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Monday, January 23, 2017

Women's March

Nick Offerman doning a cap in solidarity
It's been a loooong time since I've posted anything. I loved where I was at when I wrote my last post, and I wanted to be there again. It was the sort of energy I like to put out into the world. But let's be real here; things aren't okay. You would have to be a pet rock to be unaware of that (not that I have anything against pet rocks!). While this post is certainly inspired by the women's march, it isn't entirely about that. But the record numbers of participants and the ensuing (albeit feeble) attempts at discrediting the event provide an accurate representation of the general goings on.

I don't want this to be angry, and I don't want it to be political. But I do want to make a few points: 1)This wasn't a "liberal temper tantrum". It was widely attended by folks of all ideologies, and it was a GLOBAL event. 2) If you are a woman and you've never felt discriminated against, I think that's wonderful, I genuinely do, and I'm happy that you haven't had that negative, insulting and demeaning experience. You need to understand though, that many, many more of us have had a far different experience, are STILL having that  experience, and it's an ongoing problem that needs to be addressed (have I mentioned the GLOBAL participation?). 3) Failure to allow inclusion by pro-lifers was far from hypocrisy. "Pro-life" sounds nice, but it essentially functions as anti-choice. Trying to insert yourself into a group of people who are fighting for their rights, when your whole raison d'etre is to impose legislation on that same group of living, breathing, sentient human beings in order to deprive them of their fundamental right to their own phyisicality...yeah, it might not be the venue. 4) Stop trying to discredit the event. It's a waste of energy, and it's coming off as desperate. I've seen everything from "They're burning the flag!", to "It's Muslims!"(the two most popular propaganda/manipulation tactics, which took me less than ten minutes to check out and dismiss), and "Why aren't they at work?"memes (seriously?) and headlines that essentially read "Large crowd makes messes". Funny how that last one isn't newsworthy when it occurs at literally any other widely attended event. Come on, PLEASE be smarter than this. When you subscribe to a certain point of view, will only listen to things that support that point of view, and won't do your own objective research, and actively reject everything else as lies, you are going to miss out on some pretty hefty chunks of reality. When that happens, there are going to be many, many people who live that reality who are going to disagree with your point of view. Pretending problems aren't real just because they don't fit into your ideological box doesn't make them go away.

Feminism came about for a reason. The word Feminism gets a lot of bad press because people misunderstand it (due in no small part to misleading propaganda). They think "I can't be a feminist because I shave my legs and I like being a stay at home mom". But they've missed the point entirely. It isn't about escaping the conformity of artificial, socially-contrived gender expectations just to arrive within a new kind of conformity. People who are used to thinking in boxes have a really tough time with the idea of no box at all, but the point is equality and choice. If you choose to be a housewife and a stay at home mom because that's what you love, GREAT! It's about embracing what makes you happy, whatever that looks like.

And let's talk about ideology. Once upon a time, it used to be nothing more than subtle differences in priorities. Not so much any more. I'm an independent, so I get bombarded by correspondence from both sides. One side is being emotionally manipulated, the other side is being actively and relentlessly lied to about the other (emotionally manipulated as well, but with anger instead of a sense of compassion). And they'll never know, because they won't bother to check it out (one side is better about that than the other, for sure). An artificial duality of thought is being created; this idea that if I believe in one thing, the other side must believe the opposite. If it isn't one way, then it must be another. It's a limited way to think in the extreme, and it's terribly sad. It's the idea that "Me and people who think like me are the only ones plugged in to the universal truth".  Newsflash: If you really believe that, then the only thing you're plugged into is your own ego.

We have to stop relating to each other this way! Look at what we've done to our country. We actually have people fighting for the right to be disrespectful and mean to other people (anti-PC), while lamenting how disrespectful today's children are. Really?! You really don't get that?
In the real world, as it used to be, if somebody came to you and asked you to stop hurting them, any decent person would apologize and rethink their behavior. If your reaction to someone else's pain is to dismiss it as irrelevant and then call them names, YOU have something fundamentally wrong with you. If you think opinions are as important as facts, you need to go back to school.

I know people have a lot of different perceptions about 'the way things used to be', but let me share mine with you. When I was growing up, I learned that it was important to have respect for yourself and for others. I learned that being mean and hurting people was wrong. I learned that you treat ALL people with respect, not because of who they are, but because of who YOU are. I learned that it is not our place to judge other people, but God's. I learned that different people have different ways of doing things, and that's okay. I learned to respect my elders. I learned to feel sorry for bullies, because they probably aren't very happy people. I learned that the well being of a person (especially a family member) always, ALWAYS comes before financial considerations.  I learned the difference between value and cost, and to always buy the best I can and then take care of it. I learned not to be wasteful. Boastfulness and self-aggrandizement are undesirable qualities. If I see something that seems wrong, speak out. If somebody needs help, help them. If somebody is being bullied, defend them. God is the only creator I worship. Never believe in gossip or speculation. Think for yourself, always. BE. AWAKE.

None of that sounds appreciably like the way things are heading, but I feel hopeful just the same. The worldwide movement against subjugation was certainly inspiring. We have tough times ahead for sure, but this time period feels very much like the dying gasp of a prehistoric beast. We just need to hold on to our knickers for a bit, and it will be okay.