I marched in Austin, Texas last Saturday, joining over 45,000* like-minded people around the Texas State Capitol building. I say like-minded, but that's not exactly accurate. We were all quite different. We looked different. We weren’t of the same generation or the same gender. We expressed ourselves differently. We had different reasons for showing up, evidenced by our unique personal styles, signs, t-shirts and headwear. Despite these differences, there was unity. I couldn’t find friends in the crowd, but I got smiles, hugs and chocolate kisses from strangers.
So, why did I march? I'm usually not "that kind" of person. You know, an activist. I went to a Hillary rally in 2008. She wore a mustard yellow pantsuit. I have a t-shirt designed by Tory Burch with the infamous quote “Women’s Rights are Human Rights and …” but beyond that, I stay informed, I rant and rave to anyone who will listen, and I vote. But, hell yes, I was going to march.
I accept that Donald J. Trump is the President of the United States. I get that. In his press release and again in his Inaugural address, he promised to be a President for all Americans. I marched because I wanted our new President to meet me. I wasn't at his rallies or victory stops so this was my way to say “Hello, Mr. President” and let him know that I feel strongly about a few things.
As a woman, I received services at Planned Parenthood. I had limited family leave options when my daughter was born. I struggled to find good, affordable childcare. I worked in hostile work environments. I have been harassed in the workplace. I have always made less money than a man. I lost jobs to the less qualified and put up with shit a man likely wouldn't. And, in recent years, I’m dealing with the dynamics of age discrimination. As Your Office Mom, I marched because the Oval Office job went to a man whose own behavior challenges the notion of acceptable workplace norms, practices, and laws as they stand today. I know my experiences are like many others, yet not vaguely similar to so many more. We all have a story, we’re still writing that story, and Washington impacts our story. I marched because I’m old enough to know things are better than they were, but they are not right, they are not balanced, nor are they just.
But, the real reason I marched is that I needed to be surrounded by like-minded people, of the kindred spirits variety, so I could feel like I wasn't going batshit crazy for a day. So, when can we get together again, people?
Speaking of which, what is next? I saw this on HuffPost and just had to share Sarah Boddy's post: Lots of White Women Marched. Now What?.
*Crowd estimates vary from 45-50,000 based on ATX officials, although some sources suggest a higher turn-out. Let's just say it was amazing!