Monday, January 23, 2017

What a Difference a Year Makes (Political)

As much as I try, I can't remember a lot of what happened in 2016, other than politics. So, guess I'd better just get all that out of the way in order to write my thoughts about it all. NOTE: for my own reasons, I refuse to mention the name of the new President as, just like John Lewis, I consider him an illegitimate president. There.

I supported Bernie Sanders all the way as I considered him to be the best hope for the country. And still do. Unfortunately, I had to cast my vote for Hillary Clinton since, unlike Canada, for one, we can really only choose between two political parties. I've always been a Democrat, so there you have it. I would have liked her to win the race, if only to see our first woman President. But, for a number of reasons, some of them quite illegal or unfair, that didn't happen. As much as so many people and organizations tried to void the election, the orange one was inaugurated several days ago.

Ever since the election in November, I've gone through a long period of depression, disbelief, and fear for the coming four years. As a lifelong feminist and progressive, I've worked hard for women's and LGBTQ issues for almost 50 of my 70 years. I loved seeing much of that work pay off, from the legalization of abortion rights to same-sex marriage. It has been quite a wonderful period to experience passage of the Voting Rights Act, the Civil Rights Act, the Age Discrimination Act, the Equal Opportunity Act, as well as many others. I've seen Medicare come into being and now appreciate receiving it after going for too many years with no health insurance. I appreciate the passage of ACA (Obamacare) that provides health insurance for so many. I've experienced the first black President in the country and appreciated all that he has accomplished. Sure, he wasn't perfect. But he worked for the people of the country and considered their needs.

And now there's today. For me, as well as so many others, this is truly a frightening time. In my humble opinion, the new "president" has no right to that title. I won't go into what a terrible person he is as I'm sure everyone is aware of that. Needless to say, the turnout of millions of people at the Women's Marches around the country and world the day after the inauguration shows that I am not alone in my beliefs and fears. Standing and walking among approximately 40,000 women, men, and children in the San Diego march provided some hope, as long as we can keep the momentum going. It was amazing and heartening to see so many people marching, even in places as remote as Antarctica.

So many people have now joined Planned Parenthood, the ACLU, and many other organizations that actually help people rather than ignore their needs. So many white people are now questioning their own bias against black people and attempting to understand and correct those beliefs. I hope this pushback against he-who-will-not-be-named will continue.

But, it's a frightening time, especially to be a woman, or someone of another color, or a Muslim, or an Hispanic, or a welfare and/or food stamp recipient, or someone who is unemployed or underemployed. It is a frightening time to be gay or LGBTQ. It is a frightening time to be in poor health, or elderly, or disabled in some way. It is a frightening time to be anti-war. It is a frightening time to be poor.

But, as difficult as the coming four years promises to be, I see hope...on one condition. We need to be there for each other. We need love to banish all the hate that promises to come. We need to talk with each other, to forgive each other for all the things we've done or said. We need to stand with each other, help each other, appreciate our differences, come together, become truly amazing people. As many of us as possible need to become politically active and keep our elected leaders informed of our wishes and needs for the country. We cannot just stand by and accept whatever crap is pushed upon us. No. It can no longer be that way.

We must keep marching together for as long as we can.

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