Saturday, January 21, 2017

Why I March Today (It might not be what you think)

Before I answer that question, I feel the need to provide full disclosure---I did not vote for Hillary.  I also did not vote for Donald.  I DID vote on election day, but I did not vote for the office of president.  I couldn't.  I wanted to vote for a candidate that I could believe in, someone who could inspire me, someone of integrity, someone who could lead this great nation to an even greater place (Yes, Donald, this country doesn't need you to lead it to greatness; it's already there. Floundering a bit these days, but it is still great, nonetheless).  I did not want to cast a vote in rejection of the opposition, because I don't believe it is wise to base a political stance on this notion. Had I done it anyway, I would have felt I was prostituting myself.  So, I chose to leave the decision to those for whom a clear choice was apparent. It's okay if you have strong opposition to my decision; I am the one who has to live with it. I will love you anyway.  I'm providing full disclosure for two reasons: 1. Because of my visceral dislike of Donald, many family and friends think I voted for Hillary and bash me for it, and 2. Because of my visceral dislike for Donald, many family and friends think I voted for Hillary and support me in it.  I feel as if I am deceiving both, and, regardless of what comes, I cannot lie or leave a perception that is untrue. For me, this is an integrity issue. That's it in a nutshell.

If you wish to be angry at someone, be angry with our political figures, as they did not give us clear and viable candidates.  I feel THEY have prostituted themselves.  For years. On both sides of the fence.  They have four years to make this right---both sides need to get to work and soon.

Why I'm marching?  I am marching for social justice.  I am not marching because I am a woman. I am not marching because Donald is a lecher, although that does come into play in my justification. I am marching because I want my daughter, my daughter-in-law, and my granddaughters to know that the way this nation treats women, the poor, the people of color, the immigrants (legal and illegal), is not acceptable.  Donald Trump and his behavior is just a symptom of a wider problem and a dangerous mindset that cannot continue to be given a pass.

I am marching because I remember a small group of teenage boys who thought it was acceptable to put their penises in my mouth. I was three and I remember.  I was 3 years old and I remember!  I am marching because I remember a boy who sat me on his naked lap when I was six or seven.  In both cases, I did not understand what was happening and yet I can still feel the sense of confusion that ran through me. I am marching because I remember being a 13 year old girl who was told by a high school boy to "come sit on my lap and tell me the first thing that pops up."  I remember the moment in 7th grade when I bent over to pick something up off the floor and an 8th grade boy cupped both of my budding breasts in his hands and laughed at me when my face turned red.  I can still feel the shame of that moment.  I am marching because I remember the moment as a loving and innocent 14 year old when my sister's new husband pretended to kiss me on my cheek but instead stuck his tongue in my mouth. To this day, the smell of Scotch makes me sick. I was devastated for my sister and didn't tell anyone about this for eleven years. I would NEVER have told my school counselor and I AM one! What made these guys think it was okay?  What happened to me is MILD in comparison to what has happened to others, both male and female, but this is my story to tell and that is theirs.

I am marching because no one, no woman, girl, man, boy, should ever be in a situation to be violated and have it be given a pass.

I am marching because young girls and women have lost their way and think their bodies or their looks are what bring them value. I am marching because my heart hurts with every mirror selfie a girl posts. I am marching with the thought of every text a young girl sends of her breasts, her bootie, or her crotch because a boy asks.  I am marching because of every penis pic girls and women receive unrequested because some guy wants to share his wares.

I am marching because of that day in the dining commons where I served meals as a work study student when a friend refused the plate of food I offered him because a black boy accidentally touched it first. I refused to give him a new plate. That was the moment our friendship ended.  I am marching because I have children in my care at school who live in fear that they will be deported because they have no papers.  They live in greater fear that their parents will be deported instead. The fear is real.

I am marching because I am an educator and public schools across the nation, as well as strong and amazing teachers, are getting the shaft.

I am marching because I believe that every person should have the right to choose for themselves who to love and marry.

I am marching for the disabled, the broken-hearted, the marginalized.

I am marching for those who came before me and those who come after me.

I am marching because someone has to; I am marching because someone NEEDS to.  I'm marching because I need to march for myself.  I am marching because, in this great nation, I can.

But mostly, I march for Jordan, Charlie, Allison M, and June-baby girl-to-come.  And I march for Sarah, Amy, Nicole, Reece, and Lily D., Allison DG, Courtney, and Avery, Jessica, Elizabeth, and Faith, Paula, Shannon, Tatiana, Isabelle, Zoe, and Lily, Michele, Hannah, and Olivia, Renee, Eleanor, and Josephine, Heather and Kelly, and all Desmarais and non-Desmarais women I know and love.  Truth be told, some of these women don't want me marching for them. I will march for them, anyway, because in the long run, it impacts them, too.

I march because a mindset needs to be changed and I can only empower myself.

I believe ALL women should be marching together, both the pro-choice and the pro-life.

I challenge the men in our lives to march, as well, as I believe strongly that they should be the ones rising to speak against the lechers in our society who give men a bad name.  I feel so strongly that every man in this nation should have responded to Donald Trump and his comments about grabbing a woman "in the pussy" as they would have had he expelled methane from his backend---by moving far out of reach and laying the blame where it needed to be placed---and by refusing to stand by his nomination for president. This one will be hard to forgive, men.

And 'though I wish I could say it with much greater eloquence today, I march for you.

Xoxoxo Jan

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