Saturday, January 21, 2017

A Rally Good Day

"Hey, Mom. Why didn't you want me to go to that rally after the election but when you want to go to a rally, it's OK?"

Ali asked me that question this morning as we were preparing to go downtown to the #WomensRallyIndy, She wasn't snarky. She wasn't mean. And it was a fair question.

She'd wanted to join an anti-Trump rally the day after the election and I'd told her that I didn't think she should. "We don't like the outcome of the election, but we have to respect the process and the office," I'd said.

"But you said rallies don't really make a difference," she reminded me as she busted me well and proper.

I had said that. And at the time, I think I meant it. I'd like to throw myself on the mercy of the liberal court and say I wasn't in my right mind that Wednesday. But the truth is I've been lazy. I've been apathetic. I've not been willing to inconvenience myself.

I do still believe that we have to respect our elective process and respect the office holders whether they're our candidates or not.  I also hope we get to the bottom of the Russia business, but unless and until we do, we have a president and we need to get to the business of governing. And that means all of us.

"The difference between that rally and this one," I said, "Is that we're not protesting the actual president. We're working within the system to be heard, to stand up and say these are rights we're willing to fight for and that our elected leaders need to know we care this much."

She accepted my answer, but I think the wheels are still turning in her smart little head. And while she wasn't excited about getting up this morning, we were both extremely happy we joined the 7-10,000 people who gathered at the Indiana Statehouse to stand up for women's rights.

I have Susan Kessler to thank for the idea of biking downtown and for our awesome shirts, which she revealed New Year's Eve. (This is why you should surround yourself with smart people; I keep hoping the smart rubs off.)

Are the shirts a little obnoxious? Maybe. But the "Don't Tread on Me" is a favorite of the right wing. If they really don't want anyone to tread, they should think about that when it comes to basic women's rights.

It was a glorious day for a bike ride and the rally itself was a love fest. The people were awesome and the police presence -- out in full force -- had little to do but read some awesome signs.  Highlights of the day:
  • "Will you take a picture of me with my daughter?"  If I heard that once, I heard it a dozen times. It was so awesome to see generational activism. And teenagers happy to be hanging out with their mothers.
  • "Where's the Rapture when you need it?" #PentecostalSarcasm
  • The emcee diverted from regular programming to announce a credit card had been found and would its owner please come get it.
  • People kept asking if they could take pictures of our shirts or get one of their own. One guy said he wanted to show his neighbors: "They're Tea Party people."
    • "I would normally be freaked out if a stranger wanted to take a picture of my boobs," Ali said. "But I'm OK with this."
  • It truly was an uplifting experience. We saw a ton of friends. One, who I'd not seen in too long, and only saw for a nanosecond today, caught my attention as we bobbed and weaved throughout the crowd. 
    • "I KNEW you'd be here," she said.  (Ditto, Sarah...)
  • As we were heading to our bikes, we passed three commercial buses. A guy was getting supplies out of the bottom of one of them and I asked him where they'd driven in from. "Bloomington," he said. And then we saw each other. "John!" We blathered on for a while. I introduced him to my daughter. "Hi, John, I'm Ali," she said. He introduced us to his wife and friend.  It was only as we walked away that I had a V-8 moment.  "Umm. Ali. I wasn't thinking. I should have introduced you properly. That was the mayor of Bloomington."
  • We were taking a group photo when a young girl with a Trump-Pence sign walked into it. Ali asked if we could ask her to step out but I didn't want to. "That's what this is all about," I said, but I asked her why she supported her candidates. "Because conservatives aren't being allowed to speak and our rights are being taken away she said. 
  • I hope I was as kind as I intended to be when I said, "But that's not true. Look around. No one here is telling you to stand down. We all get a voice." She nodded and did take a look around. It might be the Pollyanna in me, but I swear she was seeing something new out there.
    • Later, Ali and I talked about how brave it was for her to enter the estrogen-strong crowd.
  • Another example is the attendance of a woman who voted for Trump but made a point to drive down to add to the signal that women's rights are equal rights.

Maybe we all CAN get along. So here's to taking part in our democracy and kicking apathy to the curb. Go America!

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