Five Theoretically Non-Controversial Reasons Why I Marched
I didn’t want to do it. I knew it would be unpleasant and exhausting. It cost me money and a precious non-working day away from my family.
But in my heart, I knew that I’d be glad to have to expressed my solidarity with those whose ideals I share.
Clearly there are many issues in this country that polarize us. I tilt progressive, but, like most people, my views span both sides, depending on the issue.
We’re doomed if we can’t agree on anything. But I think we probably agree on more than is reflected in our divisive politics.
Here are five reasons I marched that the average person might not disagree with too dramatically:
Medical Care for Sick People
There is no way those opposed to the ACA think that a certain number of Americans should simply have to forgo medical treatment when they’re sick, perhaps even die. Perhaps even children. I believe most of us agree that the citizens of the richest nation on Earth should all have access to medical care. So the opposition must be to the details. Perhaps some think Obamacare didn’t cut costs enough, or offer enough choice. On this we agree. The law needed improvement.
But when you remove the current system without having any plan to replace it, it seems naive to trust that it will be replaced. If a specific plan existed, if there were good faith ideas out there for a new way to cover as many people at lower cost, politicians would be shouting it from the rooftops. And I would be the first to embrace it. This does not appear to be the case.
I am pro-choice, but I respect pro-lifers and those who vote for a candidate they may otherwise disagree with based on this one issue that is central to their moral compass. I understand how this conviction could guide a person above all others. I disagree, but I respect.
But science. A disregard for science I do not respect.
If a doctor makes a diagnosis and prescribes xyz treatment because science has proven it to be effective, does one question science in the doctor’s office? Does one question science when teaching a child about dinosaurs at the museum? Or when boarding a plane and assuming it is not going to fall out of the sky? (Unless you’re me and are, in fact, positive it is going to fall out of the sky.)
No, because the scientific method of proving a hypothesis and publishing it in a peer-reviewed journal is a universally accepted tenant of modern civilization.
When did refusing to believe science become a thing?
When companies who didn’t like the implications of this or that scientific data realized they could get politicians to say that they don’t “believe” in it, as if science were Big Foot or Santa Claus.
Not caring about climate change because the solutions could cost you money is indefensible. Do you know how I know it is indefensible? Because no politician says, “I don’t care about climate change because dealing with it is going to cost my corporate doners money.” They say, “I don’t believe in climate change.”
Respect for Women and Girls
Aside from that lady wearing the You Can Grab MY Pussy! shirt, I gotta believe most people agree that women and girls ought to be respected and not spoken about with casual obscenity. When we tolerate misogynistic rhetoric, darker real-world manifestations are inevitable. Campus rape is raging out of control in a climate where sexual assault is not taken seriously. Women deserve to be safe. And they deserve not to have campus crimes go unpunished, even if they were drunk. Even if he was drunk.
“What are they complaining about?”
Women have quite a few things that they would like to see fixed, thank you very much. Such as the quandaries that plague working families. It’s time we acknowledge the fact that both mothers and fathers work, and all the difficulties at home that creates. Both in our laws, and in our culture. Working is not a novelty for women who just heard about feminism.
Most of us have no choice but to work. We need to pay the rent, the health insurance bill and to, somehow, save for college and retirement. Workplace policies should not treat employees like 1950’s dads who never need to go home, attend to domestic responsibilities or take a leave after the birth of a child. Low wage workers need affordable childcare. All parents should be able to stay home with a sick child without fear of losing their pay or their job.
Honesty is Flat-lining
I’m not going to even dignify “alternative facts” but suffice to say, if we cannot agree on what a fact is, we are in dangerous territory. We can disagree about how to solve a problem. We can disagree on taste and style. But we must have a threshold for what we universally accept as truth or a lie when there is unequivocal proof. In theory, this has got to be something that we all agree on.
Racism is Black & White
I believe that most people in this country are good-hearted. Empathy and kindness are American hallmarks. Think of the gushing charity that materializes on a massive scale following any tragedy.
At the same time, let’s not pretend that most of us do not have, at best, our own little biases. Some are programmed into our thinking at a young age, others are acquired along the way. If not in regard to race, then to class. Or geography. Or culture, aesthetics, education, religion, profession… right down to culinary tastes and parenting philosophy. This list could go on. Little judgements are being made at all times by people of both poor character, and fine.
But most decent people recognize when a potentially offensive thought comes into their head, the best course is to try to do away with it. Or ignore it. At the very least not to broadcast it. Because we live in a civilized society. And there are harmful ideas that, as a society, we reject.
Racism is one of those things.
There is a small minority of people out there for whom the election heralded the freedom to let their racist flag fly proudly. It did not.
I have heard my parents’ generation say that “they” need to also acknowledge the racism on the “other” side. Reverse racism is a false rallying cry. The “other racism” has never had the slightest effect on me. Not one moment of my life. Not one job lost. Not one taxi that passed me by. Not one missed opportunity or hurtful glance. The same cannot be said about racism toward minorities. That is why one matters to society, while the other does not.
Brooklyn Bread is about working families figuring out how to survive and, somehow, flourish in an expensive, over-worked, over-connected, over-consumer-y world.
I care about issues like affordable childcare, paid leave, workplace culture, healthcare, education, urban planning, consumer financial protections, and corporate influence that puts investors’ needs before those of ordinary people. The decisions made at all levels of our government will determine the fortunes of families like mine by dealing with these issues. Or not.
So politics are not taboo in my little corner of the internet. That is where you advocate for working families as they claw their way to financial security.
In the end, I was wrong about one thing. The Women’s March in Washington was not unpleasant. It was uplifting and inspirational and I will remember what it felt like to be there my whole life long.
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