A Movement for Everyday People

I heard a well-known activist on NPR yesterday say that Donald Trump was the best thing to happen to this country in a long time.

Huh?

He continued . . .  because he brought more people together than ever before in the history of this country. This country isn’t divided, he said, we are finally united. It’s clear from images of the millions of people who gathered across the country that a massive movement was born. But we have to continue. This can’t be a one-day event.

Here’s what I saw at the Women’s March in Oakland – I saw men pushing strollers, I saw women in their seventies holding signs that said, “Pussy Grabs Back.” I saw millennials dancing to hip-hop. I saw entire families marching together. There were people like me, who have never marched for a cause before, but who are afraid of what is happening in our country, and who want to help change the course.

It was inspiring and uplifting, and it felt oddly familiar. It reminded of the days after 9/11, when my friends and I went down to ground zero to volunteer. It’s an unlikely comparison, but just like after 9/11, people wanted to help. They were there to help people they’ve never even met. In Oakland, they were there for the young women who desperately want to go to college, and the hard-working father who may get deported. And after 9/11, they were there to help those who lost loved ones or the first responders who needed basic supplies like shoes.

It gave me hope, because if there are THIS many people gathering for a cause they believe in, it has to mean something, right? The men in power have to see this and think to themselves, “Holy shit, we better listen to these people.” I mean, how can they not? There were millions of people marching worldwide. Millions of people chanting for women’s rights, for the rights of immigrants, for our planet, for human decency. How can the people in power just ignore us? Well, I’ll show you how:

Because this guy is a senator. Because people actually voted to put people like him in office. I feel my blood boiling when I read this. And that he had the nerve to put it on his facebook page.  Honestly, how is this possible? I live in Oakland, so I’m lucky to be surrounded by people who think like me. Sensible people who respect one another, and who look past themselves to do what’s right for the community as a whole. There are people out there who voted for Trump, so I don’t know why I’m surprised. But there’s still a part of me that believes most Trump supporters don’t actually know how bad it is. Maybe they’re religious and are pro-life, or they’re having financial difficulties and believe he’s going to lower their taxes. Or maybe they’ve seen their health insurance premiums go up, and they think he’ll fix it.

But at what cost? Even if you truly believe he will lower your taxes, is it worth ripping families apart? Is it worth taking mothers away from their children by deporting them to a country they haven’t stepped foot in for 20 years? Is it worth taking away the only resource some women have to get help for sexual transmitted diseases? Is the hope of paying less in taxes more important than allowing children with special needs to get help in public schools?

So here’s the thing. There hasn’t been a movement like this pretty much ever. We have the numbers. We have enough people who know that defunding Planned Parenthood would be disastrous for women seeking cancer screenings and birth control. People who know that if Betsy DeVos gets confirmed, not only will our public school system fall apart, but college will become even less affordable. People who don’t want to see the rights of the LGBT community stolen away.

We just need these everyday people to continue the fight. There are things you can do that are actually way easier than marching on a Saturday, and that take less time. Check out the 10 Actions in 100 days campaign, and continue to fight for what you believe. We can do this.

One more very important thing… We seriously cannot allow Betsy DeVos to get confirmed. The only reason she’s even being considered is because her family donated millions of dollars to the Republican party. She is not an educator. She is a lobbyist.  She will take funding away from public schools, she will lift the ban on guns in school zones (because, you know, grizzle bears are a threat in schools), she has no intention of making college more affordable. There are some pretty terrible members of Trump’s cabinet, but DeVos is by far the least qualified and the most troublesome (Look what she did in Michigan). Call your senators and tell them no to DeVos! Or sign a petition! Do something, because we cannot let her take this position. If you have a school-aged child, or if you care at all about the education of children, or if you are just a decent human being, do something.

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