And Why You Should Have Too
I marched because I’m privileged.
I’m white. I’m straight. I’m able-bodied. I’m relatively affluent. I have employer-funded healthcare, a 401k to which my employer matches my contributions and I paid a ridiculous 2% on my now-retired student loans.
I have lived my entire life in coastal California and have been fortunate to live during a time when mass hysteria and suspicion wasn’t a thing (e.g. McCarthyism and Japanese internment). I didn’t even have firsthand experience with Anti-Muslim sentiment after 9/11.
And this is exactly why I marched. Not because my side lost or I hate men or I felt misguided charity toward vulnerable communities. I marched because until now my privilege and its bubble kept me immune to the vulgarities of racism and discrimination. Because this is the first time I have felt the effects of this emotional poverty in my community.
I marched because even my privilege doesn’t shield me from the values of my society.
Think I’m wrong? What do you think happens to a culture when its leaders talk about banning and deporting large sections of the population? When people start to feel hunted? Start to be hunted? What happens when they lose their healthcare or protection from discrimination at work? What happens when they’re forced to go back to work postpartum before their bodies are healed?
Fear, anger, anxiety and stress get pumped into the air like noxious gas.
We don’t live in a vacuum people. Despite our efforts to lock our doors and turn the station when upsetting news comes on, the things that happen, “out there” to “other people” eventually seep in through the cracks in the windows and the walls to pollute the air we breathe.
If you think your community is immune, ask yourself, who are my kids’ classmates? Who are their teachers and what’s the make-up of their families? Who is my doctor, my nanny, my accountant, my housekeeper, my insurance agent? Who bags my groceries? Who are my colleagues and what do their families look like?
I would bet a lot of money the answer to all of those questions wasn’t: white, straight, Christian, able-bodied, affluent, pro-life males.
Even if you live in the whitest, richest, straightest, most educated hamlet of the US, someone in your community, someone who touches your life, will be wearing the stress, fear and anxiety of this administration’s policies like a pungent cloud of decay.
And you know who will absorb this stench like the sponges they are? Kids. The most sensitive members of our society.
Have you ever met someone who grew up during The Depression? I bet even as an adult they washed and reused their plastic wrap. I bet they held on to almost every dollar they made and took sugar packets from restaurants. I bet they never threw out leftovers.
You know why? Because impressions made on children last forever.
That is why I marched. I marched because I don’t want a lost generation of kids. Kids whose ability to learn is hampered by stress and fear. Kids who worry and wonder what will happen to them, their families, their friends, their favorite crossing guard.
I marched because the environment of suspicion created by Trump’s anti-immigration and anti-Muslim policies damages the relationships holding communities together.
I marched because “locker room talk” supports rape culture and rape doesn’t just rob a society of its dignity. It claims creative thinkers and innovators with depression and shame. It tells half the population they’re worth less.
I marched because invalidating the marriage of a couple based on their gender teaches our children that there are two classes of citizens. Those whose rights are protected and those whose are not. And what happens when there’s a shift in values and now it’s your loved one who’s fallen out of favor?
As a privileged person speaking to other privileged people: we gotta stop looking at the specifics and instead recognize the themes. Yea, maybe his policies won’t target us specifically, maybe we’ll even get a nice little tax break, but his ideas of us vs. them lead to a purity test all of us will eventually fail.
We are not special. We are not immune.
It may not be today or tomorrow, but no matter how lily white, straight, Protestant, whatever you are, you too will have your time in the hot seat. You too will feel disenfranchised. And then won’t you wish someone had marched for you?