Saturday was the second time in my life I attended a rally, and this one was so much bigger than the one I went to nearly six years ago at the State House, which was to protest a local issue at the university. Saturday’s rally in my small southern city was a sister march to the far bigger march—The Women’s March in Washington, DC. After seeing a post on the Facebook wall of a very distant cousin—were all the marches all over the country anti-Trump marches or women’s rights marches—I decided to write why I chose to participate.
For me, it was because of the fear and uncertainty I feel with the new administration. I have watched our new president change his mind so many times that I truly do not know what he believes. Since many of his cabinet nominees do not share his current views, President Trump tried to explain this by stating, “I want them to be themselves and express their own thoughts, not mine!” So will they follow his view or theirs in making decisions? How do we know?
I worry about our planet, so when I see images of Chinese citizens walking their streets wearing masks to protect themselves from breathing their polluted air, I fear that this could happen here. I remember seeing Grandma carefully saving her newspapers in the kitchen and then tying them in bundles for recycling day, so I purchased a wheeled-garbage can so she could move the heavy load to the street. Someone told me that while in the hospital, Grandpa asked if someone had taken care of the recycling. He used to call the local chemical company to complain about their noxious odors because he knew they were dangerous, so you see, environmental issues are in my DNA.
Does President Trump dismiss the idea of climate change, because on March 21, 2016 he said, “I’m not a great believer in man-made climate change,” or has he changed his mind, since he stated on November 22, 2016 that “I have an open mind to it,” which is a reference to the Paris climate accord? I rallied for our planet, because we no longer have the time to get it wrong.
I worry about our health care, because I don’t believe he can repeal and replace it as quickly as he claimed on January 11, 2017: “We’re going to be submitting—as soon as our secretary’s approved, almost simultaneously, shortly thereafter, a plan. It’ll be repeal and replace. It will be essentially simultaneously.”
I doubt the speediness of the repeal and replace when no one before him could come up with a plan. I fear that all the good things will not remain and people will die if done wrong and in haste, so I rallied for our health.
I know that one of you went to Planned Parenthood for your annual exam, because your job as a teacher at the charter school did not permit you to leave early enough to make an appointment with a “regular ob/gyn.” It was not for an abortion, but for simple women’s health care. So I rallied for the continuance of Planned Parenthood funding and also for the right of women to choose.
Seeing the involvement of Russia in our electoral process and the bromance between our president and the Russian president makes me particularly uneasy. Knowing about Grandpa’s life in the Soviet Union, I am sure you can understand my discomfort regarding a cozy relationship with the country where he lived under a regime of censorship and fear, and where several members of his family died under questionable circumstances. So I rallied for the investigations regarding communications between Russia and anyone in the Trump circle to be completed, regardless of the outcome.
I rallied for good education for your children, which I fear under a Secretary of Education with no experience in public schools; for civil rights to continue to move forward, not backward; for equal pay for women; for women to always be treated with respect; for common sense gun laws so we do not see another Sandy Hook; for nuclear weapons to be off the table. Those are just a few of the reasons I attended the rally this past weekend.
I want to give our new president a chance, but he needs to convince every citizen that he is committed to all of us, not just try to persuade himself that he can draw more people to his own gathering, as erroneously stated by his press secretary: “This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period.” (Incidentally, we learned this is called “alternative facts” by the president’s senior advisor, Kellyanne Conway.)
But he has not begun to convince me of his sincerity and honesty or erase many of his campaign’s despicable actions from my memory, so he has an enormous amount of work to do in that respect. I wonder if he even cares, and feeling that way is sad. I have never had such doubts about a new president.
I need him to get to work for you and for me, and until then, I will continue to watch him very carefully and call my representatives to voice my opinion—positive and negative—as I should as an American. I will watch my representatives and remember who listened to “we the people” when I go to the polls next time. I will not just sit back and complain.
Grandpa never could have been involved in a march or rally like this when he was living in the USSR, so I cherish the freedom that we can do so here.
I am proud of my friend Mary and cousin Susan, who attended the D.C. Women’s March. If not for my darn old hip, I would have been there walking beside them and a few of their closest friends, and I could have witnessed this view firsthand.