Supporting difficult choices
“The vibrant diversity of the two previous inaugurations was gone, replaced by what felt like a dispiriting uniformity, the kind of overwhelmingly white and male tableau I’d encountered so many times in my life—especially in the more privileged spaces, the various corridors of power I’d somehow found my way into since leaving my childhood home. What I know from working in professional environments — from recruiting new lawyers for Sidley & Austin to hiring staff at the White House — is that sameness breeds more sameness, until you make a thoughtful effort to counteract it.”
– Michelle Obama, Becoming, 2018, p. 418.
Ever since finding out about the planning group’s decision to delay the women’s march this year, I’ve been in a bit of turmoil as to how to express what I felt. Since then, there’s been a flood of comments expressing a range of perspectives.
I finished Michelle Obama’s book last night and when I read the above quote in the Epilogue, it captured what I feel. One might question the planning group’s decision, but one thing is for sure — this decision was not taken lightly; it was taken thoughtfully, knowing full well there would be a backlash. That is often the response when we are working to make significant change.
I am a 70-year-old white middle class woman who respects, certainly admires, the difficult decision that the women made to delay our march here. I am not the only one with these demographics to take this position. In addition to the many old white men and women who support these women, so do the greater population of those in our community whose demographics are different from mine, some who have been quoted numerous times in the media here.
It is a privileged question and assumption by many white organizers to simply voice the common refrain of “Why don’t Indigenous, Black, Latinix, Asian-American and “others” join US?”
As I see it, the more relevant question is “Why aren’t white organizers joining the groups, movements, organizations whose purpose is and whose work is done by these groups?
I hope anyone reading this joins or did join the People’s March starting at the Courthouse on Monday at 10 a.m., followed by the MLK Event at the Adorni Center. We want people to be included, their voices and perspectives heard and issues they prioritize to be understood.
So how about stepping out of your own comfort zone if you haven’t already done this and give a shout out of support to that group of women who were brave enough to make an incredibly hard choice about delaying the Women’s March until that planning group included more perspectives. If you can’t support the decision, at least support the effort and whatever steps follow.
A poostorm of hatred
Hate in the Name of Equality: Strange Tales From the Women’s March Facebook Group.
Recently as many of us know, the scheduled Annual Women’s March was cancelled amid concerns that the group suffered from a case of Overwhelming Whiteness. I agree that this is true and as a member of their Facebook page I took the liberty of pointing out another extreme lack of diversity the group suffered from: political diversity. After all, many of the ethnic groups the Women’s March wishes to attract are in fact, largely conservative.
Bearing this in mind, and in the spirit of kindness, acceptance and total inclusivity I THOUGHT this group was promoting, I issued the following statement in the hopes that it would further broaden our umbrella of acceptance:
“It seems to me, that to our great enrichment we have made enormous and continuing strides to embrace and accept fellow humans of all sexes, ethnicities, sexualities and religions. That being said, as liberals, there remains a great hatred for our fellow humans seething in our bosoms. It is a hatred for conservative people, including conservative women.
This hatred is not secretly hiding in the shadows of our hearts, it is virtually celebrated! We celebrate hatred of conservatives with a similar vigor to the way the KKK celebrates hatred of African Americans.
"Ultimately, conservative people believe as they do because they feel these beliefs are best for their families and their country. Often, their conservative nature is directly tied to their ethnicity or religion. We should not forget that Muslim women are conservative, Catholic Latinas are conservative, and the Hmong members of our community have a conservative culture. These are our sisters and brothers and at our core, we are all Americans and we all believe in more or less the same constitution.
"Political bigotry tied to religion and ethnicity is the final frontier in the eradication of bigotry on all fronts. I believe, as liberals it is time to examine this hateful part of ourselves and consider the possibility that it might not be a kind, productive or truly progressive attitude”
Well! Did that ever result in a poostorm of hatred and insults thrown my way! One member of the group said “I reserve the right to hate whoever I want!” My simple appeal to consider the inclusion of all women in the Women’s March was met with mockery and outrage. After trying to explain that my post was purely in the spirit of total inclusivity for several minutes, my post was removed by the Admins who I presume are March organizers.
My contribution remains mostly unseen today, much in the same way that a noticeable presence of political, ethnic and religious diversity remains unseen in the ranks of Women’s March organizers Nathan Rex
Adding a small spark
I joined the Women’s March on January 19 because it’s a unique global phenomenon, one of the most visible and effective demonstrations of the upwelling of the feminine principle — in all genders.
This upwelling comes out of a natural human instinct for self-preservation. Our survival as a species, and certainly any peace and security we now have, are threatened by a disastrous and unsustainable dominator culture in which men dominate women, other men, and Earth.
I needed to add my small spark to the millions across the planet and be ignited by them as well. I needed, once again, the renewal the March gave me in 2017 and 2018. These last years have been a long, hard slog against a vicious pummeling from a crumbling, panicked patriarchy.
A flaw in the makeup of the planning committee could have been remedied in various ways — making sure the speakers this year and the planning committee next year were suitably diverse, for instance.
Cancelling the March and attempting to deprive this community — including the entire range of our diversity — of the opportunity to join in a worldwide affirming and strengthening of the feminine spirit was a sad overreaction that only served to divide and weaken us.
I’m very grateful to Linda Atkins and Kathy Srabian for stepping in to make the Women’s March happen on January 19.
Close the parks for now
One of the effects of the government shutdown is that our national parks have no or limited staff to maintain the sites and facilities.
Visitors to these parks have left garbage at campsites, thrown trash along roads and trails throughout the grounds. With sanitary facilities overflowing. human waste is being left wherever people see the need.
It is obvious that some visitors do not respect the parks enough to keep them clean by picking up after themselves. I feel that the people responsible are part of Trump’s base and feel it’s not their place to assist in maintaining these areas during the shutdown.
To this, I say close all the parks as was done during previous shutdowns and don’t reopen them until it’s over. These visitors do not deserve the ability to visit these national treasures.
Scott R. Baker