A Masterpiece of Activism?

Well, they got our attention.

Two weeks ago, Tigrayan expats decided to protest against the genocide in Ethiopia that has been going on for two years, and has resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of their people so far. I genuinely believe that this is an outrage that is worthy of protest. I’m glad these protestors got our attention for one brief, shining moment.

In this internet age, people in general and Americans specifically are hit with so much information that they are hard-pressed to focus on anything. They’re too overwhelmed. There are too many atrocities in the world. There are too many problems to solve.

While it’s hard to believe we could forget about an entire war, this is not the first time we’ve done so. I’m sure it won’t be the last. We don’t seem to care about anything unless it impacts us directly.

This protest was an act of desperation for the Tigrayan community in Seattle, which is the second largest in America. Only Washington DC has a larger community than ours. Back home, their people are dying. They’re being bombed and tortured and starved. The expats have no way of communicating with the loved ones they left behind, so they don’t know whether to grieve or “just” worry.

So, on Friday, November 4th, during afternoon rush hour traffic on the only North/South interstate that goes through the city, a large group of protesters gathered, blocking not only Northbound I-5, but also the I-90 ramps to I-5 in both directions. As if the Friday afternoon commute didn’t suck enough in this densely populated town. This, of course, caused total gridlock city wide.

Fortunately, I was going southbound. My commute time was “only” doubled, due to lookie-loos and people trying to take less familiar routes home. But I saw the Northbound traffic, at a complete standstill, for nearly 6 miles. And it remained that way for over an hour.

I’m sure a lot of people were weeping tears of frustration, trying to get home after an exhausting week of work, trying to pick up their children from school, trying to get to some much-needed food, and desperately wanting to pee. Not to mention that there was at least one ambulance caught in that mess, and it was carrying a patient in critical condition to the hospital. The police had to clear one lane to get them through, and it caused a significant delay. I hope that guy is okay.

I think that the general city-wide irritation quotient must have spiked higher than it should have because most of us didn’t know what was causing this delay until it was nearly over with, and even then, we were told there were only 6 protesters, instead of the several dozen that were actually on the scene. There were also several police cars present because it’s illegal to protest on an interstate, but in the end, they made no arrests.

It’s amazing how the forgotten slaughter of an entire group of people can make you sound like a whiny little b**ch when you complain about an hour and a half of your life being taken from you. It makes me feel rather pathetic and bloated with false privilege. It also made me drop the illusion that I have any control whatsoever regarding anything in life. But I can’t sustain that reality for long or I’ll go completely mad.

This protest hit every single local news outlet. It was talked about for days afterward. If reminding us/educating us all about this horrible genocide was their only goal, then I’d say mission accomplished, and then some.

But is that what they were trying to achieve? Or were they hoping to bring an end to a senseless war? If that was the plan, I don’t think shutting down Seattle was the best way to get people on their side.

I’d be all for a protest in front of an Ethiopian Embassy. I’d even be down for a protest that targeted some part of the American Bureaucracy, or even that of a local government agency if it has investments in Ethiopia. Power to the people! But blocking a lot of random individuals on an interstate? That had the wrong kind of impact.

I know I was frustrated. And I still, to this day, have no idea what I could do to help end this genocide. I have never believed that thoughts and prayers were that effective. I can chant, “May peace prevail upon the earth” a million times, and there will still be power-hungry a**holes acting out all over the globe.

I could call my congressperson. Yeah, yeah. But we’re all starting to realize that the political agenda and the people’s agenda are mutually exclusive. The American government is not going to care about Ethiopia until that caring benefits them.

I don’t think blocking traffic on a Seattle interstate is going to change a thing in Ethiopia, any more than pouring soup on an artistic masterpiece is going to stop oil. Are these protests masterpieces for their causes, or are they just a speed bump on the roads of our lives; a mild irritant until we move on? I suppose time will tell.

It’s the oil protesters who should block interstates. And maybe the genocide protesters should be pouring tomato soup on the politicians. I certainly wouldn’t blame them for that, even though I don’t condone violence in even the soupiest of forms.

The bottom line is that I think that the bulk of us whiners stuck in that commute from hell were made to whine for no good reason. I feel bad that that’s the case. Truly I do. But the only change it brought about from my perspective is that I got another reminder of my helplessness, and I had to take a nap when I got home. As I drifted off, I was grateful that I had a warm, dry, and safe home to go to.

But as I write this, the war in Ethiopia rages on, despite the Ethiopian Government signing a cessation of hostilities agreement a few days prior to the Seattle protest. And this surprises me not at all. Homo sapiens may think they are a superior species, but they’re sadly mistaken. Lest we forget, we humans are simply primates with delusions of grandeur, and we’ve proven, time and time again, that our prime motivation is power tightly intertwined with greed and selfishness.

Slightly off topic: I’ve been struggling with the reasons for my outrage at those throwing soup on masterpieces, but if you want a spot-on, albeit foul-mouthed explanation as to why this activism is so unacceptable, check out this Facebook Post by Advocatus Peregrini. Well said, indeed.

Sources:

Betty Reid Soskin: An Extraordinary Woman

“I am so aware that I’m living in my final decade.”

Some people are natural leaders. They are change-makers. They are multi-talented. They are extraordinary. Those people stand out in a crowd, whether they want to or not. They just seem to shine more brightly. They draw you to them as if they have a gravitational pull all their own. The very best of these people make the most of these qualities, and live lives of incredible substance. My admiration for these people knows no bounds.

Such a person is Betty Reid Soskin. I only learned about her recently, when I read an article entitled, “Betty Reid Soskin, Oldest National Park Service Ranger, Retires At 100”.

Articles about amazing people in their elder years always catch my eye. It gives me comfort, knowing that there’s a possibility that I, too, might remain active and mentally sharp as I age. (C’mon. It could happen.) These stories also excite me, because they remind me that there will still be possibilities and potential and choices for me later in life.

I should have known about Ms. Soskin decades ago. Once again, I am faced with the constantly refreshed realization that there is a lot that I don’t know but should know. And once again it makes me wonder what else I’ve overlooked. But back to the subject at hand.

It would be a grave mistake to only admire Betty Reid Soskin for her longevity. She is so much more than her age. Like me, she’s a Unitarian Universalist, and I’m rather proud of that. She did a lot of faith-based racial healing work in that capacity. She’s also been a lifelong activist for civil and women’s rights.

As a woman of color who was born in 1921, she has experienced much of the uglier side of this nation’s history firsthand. She also was a mother of two, and ran a record store for decades. In her “spare time” she wrote and sang many songs for the civil rights movement and of course, she also plays the guitar. She has attended many a protest, including ones for the Vietnam War. She’s been given many awards, including Glamour Magazine’s Woman of the Year in 2018. Check out her amazing acceptance speech here if you want to see what an inspiring woman she is. And here’s a brief video about her life:

She was even presented with a presidential coin by Barak Obama. That presidential coin led to a fascinating ancecdote that reveals this woman’s backbone and determination. In 2016, when she would have been 95, according to Glamour, “a man broke into her home and stole her presidential coin. (When she caught him in the act, he punched her. So she reached up his “trousers,” as she calls them, and squeezed the hell out of his crown jewels. He fled, and in a few weeks, Betty healed and went back to work to great fanfare, and President Obama sent her a replacement.”

Okay. I have to say it. I love this woman.

If that weren’t enough, she also worked as a field representative for two California State Assemblywomen (both democrats, of course). That’s how she found herself in the room when the National Park Service was planning to create the Rosie the Riveter/World War II Home Front National Historical Park. While listening to their ideas she realized that if she didn’t speak up, this park would present nothing but a whitewashed history. So she spoke up.

That leads me to one of my newly favorite quotes:

“What gets remembered is determined by who is in the room doing the remembering.” -Betty Reid Soskin

She became so involved in shaping a more equitable and realistic narrative for this park that she actually became a National Park Ranger when she was 85. She was on the job until she turned 100. That impresses the hell out of me.

Another wonderful quote of hers:

“[I] wear my uniform at all times; because when I’m on the streets or on an escalator or elevator, I am making every little girl of color aware of a career choice she may not have known she had.”

That’s exactly why I wear my hard hat and safety vest when I’m out on the sidewalk on my drawbridge. Don’t limit yourselves, girls! Follow us and then blaze an even better trail!

While reading all these articles, I clicked on a link that I assumed was another article about this amazing woman. But then, then I discovered that it wasn’t written about her, it was written by her! It turns out she’s a blogger, and has been since 2003, nearly a decade before I even fully comprehended what a blog was. Here’s a link to the last post she wrote, in August of 2019. It’s a powerfully written recount of her journey by train across the Mason Dixon Line when she was 14 years old. Sadly, it will probably be her last post, because she had a stroke a month later and hasn’t blogged since. But I look forward to reading the hundreds of posts available to us.

Of course, of course she’s a phenomenal writer. Is she bad at anything? She even published a memoir entitled “Sign My Name to Freedom” which came out in 2018. It starts with her great grandmother who was a slave, and managed to live to the age of 102. I keep reading that there is a documentary based on this book, which includes music written by her, and you can even see a preview for it here, but I’ve yet to find the documentary itself. I’d love to see it.

Around the time she was accepting her award for Glamour’s Woman of the Year for 2018, she said two things that I find quite comforting.

First, when discussing the current political climate, she said, “Democracy has been experiencing these periods of chaos since 1776. They come and go, And it’s in those periods that democracy is redefined.” When everything seems to be crumbling, we can remold and reset, she believes: “History has been written by people who got it wrong, but the people who are always trying to get it right have prevailed. If that were not true, I would still be a slave like my great-grandmother.”

If a woman who has lived through and actively participated in 100 years of history is not despairing right now, how can I? She also is very philosophical about what is most assuredly her last decade on the planet.

“I am so aware that I’m living in my final decade. I’m so aware that every single minute of every hour has to have meaning for me… I don’t have time. If I don’t get it right, I don’t have time to do it over. But it’s also true for the nation, it’s also true for us.”

I can think of no better inspiration for living in the now, not taking life for granted, and doing your very best at whatever you do. Can you?

One final delight: On her hundredth birthday, the Betty Reid Soskin Middle School was named after her in El Sobrante, California. It proudly upholds the motto, “Work Hard & Be Kind.” I love the idea that students will be learning about this woman’s incredible legacy for decades to come. Go mighty bears!

Ranger Betty Reid Soskin, who was a Rosie the Riveter, holds a photo of herself has a young woman during the Rosie the Riveter Home Front Park Tour on July 20, 2007 in Richmond, Calif.

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Who Gets to Decide?

Who gets to define what trouble is?

One of the least favorite people in my life has told me more than once that I push back too much, and that I am always making excuses. I often wonder if he ever says those things to men. I suspect not.

What he sees as me pushing back too much, I see as me attempting to add value to the workplace. He would much prefer that I just shut up and do what I’m told, but that’s just not in me. He actually uses the term “disobedient” with me, as if I’m not a grown-a$$ woman with a great deal of life experience, but actually a puppy who has just pooped on the carpet. He laments that he doesn’t have the authority to discipline anyone. I suspect he’d use a rolled up newspaper.

If I wanted to just check my brain at the door and blindly follow orders, I’d have joined the military. It has always been my experience that it’s a good idea to listen to various points of view, rather than discount them, before deciding what a best practice might be. My goal is not to aggressively have my way. My goal is to point out things that perhaps haven’t been considered so that the whole team can reach the finish line safely and efficiently. I genuinely don’t see what is wrong with that.

He views my input as a form of humiliation. But in order for me to wish to humiliate the man, I’d have to first give a shit about him on some personal level. And given his low opinion of me, I really can’t be bothered.

What he sees as me always making excuses, I see as me attempting explain and defend my actions when he attacks my reputation. He has a habit of throwing people under the bus.

He thinks I’m saying “I refuse to do this thing because I want to avoid doing it.” Or, “I only speak because I live to embarrass you.” No. I’m saying “I agree the job needs doing, but doing it that way might cause the following things to occur. Maybe we should try this slightly different approach instead.” But apparently that’s me not being a good little soldier.

In his mind, I am a troublemaker. That begs the question, “Who gets to decide who is a troublemaker?” And, “Who gets to define what trouble is?”

As far as I’m concerned, my attempt to try to improve upon an idea isn’t trouble, even if it agitates him. The fact that I’m not passive enough to allow him to make me do whatever fool thing pops into his head isn’t trouble, even if it frustrates him. I suspect that his agitation and frustration are actually related to his lack of maturity, his closed mind, and his deep-seated belief that he’s far superior to anyone else and therefore should never be questioned.

When war is going on, each side sees the other as the troublemaker. In the end, the victors get to write the history. That must be a heady experience. But maybe you shouldn’t climb up into your rigid old tank just yet. Maybe there’s room for diplomacy.

Sometimes two people are just attempting to reach a destination by using different paths. There’s nothing wrong with saying, “You might want to detour around that patch of quicksand. Just saying.” If someone said that to me, I’d give it some serious thought.

Perspective. While Native Americans see us as invaders, thieves, and perpetrators of genocide, those of us of European descent often try to desperately cling to some sort of modernized concept of manifest destiny so we won’t have to feel guilty. Who is the true troublemaker in this scenario? I’m thinking it’s not the ones who are usually called the troublemakers in our school books.

Suffragettes were called troublemakers, too. But the story of their movement can and has been written by a variety of people with a whole host of perspectives. Those who wanted to keep women down would naturally see their protests as trouble. Those who saw a problem with policy and watched these women draw attention to that problem so that it might be solved rather than ignored saw those protesters as heroes.

The late US Representative John Lewis said it best:

“What can you do to get into good trouble? There is a light inside of you that will turn on when you get into good trouble. You will feel emboldened and freed. You will realize that unjust laws cannot stop you. These laws cannot stop the truth that is in your heart and soul.”

Yes, there are people out there who delight in being trolls, who enjoy making trouble for trouble’s sake. I’m not that kind of person. If I irritate you, it’s because I’m suggesting a change that I think might be an improvement for all concerned, which you, unfortunately, have chosen to view as an inconvenient interruption by an uppity woman.

But, dammit, if I see quicksand, I’m going to speak up. Every time. What you choose to do with that information is entirely up to you.

If I really wanted to be a troublemaker, I’d just sit back and let you step into that quicksand. I’d laugh as you sank. Do you really think that’s my goal? Grow up.

Grow up, or go suck on a lollypop.

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Seattle Womxn’s March 2019

A day I’ll never forget and was thrilled to be a part of.

The day after Trump’s inauguration in January 2017, there was a Woman’s march in Washington DC, and in many major cities across the country, including Seattle, where 130,000 people showed up and spoke out. I wanted to be there so badly that it nearly killed me, but I had to work. (I always work on the weekends, so I miss a lot of the good stuff.)

I also wanted to attend the march in 2018, but I was in the throes of a deep, dark, yawning pit of loneliness, one that I knew would only be magnified by being surrounded by strangers, so I couldn’t bring myself to go alone. But I swore to myself that in 2019, come hell or high water, I was going to attend the march. I was so determined that I asked for the day off a year in advance.

It just so happened that I married an amazingly woke and liberal guy in the interim, one who would walk beside me, supporting women, without hesitation. So I got increasingly excited about this event. I spent months trying to decide what signs to carry.

I settled on the two below. Special thanks to my best-friend-in-law, Mike, who is an airbrush magician extraordinaire, for making the signs at really short notice. I was proud to carry them, and was often stopped on the parade route by people who wanted to take pictures.

So, my impression of the Seattle Womxn’s March:

It was a safe, welcoming atmosphere, full of people of all shapes, colors, ages, and sizes, coming together to speak out on women’s rights, gender equality, health care, the wall, immigration, and the current sorry state of politics.

There was one little 4 year old girl in the crowd, proudly carrying a sign that she made herself. It was multi-colored scribbles. It was on a little stick. That sign brought tears to my eyes, and made me want to hug her mother. That’s right, mama, start ‘em off early. There will always be work to do.

march6

There was also a 92 year old woman from France. She had protested fascism in her country in her younger days, and she was still going strong. I was impressed that she made it the entire 2.5 miles.

There were people on walkers and in wheelchairs, too. Because this stuff is too important to stay away. There were mothers carrying babies.

The march went on for blocks and blocks and blocks. I particularly love the photos included with the article from the Seattle Times. They show what a powerful sea of humanity was out there. And I was right in the middle of it.

There was this amazing, cheering wave that moved from one end of the parade to the other, and back again. It was like doing the wave at a sports stadium. It made my heart swell with hope and joy.

It made me feel much better about the future of this country. We care. We’re not going to be silent. We won’t go away. It was healing to be in that crowd. I was proud of us again, for the first time in a long time.

And then, at parade’s end, like the middle class white folks that we are, we stuck our protest signs in the trunk of an Uber, rode back to our Volvo, and came home to soak our aching backs and feet in the hot tub. But, I mean, hey… baby steps, right?

There are more events going on today, so if you missed the march, you can still participate. And if you can’t do that, for God’s sake, vote.

Here are some amazing photos from yesterday, a day I’ll never forget and was thrilled to be a part of.

 

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Okay, You Win.

I’ve always been one to fight the good fight. I believe in standing up for what’s good and just. I’ll stick my neck out when others won’t. Someone has to tell the emperor he has no clothes, right? Integrity is one of the qualities I’m most proud of.

But somewhere along the line a piece was left out of this puzzle for me. Yes, I’ve heard the expression, “You can’t win them all,” but oddly enough, I never seemed to realize that that means that I can’t win them all, either.

This disconnect in my brain has caused me no end of frustration. When my mother used to tell me that life wasn’t fair, even as a small child I’d be outraged by this news. What’s the point if life isn’t fair, or can’t be made fair?

Somewhere along the line I didn’t learn the adult lesson that sometimes you just have to suck it up and deal with the bitter, awful realities of life. Sometimes justice just isn’t going to prevail. Sometimes the bad guys win.

I don’t like this lesson. I don’t want to learn it. But if I don’t, I’ll lose my mind. Sometimes you just have to surrender and say, “Okay, you win.” That’s the only way you’ll live to fight another day.

Submission

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There Are Just Too Many of Us Now

I just read an interesting article in the New York Times entitled, In China, Wives Fight Back After Their Activist Husbands Are Jailed. It went on to describe the kinds of human rights abuses you come to expect from China: Defense lawyers being imprisoned simply for standing up for the rights of their clients. Being detained without counsel for months or years. Being tortured. And their families pressured. Children kicked out of schools, wives fired from jobs, families evicted from their homes and prevented from traveling. Guilt by association.

What was new and interesting is that a lot of these wives have found each other and are speaking out and organizing protests. Even though the authorities have told them to be compliant and not make waves, waves they are definitely making. Good for them.

Even in China, one of the last bastions of total public suppression, we the people can no longer be silenced. There are just too many of us now. We are talking to each other. It’s harder to isolate us when we are everywhere you look. The more educated we become (never trust anyone who demonizes education) and the more we connect with each other (never trust anyone who wants to mess with a free internet), the harder it will be to keep us down.

If you want to be on the right side of history, you should consider lifting us up so that everyone wins, including you. Because we are legion. And we’re not going away.

power to the people

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You Have Been Warned

I’ve seen two things recently that have made my hair stand on end because they seem to be so prescient. We are living in terrifying times. And they’re all the more terrifying because these things have happened before.

The first thing I’m referring to is the Hulu series, the Handmaid’s Tale, which is based on the dystopian novel by Margaret Atwood. Here are some of the events that have taken place in the first 4 episodes. These things either sound very familiar at the moment or very possible:

  • Militarization.
  • Propaganda and catch phrases.
  • News is regulated.
  • People who protest are shot at.
  • People are forced to don particular clothing to identify their role in society.
  • Special rewards for the rich.
  • An atmosphere of divide and conquer.
  • Forced religion.
  • Doctors, professors, and homosexuals being executed by hanging them on a wall.
  • People encouraged to do violence by the ruling party.
  • Calling women sluts and whores.
  • Increased surveillance.
  • Book burnings.
  • Travel restrictions.
  • Martial law in response to terrorism, real or imagined.
  • Women’s credit card and bank accounts suspended.
  • Women fired from jobs.
  • Institutionalized misogyny.
  • Women’s rights over their own bodies prevented.
  • Rape by men in positions of power with no consequence.
  • Women being blamed for all of the above.

Chilling, isn’t it? Even more disturbing is a website that lists the events that occurred in the first 100 days of Fascist Germany. I read every single day. I actually learned quite a bit that makes me even more worried about our future. Here are some of the things that went on:

  • Attacks on the press.
  • Widespread belief in unsubstantiated conspiracies.
  • Prohibition of protests.
  • Public urged to report foreigners who are causing conflict.
  • Communists rounded up.
  • A big effort to crush resistance.
  • Politicians overstate successes.
  • Jew bashing doesn’t start until Day 40. (That surprised me.)
  • Hitler wants to arm all the people.
  • There as much more resistance than I thought. People were going into exile.
  • Artists and writers and homosexuals attacked.
  • Gay bars closed down.
  • Trade Unions banned.
  • Jews begin to be fired.
  • The first concentration camp, Dachau, is open by day 49 and starts receiving political prisoners by day 51.
  • The press warns that its freedoms are being diminished, and stresses the importance of relying on multiple sources to confirm the validity of information.
  • On Day 55 Goring states that persecution of a person based on ethnicity will not be tolerated. The next day the Nazi Party orders a nationwide boycott of Jewish merchants.
  • Hitler says the press are issuing “slanderous propaganda” about Germany. The Nazi party claims that the press is run by “international Jewry”.
  • Book burning.
  • Civil service workers who do not agree with the Nazis are dismissed.
  • Anti-semitic signs begin to appear everywhere.
  • The government begins identifying all non-Aryans, using early IBM computers.
  • Day 74, an opinion piece appears saying that actual Christian values are nothing like the values of the conservative Christians who have aligned themselves with the Nazi party.

Wake up, people! Wake up! Wake up!

handmaid's tale

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What to Do When You Can’t March

I used to lament being born in the early 60’s. I was too young to participate in the “really good” protests. Be careful what you wish for. Here we are again.

Unfortunately, I have a really strange work schedule, so most marches march right on past me. I would have loved to participate in the women’s march on Washington, for example. Or the protest against the immigration ban, or the march for science, or even the produce your dang tax returns one. But nooo… I get to sit in my lonely little work tower, wishing I could lend my voice to the ever-increasing cacophony.

Other people can’t march for other reasons. Health issues. Location. Having small children at home. Time constraints. For everyone that does march, there are probably 5 who would like to, but can’t. It can feel really frustrating.

But there are still things that you can do. I think the most important thing you can do is speak up. Let people know how you feel. When it’s perceived that the majority feel a certain way, it becomes the norm. So you don’t have to march to be a part of the strengthening tide of protest. You just need to let others know you’re with them. I highly recommend blogging. But even just posting something on your Facebook page, or bringing issues up with friends and family, can be effective. If you get even one person to stop and think, “Hmmm. Maybe the earth isn’t flat after all!” then you’ve done something. You’ve become part of progress.

It is also important to put your money where your mouth is if you can. Support Planned Parenthood. Support public radio. Support the ACLU. Also, boycott companies that you feel are not on the right side of history for whatever reason, such as United Airlines, Ivanka Trump, Wells Fargo, Monsanto and Walmart. Money talks.

In addition, it’s extremely important to let your congressmen know how you feel on various issues. Call them. E-mail them. Write them. Pester them. Sign legitimate petitions. Vote. It’s the people who didn’t bother to vote who got us in this protest-worthy situation in the first place.

I also wear my heart on my sleeve in the form of bumper stickers on my car. I think this is a lot more effective than most people realize. I see people taking pictures of my bumper all the time. And I also sport a yard sign, as you can see, below.

Ask yourself this: do most of the people who know you know exactly where you stand? Then you’re doing well! Keep it up! #resist

17021652_10208254630303704_4942613786144776061_n

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DISorganized

Recently I came across notices for a Dress Like a Woman Rally that was to be held on a Saturday afternoon in downtown Seattle. This was in reaction to the Grabber-in-Chief telling his female staffers that they needed to dress like a woman. Since then, there have been lots of women posting photos on social media. “This is how I dress like a woman.” Women in their military fatigues. Women in medical scrubs. You get the idea.

I was really excited about this rally. First of all, it is the first protest-y thing that has fit with my weird work schedule. I was thrilled. I planned to dress in my bridgetender best—a greasy safety vest and a hard hat. I have always been proud to work in an inexplicably male dominated field.

Of course, nothing is ever as simple as it seems. Someone high up in my chain of command took issue with me wearing my hard hat because it had the company logo on it. You’d think Seattle, of all cities, wouldn’t have a problem with me standing up for women’s rights, but whatever. A friend was kind enough to loan me a hard hat with the Seattle Seahawks logo on it. And I made a sign that said, “Yup. And I vote, too.”

I was ready.

Then, the day of the protest, I saw an update. Instead of being from 4pm to 8 pm as planned for weeks, it was now going to be 4:30 pm to 7:30 pm. Okay, fine. I did think 4 hours was unusually long for a thing like this. I had planned to leave work at 3 and wait in my car for an hour. An extra half hour wasn’t that big of a deal.

Then, at almost the last minute, there was another update, saying it was going to be from 5:30 to 7:30. What was going on? This was a Saturday. It wasn’t as if they were having to accommodate the 9 to 5ers. As we say in the South, “That ain’t no way to run a railroad.”

I began to seriously wonder if this was a joke. That, and now I’d be expected to wait for 2 ½ hours, until after dark, in my cold car, after a long day at work, for an event that I was no longer sure was legitimate.

I was so disappointed. I decided to just go home. The next day, I looked for news about the event. All I could find was one photo from Reuters that showed about 5 women marching.

I imagine a lot of women showed up at 4, or 4:30, and saw no one, and left. Even more were most likely put off by all the last minute changes like I was.  I bet they were equally disappointed. This could have been something big.

Maybe it was. Maybe it was just under-reported. But somehow I doubt it.

The reason “getting organized” is linked so strongly with social protest is that this kind of random fly by the seat of your pants thing does not work. It’s a rookie mistake. Make a plan. Stick to it. Last minute changes make people nervous and cause confusion.

I hope they’ll try again. And I hope they learned a few things this time around. I’ll keep my sign, just in case.

womens_march_voa_03
Okay, so I wasn’t expecting it to be like the amazing Women’s Rally the day after the inauguration, as shown in this photo, but still… it could have been great.

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#GiveTrumpBack

I had a wonderful dream last night. It was inauguration day, and as usual, Washington DC was packed with people. But when Donald Trump was about to be sworn in, more than half the crowd turned its back.

Can you imagine the impact that would have? It would be peaceful, yet visual. It would be impossible for the press to ignore. It would make a bold statement.

By giving Trump your back, you are saying that you do not stand with him. You do not respect his beliefs, policies or ideas any more than he respects most of yours. It’s a short and sweet criticism of a man whose attention span is no longer than the average tweet.

If this idea were to catch on, people would start turning their backs on him wherever he goes. People would begin standing outside the White House and Trump Tower with their backs toward them. He would no longer be able to maintain the illusion that he won by a landslide.

We have the numbers on our side. We have the masses. And if we showed this type of unity, we would be hard to ignore.

Let the whole world know that the average American does not stand for racism and hate and greed and sexism. We don’t stand for it, we don’t support it, and we won’t give this bullying narcissist the attention he so desperately desires.

So spread the word any way you can! #GiveTrumpBack

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