There’s a lot of shit going on right now that pisses me off. But hate is not what I want to focus on.
Let’s talk Women’s March.
My hometown is run by the “good ole boy network.” Up until last year, the Confederate Flag was on our city seal. Needless to say, I expected to show up at the march and find about 50 people. So, my husband and I were shocked to find nearly 2,000 women, men and children ready to walk for what they believe in.
And that wasn’t “I hate Trump.” It was for love, climate change, women’s rights, women’s choices, our LGBTQ friends, our Muslim friends, and more.
I, for one, walked to alleviate feelings of Uncertainty and Helplessness. Uncertainty that a woman’s right to choose might be taken away. Uncertainty that our President has no idea what he’s doing. Helplessness that the ozone layer will continue to degrade if the new administration doesn’t get its head around climate change. Helplessness because it’s still way too easy to obtain guns. This march was one of action for me, to move beyond those feelings.
I arrived at the walk astonished by the turnout from my little town. I left with love in my heart and a renewed encouragement for our country. People walked to make sure their rights continue and to make sure their daughters have a better life than we do. It was empowering.
I woke up the next day to see two very different rhetorics on Facebook. One that was all about love and equality. The other was negative and hateful.
The community’s Republican committee posted that the march would block off streets downtown (for maybe five minutes). This opened a door for people to express their displeasure about the walk. People have a right to their opinions, but it saddened me in how they worded them – so, unfortunately, mean.
Growing up, my mother’s mantra was, “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.” Anger and fighting will not change anything. It will only increase the divide in our country. Not a single person was arrested in Washington DC on Saturday. It was a peaceful march. It was to show that we will not stand silent when our rights are questioned. We will not stand silent when Uncertainty and Helplessness threaten to take us down.
Another thing I have witnessed during this is women putting down women. At the very least everyone should have the right to their own opinion without being attacked for it. The word Feminist, unfortunately to some, has a negative connotation. To some, it is anti-men. To me and my husband, it means equal.
Feminism means the right to choose, the right to live your life as you want. That could mean being a stay-at-home mom, choosing a career over family, choosing both and having appropriate maternity leave and support to be successful at each.
It’s the right to make the decision that you know in your heart is right for you.
We should be able to do that without being judged by others, to make the choice that is right for you and for your family.
And that is why we walked on Saturday. There is a man in power that worries people. A man that worries people so much that over 3 million people wanted to make sure he knows they’re watching. And we will not be silent.
How are you staying vigilant and spreading love in your community? Share your thoughts below or on Facebook at MothersRest.
About the guest blogger, editor’s note:
Mary Beth is my brave and spunky little sister. I’m super proud of her. And of our hometown in rural Virginia, where she lives. Full of Republican loyalists, it went for Clinton in November and pulled off an amazing Women’s March.
Photos from dear friends who marched all across the country, and even while on vacation in the islands:
You can view more great photos here from The New York Times.