The inauguration is here and it’s a day I have dreaded since November. I have been sad, mad, ambivalent, fed-up and sometimes just angry. I guess you could say it’s all the stages of grief over the election of someone who embodies traits and values I abhor and has demonstrated no respect for any progress we have made in the last 50 years. I have also considered what I have learned in these months since the election. We have much more work to do in understanding what divides us and the barriers that still exist across every single “ism.”
So for the next four years, I won’t ignore what’s happening around me and just hope everything will be okay. If I did this, I would never forgive myself. You can scoff at my resolve, call me a liberal elitist and tell me to “get over it,” I’ll extend my patience to you but dig in my heels. Through blogs, campaign volunteering, signing petitions, calling my legislators and taking trips to Capitol Hill. I’ll do what I can to stand up for things I believe in.
As we turn over a new chapter in our government, I plan to attend the Women’s March tomorrow with friends and fellow social workers. I see it as a way to emerge from the ashes of an ugly election and raising our collective voices to declare; we are here, we are watching you and we will never go away. You will see citizens become the guardians of social justice and fierce protectors of a democratic government which might be on the brink of losing its way.
So I march, and I march because….
I don’t want to live in a world where it’s okay to degrade, bully or insult people who express a different opinion or bravely challenge deplorable behavior. Grace, civility, and kindness should never be an afterthought.
Racism of any kind is intolerable. PERIOD.
Our government should never have power over a woman’s body or a punitive role to dictate a woman’s childbearing or thwart her ability to fight back against harassment, sexual violence, and rape.
Healthcare and behavioral health treatment is a right, not a frivolous luxury. More than 20 million people now have lifesaving coverage and I intend to fight to keep it.
Free speech is in danger. Vocalizing our opinions and a free press is the soul of what makes us Americans. We have ventured to a dark place where violence, fear, and deepening mistrust has taken root.
We need true and factual information not hyperbole, fake news or urban legends. An uninformed world is a dangerous world with grave consequences. Accepting the cults of the far right or left will further divide us. Seek truth in science, data and sound journalism to help us all make better choices.
For Trump voters who are truly hurting, need jobs and deserve opportunities to support their families and live in peace and prosperity. Everyone is entitled to this.
We need more empathy, to reach beyond our small worlds, and understand different perspectives. My social work training demanded empathy and I’ll tell you it’s not an easy skill to learn.
We need more people like Meryl Streep. When people with a big platform speak clearly about the destructive misuse of power and privilege and against the bullying of those who don’t have the ability to fight back, we are all better off. Shining light on the darkest elements of our world makes a difference.
To honor of my immigrant roots and support many immigrants who are now living in fear right now. Our rich melting pot of cultures must not be lost.
The most important reason why I march is because Donald Trump works for me now. It may be the only time in his life he has ever answered to someone else, and I’ll be damned sure to be loud and clear about what I expect from his presidency and our government.