure, we have the power of our vote at the ballot box, but this kind of power is a more active and visible one. That's one of the things that makes it so important.
To be honest, though - I'm not sure that I noticed a consistent message. Some were there to express support for womanhood in general. Others were there for LGBT causes, and Black Lives Matter. Many were seemingly there in hopes they could affect the election, but that ship has sailed baby and it ain't coming back. The question of "Is this a movement or a moment in time?" still lingers because if it's a Movement I'm still looking for the theme and the goal. Getting our President to voluntarily leave, or even change, isn't gonna happen. Show of solidarity? Excellent. Sense of community? Off the charts.
More importantly, do I sense that it will have any affect at all to substantively affect anything that happens politically afterwards? Serious doubts.... Does that mean I don't feel it was a waste of time or purely symbolic? Of course not. But if people think that the good feeling that they shared yesterday will turn itself into change I fear they're going to be disappointed. In other words, although I'd love to be proven wrong, my expectations are low.
All that said - I did not attend the march here in PHX. I was there in spirit, but I was not one of the tens of thousands who marched here in Phoenix. I spent the balance of the day with wonderful Maria, and taking care of some things in preparation for a very busy next several weeks.
I think I've only been in two "marches" over the course of my life. One was the Trans March prior to the San Francisco Pride Parade in 2008. The other was an effort form a human chain across the bridge between Mt. Pleasant and Charleston SC a couple of years ago after the shootings in the church there. Both were very impressive, empowering events. I'm sure those who participated yesterday came away with a renewed sent of people-power, and I hope it lasts.
For as many people who showed up to march yesterday, it's important to note that the essence of what they were marching for was not universally felt. One Friend on FB shared a different perspective:
To all the Women Million Marchers - don't include me in your number. I do not need nor want anyone to march for me based on my gender. You say, "but what will we tell our daughters?" How about sometimes people don't get their own way. Take it on the chin and keep on going, like women always have. Pick yourself up and march figuratively, not literally, back to your jobs or school. You wanted change - we got change. You want gender fluidity - then don't vote for someone based on gender. Trump said some really crude and obscene things. That doesn't mean you fight back with crude and obscene signs to protest. We all have hopes and dreams for our children and grandchildren. Give our new President an opportunity to get to work to perhaps change the things he can. You want your voices heard but you're just making noise. Like fingernails on a chalkboard noise.This Friend is a real friend - someone I've known for almost a quarter century. I respect her, and most importantly I like her. Whether I agree with her or not (I don't) is unimportant, and it doesn't affect how I feel about her. I'm not going to argue with her, un-Friend her, or demean her perspective in any way. I'm sure I can find other similar feelings. My point is that what happened was powerful, but it certainly wasn't universal.
Talking about different perspectives and FB, I made a recent statement there that I wasn't planning to use that forum to talk about a number of things. As will explained in an upcoming Podcast episode, I perceive FB to server a purpose, but at the end of the day it's more toxic than beneficial.
One of the items I mentioned was the recent decision by President Obama to commute the sentence of Chelsea Manning. I had a couple of people write to me to ask my opinion in private. I'll share what I wrote in response.
You asked about my thoughts on Chelsea Manning....I think it was a mistake to commute her sentence, for a number of reasons. First, I believe one of the reasons she was pardoned was specifically because she's trans. I don't think it would have happened otherwise. If we're truly asking for equal rights, not "special" rights, then this violates that end. Second, what she did was treason. I've done top secret DoD work and I'm well aware of the oath that is taken to know what people in those roles come to know. To make a decision that secret information should be public information isn't up to her, and she put the lives of people she'll never know at risk. Third, I find it troublesome how so many in the Trans community are so quick to celebrate her and they have absolutely no clue as to what she's done. All they know is that she's trans and they're trans so they support her for that reason alone. It doesn't work like that. And lastly, I fear that the community will look to her as a leadership voice. The community is starved for one - Caitlyn Jenner did not turn out to be that person for many. But hers is a tainted legacy and if she's smart she'll lay low. But I doubt that will happen, and it will reflect negatively on many of us. Criminals, mentally ill, perverts, narcissists .... The parade continues. Not good.So there. That's how I feel. I suppose time will tell.....
And lastly this morning, I feel like I might be coming down with a cold or something. I can't even remember the last time I was ill, as in sort throat/stuffy nose/no energy/fever ill. It's been years. But I have the beginnings of it and I'm rushing to try to quash it before it gets going. Between all the travel I've been doing, the hectic schedule, and the many people I know who are ALREADY sick it's a wonder I've been as healthy as I have.
I've got a guest arriving later in the week so I want to take care of it by then. In the meantime, I've got some work stuff, some cleaning, preparing, nesting....and FOOTBALL...to take care of today.