So taking part in the Women's March in Chicago last week was big for me. I have some strong opinions, but have never actually taken part in a political protest before. In fact, before the 2016 election, (my 9th Presidential) I'd only ever been to one political rally. In 1992, when Bill Clinton came to Boston, my former husband was interested in going, so I went along.
This year was different. No longer married, I had no partner to spur me on, nor to dissuade me. None of my friends invited me to join them. In fact, none of my friends were able to join me when I invited them. Not to the Bernie Sanders event, not to support Tammy Duckworth's Senate campaign, and finally, the Women's March. I went alone.
I'm a writer, not a doer. An introvert who would rather stay home and read than do just about anything. This is way outside my comfort zone. But to do nothing makes me even more uncomfortable.
So I got off the couch. I joined the crowds of women and not a few men on the early train into Chicago on a Saturday morning. The mood was uplifting. The conductors seemed especially friendly and helpful. They seemed to take a special joy in their work that day, in support of our cause.
Smiles and comraderie abounded in my fellow travellers and I was adopted into a few different groups along the way. The press of the crowds in the city made staying together an exercise in futility, so I let my new friends slip away and turned around to make more new friends. The feeling of "we're in this together" was strong. There were a few angry anti-Trump chants, the occasional profanity-laced sign, but the overwhelming vibe was that of positivity. A lot of humor, a lot of solidarity among the ages, from strollers to great-grandmas.
Chicago Women's March 1/21/17 photo by PHermes
We're all in this together. A little incredulous, as seen in the signs of "I can't believe I still have to protest this shit." We've been shocked out of our complacency. Yes, I am incredulous that a bunch of men still think it's their role in society to control women's choices by legislation. Not sure what to think about the so-called democratic process that put a madman in the White House, but it sure got my attention.
And now I've had a week to process the events, amid the daily onslaught of executive orders coming from said madman. And a few days sick in bed to hide away from the news. Nothing's changed, and there's much work to do.
If you're comfortable with the madman in the White House, then sit back and enjoy the ride. I'm not, and I most certainly will not sit down and shut up, no matter how nicely you ask. This is our new reality and we all have to deal with all of it.