I'm not a big radical. I'm not a particularly political person either. I'm one of those that are usually labeled moderate liberal--on some issues I'm conservative as can be, but on others I'm over there on the left. My main focus is what is good for the most people.
Which brings me to the Women's March on Washington. I am planning to go. Or if that doesn't work out, then I will be marching with the Sister March in Charleston, WV.
I grew up in the 60's and 70's but I was not one of the protesters back then. My father was ultra Republican and he had strong views about what women should and shouldn't do, and more importantly what his children should and shouldn't do. So I was pretty much a good daughter. I remember going with my boyfriend to DC to see the burned out places and the tent city during Martin Luther King's time and the civil rights protests. My father would have skinned me had he known. But that was about the extent of my radical teens.
Now I'm an old granny. I have grandchildren and even great-grandchildren. I live in a conservative area in a state and county that has voted Republican the past three Presidential elections. I tend to keep my head low and my views to myself. So why am I marching?
I am marching to honor the past: all those women who struggled and went to jail and marched for women's right to vote. I am marching to honor the veterans who fought in wars to protect our right to peaceably assemble and speak freely. I am marching to honor my friend Ellouise and all the women who worked so hard in the face of strong resistance to get the Equal Rights Amendment passed. It never was ratified but their fight was long and saw many successes.
I am marching for the immigrants: the ones who came over 200 years ago to build the America we know today, the ones to whom probably over 90% of us can trace our roots. I am marching for the ones who came later, to escape repression of their speech, religion, and race. I am marching for the ones like my German great-grandparents, who came to America seeking economic opportunity. I am marching for the ones like my mother who came after WWII to this new land to start families with their American soldier husbands, who found their way in this sea of strangers to start a new life. I am marching for the ones here now who are afraid of what will happen to them and to their families in the next four years.
I am marching for the future: for my granddaughters and great-granddaughters, that they will continue to enjoy the freedoms and rights for women that they take for granted. That they will one day have pay equity. That they will one day not be judged by their gender or by their looks but by who they are and what they do. That they will be able to love and marry the person they choose, regardless of race, social status, or gender identity. That they will never be told they cannot do something because they're female.
I am marching for myself: for all the times I've stayed quiet to avoid making waves, for the years I worked for less because I was a woman, for the many, many times I was told I could not do something because "girls can't." For the times my parents would not let me associate with people of any race or color other than white.
I am marching because of my morals and ethics: I want to let our soon-to-be President know that this granny does not support a man who bullies and belittles others, who treats women as property and worse, who lashes out, often with lies and half-truths, against anyone who speaks against him. This granny will speak against him.
I have lived through Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush 2, and Obama. I have not always agreed with the policies, and sometimes the personal behavior, of some of these men, but they were our Presidents and I respected them. I did not protest their decisions even if I disagreed. This time is different. This time I have to say enough is enough.
That is why this granny is marching.
Copyright Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.