The Next Four Years

I usually follow the rules. Some of you who know me might scoff at that statement. But I believe in rules. I went to Catholic school where we had lots of rules. And I was always afraid to break the rules. I guess I was afraid of hell. I’m not afraid anymore, but I still believe in rules.

I am a retired teacher. I taught children about rules. We have rules in our society. We treat our citizens respectfully. We don’t mock people with disabilities. We learn about different cultures and understand that we are a nation of immigrants. Those cultures enhance us as a society. That is what I taught my students.

But then we had a candidate for president that didn’t follow the rules. He mocked a reporter with disabilities. He said he will build a wall to keep out immigrants. He talked about women like they were property, not equal human beings.

I wouldn’t say I broke the rules, but I decided to stand up to the person who had violated them. And why is this on a travel blog? This trip was 1400 miles in 50 hours. Not my normal vacation itinerary. Destination: Washington, D.C., the day after the inauguration of Donald Trump. The Women’s March on Washington.

The organizers of the Women’s March on Washington expected 200,000 people. They were not prepared for the 500,000+ marchers. So many marchers! Not just in Washington, but all over the world. Over three million marchers on seven continents!

And what were we marching for?  Worker’s rights. Reproductive rights. LGBTQIA rights. Civil rights. Disability rights. Immigrant rights. Environmental rights. And…protesting a president that doesn’t seem to care about those rights.

It was a long trip. Our bus overheated and stopped many times.The first breakdown was in Ohio. We were still upbeat and optimistic. By the time we arrived in Breezewood, Pennsylvania in an overheating bus that smelled like it was on fire we were nervous about our chances of getting to Washington. What should have been a ten hour trip to Gettysburg turned into sixteen uncertain hours. But the bus was repaired during the night and we departed at 6AM with two hours to go.

When we arrived  in Washington, our bus parked parked in the assigned lot at RFK stadium. We walked 2.5 miles to the gathering spot, passing up the huge lines at the metro station. We were to meet at Indepence and Third streets, but the crowds were so immense that we couldn’t get close enough to hear the amazing lineup of speakers. We were human sardines! We started the march on the mall and were directed to the walkways on the sides. Hitting a wall of marchers we were directed back to the mall. I didn’t make it to the White House. But that was ok. We were there with a united purpose.  After so many arguments about the candidates, it was wonderful to be with like-minded humans.

I don’t know what the next four years will bring, but the fear has awakened me. I have stayed on the sidelines too long. I can’t be a spectator any longer. I don’t know if Donald Trump will give any thought to the millions that marched on Saturday. I believe his ego allows him to ignore what he doesn’t like or is not in his best interest. But I believe we shocked Congress. And the members of this institution know we are serious and have put them on notice. I am calling my representatives. I am going to be more vigilant and involved.

Why did I march?? I have a grandaughter. I want her to earn the same wages for the same work as her brother. I want her to have a planet that is clean, healthy and livable. I want her to have choices about her body. I want her to live in a country where who you love is your choice as well as your gender. I want her to live in a country that recognizes that our country is made of immigrants and is what has made us special. And I want her to live in a country that disrespects misogynistic behavior. And by wishing and working for those values for her, I will also be working for the same values for her brother and all the other girls and boys, and men and women in the country and across the world.