I didn’t join the march with women all over Saturday. Some may be surprised. Many assumed I would. Some asked why.
I just didn’t feel like it.
No, I wasn’t sick. A little tired, perhaps, but that’s not the reason.
Reason, I guess, was the reason. I didn’t have a reason to march.
Before I am inundated with everyone else’s “reasons,” let me address a few:
As an American woman who has reached a seasoned “age of reason” herself, I don’t have many complaints. I have more freedoms than just about anybody ever has had in the history of the world. I have everything I need and just about everything I want. In fact, I have more than enough. I am indulged.
I have had more opportunities to fulfill my potential, my curiosity, my ambition beyond my recurring dreams. I have completed more than one bucket list and still have miles to go before I sleep. I rarely do anything I don’t want to do and, at the risk of admitting self-centeredness, generally please myself. All without offending anyone else, at least to my awareness.
I am aware that not everyone is so privileged. It’s not because I am wealthy—I live barely above the poverty line—just out of reach of all those generous government programs. It’s not because I am surrounded by love and protection—my husband died when we were but 35 years old, and I’ve never found a replacement for him. We had no children, either, so I’ve had to work to create any buffer zone of affection I need, either to take or to give. Students, here and abroad, and rescue shelters have provided plenty.
I didn’t have a reason to protest—at least not mixed in with everyone else’s angry expletives. It’s not that I like every law upheld or ignored in this land; nor am I blind to injustices. I know there are women—people—around the world who don’t have the first world freedoms I—and all those protesting women—enjoy. If that’s what the march had been about, I might have taken the initiative to join. And though some have been quick to add that “reason” for rioting to the bottom of their laundry list of gripes and disputes, I know that wasn’t the real catalyst for demonstration last weekend.
Mostly, the demonstrators were disgruntled about losing an election. They don’t like or accept the new president of the United States and, having gotten used to getting whatever they want, they think complaining and whining is their right. It may be their right, but it really doesn’t enhance their position or their cause. I have been disgruntled over elections and a lot of other things I’ve lost, either fairly or unfairly, in my life, but I no longer throw temper tantrums or blubber like a baby. Now that I am an adult, I have put away such childish things. All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable, the apostle tells us.
That’s not to say I particularly like the new POTUS myself. He wasn’t my choice, and he has made a lot of bad choices himself—especially in not guarding his tongue or his tweeting finger. People are criticizing this admitted immaturity by being equally immature. He is flawed. No question. Who isn’t, though, may I ask? And, it is my belief he is much more bark than he is bite; as one commentator put it, “Don’t take him seriously if you take him literally; don’t take him literally, if you take him seriously.” Sounds like a plan. However, he hasn’t been in office a full weekend yet, and these people are already condemning him for things he hasn’t done. Doesn’t sound like much of a plan. Fed by a dishonest media with an agenda paid for by nefarious sources, these naysayers swallow whatever tastes good on their protesting palates without examining the ingredients or interrogating the chef, all the while condemning anyone who believes—“swallows”—anything else. Whatever happened to personal tastes and preferences? What about personal liberties? And, where’s that tolerance they champion for themselves? Judge as you would be judged; treat others as you would be treated. I don’t think that means what they think it means.
I realize there are some feel they have legitimate cause for concern. I may or may not agree with them, but they have the right to their feelings of anxiety and need for action. It is a bit early, though, to assume anything. Supporters of gay marriage, for example, who assume the new president will repeal their newfound liberty should listen to what he has said on the record: it’s the law of the land and I have no issue with it. Others who feel they will lose other hard-fought rights, perhaps, should wait and see before they take to the streets.
We’re just making sure our concerns are not overlooked. That’s fine, but when your concerns are met—or the concerns of others are focused on for a while instead of your own (isn’t turn about fair play?)—how about a little gratitude for everything you already have, a little respect for those who have been heretofore overlooked (as perhaps you were once), a little stepping aside so that others who have been shut out in the cold may be warmed at the home-fires you have so luxuriously enjoyed? Are you so deprived you demand constant attention and satisfaction? Is it really all about you?
Because I think that’s what this is about. I suspect many of the older protesters are marching because it reminds them of their lost youth, a season when they were the center of attention and relished the titillating times in which they marched and shouted and rebelled like the young people they were. I was afraid this retro behavior would return with paisley, tie-died, and bell bottoms, and sure enough, here it is. I guess Roethke still resonates: old age should rage against the dying of the light. And the young revolutionaries? The infamous millenials? Unlike their elders, raised in the laps of luxury, they have never had legitimate causes to demonstrate, and they feel left out. Like the latest lattes on a Starbucks checklist, it’s the flavor of the month they have to try.
None of that impresses me. Nor does it invite me to join. In fact, the only cause I can think of at the moment that would entice me to rally is one that clearly was not welcome this weekend: the abhorrent slaughter of the unprotected unborn—a “right” most of the rioters were rabid to “protect.” No thanks. I’ll just stay home and watch something else on Netflix. Or read a book. Or write a blog. And try to scroll past the smug, self-congratulatory posts of non-fellow protesters on social media who haven’t unfriended me—yet.
Oh, and “don’t confront me with my failures,” as an old rocker reminds, “I have not forgotten them.”