For most of my adult life I have been afraid to voice my opinions that relate to politics. Because quite frankly, I fucking hate politics. I refuse to select a party. I don’t fully buy into one or the other and think we probably need more than two parties to define the melting pot that is the United States. I understand why we have government and laws. I pay my taxes, I might complain at times, but I know why its necessary, so fine. It’s politics I hate and you know what I mean.
I have a sneaking suspicion this is also rooted in the fact that I grew up conservative in a rural area of a red state and then left it. After I left home and had many different experiences. Experiences that proved things are not so black and white. That put me somewhere in the middle because I knew where both sides were coming from and I agree with both sides on a little of this and a little of that. And those changes or opinions did not always align with most of my family or friends back home. I gained many great values and learned a lot as a farmer’s daughter. I would never, ever disagree with that and my change in ideas felt like I was a traitor. As someone not huge on arguing, (though, I will if I am confident I know what I am arguing about), I have mostly kept my mouth shut. I did what I could to move my ideas and thoughts forward through various volunteer actives and organization support and did not broadcast it on social media.
For the record, I hope our 45th President is so great that I happily vote for him again in four years. I’m not kidding.
But for that to happen, it’s time for me to stop being afraid. It’s time for me to tell my father his “joke” that we knew the first place to check was the only black family’s home on our block if anything was missing the night we forgot to lock the door, is not funny or okay. It’s time to stop pretending that the times I was sexually assaulted (it may have been in small ways, but it doesn’t matter, its not okay that I rationalized were fine, because it wasn’t a big deal, because I wasn’t hurt. And no. those incidents were not in the big scary city of New York, it happens right here in Montana), was something that did not need to be acknowledge. because it does need to be. It’s time for me to stand up for my friends who are gay or bi or whatever they identify as, because they are some of the nicest, most wonderful people I know and I don’t understand how anyone could think they are less human and therefore don’t deserve equal treatment. It’s time for me to stand up for the environment. Its time for me to fight for equal pay and opportunities in employment as my male counterparts that I equally matched. I care about job in this country. I care about agriculture, the land, the way of life I was raised in. I don’t really give two shits about guns. I care about all the violence we see because of them. I believe its time to stop blaming and start taking ownership over these systematic problems and make it right. No one can claim we have some sort of great solution for a lot of things. I’m pretty sure we all want safe communities, support our children’s education, want our children to grow up in health environments and want to see jobs increase in America. And no not everyone is going to be completely happy all the time. But that’s why it’s time for me to speak up, because the only way we will find resolution is by talking and meeting in the middle. And so I went to the Women’s March in Montana.
Some have poo pooed it and ridiculed it, as if they didn’t have the opportunity or, in fact, do the similar things years ago. I’m guessing it’s because they don’t actually understand what is was about. I want to know why you felt the need to publicly to make fun of it, instead of asking someone why they were marching. Some have said, we need to accept who the president is. We have. Don’t worry. That’s why we marched, it wasn’t us throwing a fit. It was us reminding the president we are here and we are not going away, that our issues matter too. Some have assumed those who marched think they are lesser citizens with out voices. We know you have voices and know you’re intelligent and passionate too. That doesn’t mean I have to agree with you or that I have to shut up. We also have voices and we also have the same right to use them for what we believe is right and we might, just might, be using them to voice for more that ourselves, our needs. Some think it was a man bashing session. I don’t think I heard one bad word about men. Bottom line: we were not “just stomping around in little pink hats” (but I wish I had a pink hat!) and doing nothing more. You are grossly underestimating us.
The Women’s March in Montana was so uplifting, so hopeful, so exciting. The mission of the march is: “We stand together in solidarity with our partners and children for the protection of our rights, our safety, our health, and our families – recognizing that our vibrant and diverse communities are the strength of our country.” It was not meant to be a march against the president. There was dancing, there was singing, there was no violence. The march was invigorating and a call to action. It was amazing to be surrounded by so many women and men who feel the same. We were encouraged by our state’s first lady and our senator, Jon Tester, telling us to keep marching, keep fighting. I hope they do the same. The march was our way of reminding everyone that we care about so much more about what we leave for our children, (well maybe your children, let’s not pretend I have intentions of going down that road). It was us saying that we are going to work tirelessly for change important to recognize and honor the melting pot that this country is. It was our way of saying that we are not going to let fear win. Diversity empowers us. Diversity of every kind. So I am going to voice my thought, prayers, whatever, and I’m going to try to not be afraid of the backlash I might get from those closest to me.
For those of you who bothered to make it through I leave you with these three things.
One, an apology for getting so heavy, but it’s my blog so I get to do what I want.
Two this quote, I don’t know where it came from, but it resonates:
“If you are a woman that does not believe that there is a reason to protest, you should be thankful that you have never been discriminated against. But there comes a time when you will have to realize that this isn’t all about you– that there are women fighting every day for equal pay, affordable birth control, and low cost healthcare provided by PP. That there are women who may never feel safe again because the men who sexually assaulted them were not given jail time. The fact that you have never been faced with hardship does not mean that it does not exist, in the same way that just because you ate today doesn’t mean that world hunger has ended. Be aware that this is about ALL WOMEN. One day, when you are faced with this discrimination, we will be there and we will stand by you.”
Three, this NYT Video about talking to the people you love and who voted for the other side.