After the election, I was distraught. It wasn't just that my candidate lost. It was that Donald Trump won the Electoral College by fanning the flames of bigotry and hatred. Whether or not he really believes what he said doesn't matter. He embraced the support of the Alt Right and KKK. He demeaned women and fanned the flames of misogyny. I had to do something that demonstrated my opposition, so like many others I started wearing a safety pin.
When my pins started to pop open and stick me, I thought of other versions I could wear. I searched my jewelry box for my kilt pin from the 1960s. Maybe some of you remember wearing short, plaid kilts held together with a large pin. No luck.
Then I had a brilliant idea. A diaper pin. This would be more visible, less prone to popping open, and make an additional statement about what I am trying to convey by wearing the pin. As a retired early childhood educator, I would also be adding to what I think I am telling others through the symbolism of the pin. So here's what I think the #safetypin movement means to me.
I am a safe person.
If you are a Muslim, immigrant, Latino, woman, person of color, person with a disability or special needs, part of the Transgender or LGBTQ, community, I am here for you. I will listen to you, stand up for you, add my name to a registry if you are forced to do this, and advocate for your rights.
I will disavow bigotry and hatred whenever I hear or see it.
I will donate to causes that support kindness and inclusion.
I will support organizations that fight for your rights.
And I will fight for the rights of young children to grow up in an inclusive, accepting community that values them for who they are.
Talk to me. Ask for my help. I care.
Now I am well on my way to being able to have a concrete symbol of what I believe and my willingness to help those in need of support. Except I can't find diaper pins in any store, even those that cater to babies. I guess that makes sense. Even my daughter who used cloth diapers had a contraption that held the diaper in place with snaps. And most parents use disposable diapers with safe tabs. So no more pins for babies.
I did order some online because wearing one would mean something to me. Still, I was struck by how hard it was for me, an aging boomer, to make the statement I wanted to make. So when my diaper pins arrive, I expect many will have no idea what they are or why I am wearing them. But that's a good thing. It will give me the opportunity to explain my cause.
Of course, although I have wasted time looking for my kilt pin and ordering diaper pins, I have had the opportunity to think about what I am really trying to say. So while I wait for Amazon to bring me the kind of safety pin I choose to wear, I will continue to be poked occasionally by my safety pin or lose and replace the pin. This is a pretty good reminder of the pain our country has suffered in the aftermath of this divisive election and how easy it is to lose one's sense of safety these days.