An old Chinese curse laments: may you live in interesting times
One week ago today I was in Washington D.C. marching with family. Wrapped in the arms of strangers, we walked, we talked, we laughed, we chanted, we cried, and we cared for one another. I have never felt so at peace, so safe, and so understood.
1.2 million. That is the official count. 1.2 million women, men, and children descended upon our nation’s capital to show our new leader that we are here and we will hold him accountable. 1.2 million.
I left the march that day completely inspired. Ready to fight for the democracy I love. Energized.
But as Monday turned into Tuesday, turned into Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, I began to grow genuinely afraid for my country. It became more clear to me that the minority of my fellow countryfolk did not, in fact, vote for a leader I disapprove of, they voted for a rich man who wants to be a king. Our new president has relinquished all responsibility to his neo-Nazi advisor, while he binge watches Fox News, dines on Lays potato chips, and obsesses over inaugural crowd size.
I go to bed each night and have nightmares of what is happening in our government. I awake each morning afraid of what underhanded undoing happened to the country I love while I slept. I have never been so afraid in my entire life.
And yet, there are still people who refuse to admit there is anything to worry about. Our government is orchestrating a plan to strip hard-working Americans of their much-needed healthcare, are gleeful at the opportunity to tell women here and around the world that their uteri belong to the United States government, are exuberant at the prospect of allowing Big Oil companies to desecrate tribal lands, pollute our rivers, our soil, and our air for profit, and they laugh as they deny refuge to Muslim women, men, and children who are victims of wars we started, we perpetuate, and we ignore. Trump supporters stand by with a smug smile on their faces and say “just give him a chance.”
I have never felt so helpless to stop something in my entire life. I spent my years as an undergrad studying Russia’s fall into a Dictatorship and Hitler’s rise to Fascism. This week rang all-too-familiar in my ears. When I hear White House advisors slandering the media, putting religion before country, and outright lying over and over again to perpetuate their agenda, it’s like I’m reading my history books. This cannot be real. This cannot be the country I love. This cannot be 2017.
The only solace for me is to know there are millions of people out there whose voices yelled in solidarity with mine last week. Whose cheers rolled through a crowd of 1.2 million people like an infectious wave. Whose hearts were open and kind to me.
Yes. I have hope. I have hope that we will not only be voices for ourselves, but voices for those who cannot speak, who won’t speak, who have to hide in the shadows, and who need strong shoulders upon which to stand. We will be together and we will fight for each other. With our elbows locked and our feet securely grounded, we will inch closer and closer toward that more perfect union . . . not for some, but for all. We are a message. We are an answer. We are a people. We are all brothers and sisters, we are all flesh and blood, we are all kindness, and energy, and love.
Love and peace to you,