Saturday, January 21, 2017

About the March...

I don't get into politics much here, but obviously today was a rather significant day with all of the women's marches going on around the world.  I surprised even myself with how much interest I paid things--all social media based, honestly--but there was a lot going on in my feed and I couldn't stop reading things about it.  But the thing is, like most other political topics, I find myself somewhere in the middle and I'm so sick of the extremes on both sides at this point.

I did not vote for Trump.  I've thought he was a jerk long before any of these political aspirations popped up.  Heck, I didn't even like the thought of him owning the Buffalo Bills (although, if that would have stopped this all from happening I'd gladly go back in time and reconsider).  I watched The Apprentice for many years, but definitely not for him.  I liked the concept and actually liked it much better before the celebrity version started.  I actually came to like and respect his daughter Ivanka more than anything because she's a tough chick but with class.  She's obviously very wealthy but the mom side of her in recent years has been surprisingly relatable.  Anyway, I don't have any respect for her dad, for multiple reasons.  Not that I think Hillary Clinton would have been any better, but I guess all horribleness being equal I'd have rather seen her make history as the first female president than the ways he'll be making history now.  God knows I'd rather see inspired little girls than the people who seem to be inspired by Trump. 

I hate politics in general and honestly try to avoid them like the plague.  Almost all politicians have their own brand of slime going on--my mother-in-law being one of the exceptions--no matter their party.  I'm a registered Republican but in recent years I can definitely see myself being much more moderate.  I think Republicans have gotten a little too extreme with their social views.  I mean, I don't like abortion at all, but I also know you can't ban all of them and it makes no sense to ban them AND stop funding birth control and children's programs.  As much as I wish adoption was an option for every unwanted pregnancy, the reality is that you either need to let women who don't want to deal with a baby take care of that beforehand, or you need to provide them with reasonable options to prevent it altogether or ensure the children they have (though maybe can't afford) are still taken care of.  It's not the kid's fault, after all.  And while I'm not advocating to kill the baby in utero either, you can't say that the fetus matters but the living, breathing kid doesn't need to be supported in some way.  No option is ideal, but I am just finding some Republican policies to be short-sighted, even if I know what they're trying to do.

Anyway, my point is that I find myself in the middle of the marches today, too.  I have no issue with peaceful protests like we saw today.  People don't know where else to start sometimes, so power in numbers seems to be their best option.  That's fine.  Will it do anything?  I don't know.  I don't think Trump really understands why they're protesting, nor does he care.  He is arrogant and definitely has his own opinion, and I don't think any of this will change his mind at all.  But people felt they needed to do something, so they did.  And I'm fine with that.  Do I agree with everything they're marching for?  Absolutely not.  I don't like the emphasis on abortion and Planned Parenthood, for example.  Per the above, I do not agree with abortion, but I'm also smart enough to know it can't be outlawed.  Do I think there should be more resources and counseling for those considering one?  Yup.  I don't want to see a single baby killed.  I'd much rather see those babies born and adopted.  But without legal abortion I'm afraid there will be botched back-alley ones, kids born into terrible circumstances, and more drug-addicted babies than we can manage.  But I'd still like women to consider that the fetus isn't just tissue, but a real human being who deserves every chance to live.

But I know other people were marching for gay rights.  In fact, my cousin and her wife were at one of the marches.  I don't know what kind of credible threat has been made toward repealing gay marriage laws, but I'm thinking it's probably been brought up to at least leave it to the states.  In that case we'd probably be fine in New York, but other states would not be as lucky.  Regardless, they feel threatened and it is not my place to judge that.

Other people marched because Trump's treatment of women, the disabled, and those of other ethnicities has been pretty suspect.  I'm not saying he truly believes any of those things (well, the womanizer thing seems pretty legit), but he definitely hasn't done himself any favors in those areas.  Either he does have issues with those groups, or he has one heck of a tendency to stick his foot in his mouth.  He has not made himself a good role model for kids, as he often seems to be as big of a bully as the kid on the other side of the classroom.  The problem is that a lot of people are looking for an excuse to hop on the bandwagon, and he has managed to validate bullying and discrimination on a grand scale, whether that was his intention or not.  We saw it in the days after the election, and I think it may ramp up again now.  It shocks me that people are so supportive of a person that seems to have no issue bullying others.

Some people marched because the legislation he's already planning scares them.  I can't say I'm a huge fan of Obamacare, as I know it hasn't been as awesome as promised.  But I also know it's been a godsend for many others, and Trump has never really detailed how it's going to change.  I do know that it's been brought up that pre-existing conditions may make people ineligible, and I know that is devastating to so many people.  If I was in that position, I'd probably march, too.

The thing is, you can't group all of the protesters into one group because they all have a different reason they're marching.  Heck, I'm sure even they didn't all get along.  You can't tell me there was no tension between the pro-choicers and pro-lifers.  I know some pro-life groups were denied the right to march, which is wrong.  But I hope ultimately everyone got to march and was able to put their immediate differences aside for the greater good. 

Regardless of their side, it's easy to say they're just whining and taking the easy way out (one of my Facebook friends actually did).  Maybe they should be doing more (she suggested foster care), but again, I'm not sure a lot of people know where to begin.  But I know that people were marching because they feel legitimately threatened (or at least marginalized) by Trump and his policies.  I don't think it makes sense to discount that.  Even if I personally don't agree, I'm not them.  So why would I judge them?  As long as it's peaceful, knock yourself out.  There are clearly a LOT of people worldwide that take issue with everything that's going on right now, so it seems to be worth considering that something isn't right.  The media may be to blame for a lot of it, but it's pretty clear that certain things are happening with or without a media slant. 

It's only day two of this presidency, so I'm really trying not to jump to conclusions or freak out.  I can't say anything he's done has given me much hope, though.  Maybe the media is somehow not covering any of the good stuff, but some things he does are going to speak for themselves anyway.  I don't know how qualified he is for this job, nor do I think he will be seeking wisdom from anyone except "yes" men.  Despite his claims otherwise, I don't find him to be a religious person so I don't really foresee him humbling himself before God asking for guidance.  All of those things concern me.  I hope he somehow figures things out and in four years we all find ourselves in a better place than we are now.  Like the meme says, "Wishing for Trump to fail is like wishing for the pilot to crash the plane we're all on."  But if he and the media and those at opposite ends of the spectrum would just stop doing things to divide everyone in the meantime, that would be great.

At the end of the day, it's still my job to teach my kids what's right.  I want them to think critically about both sides of an issue and be compassionate enough to understand other people even if they don't agree.  It's hard to know what to believe anymore with the media and other forms of "spin", so I think at this point it's important to tune into the people we know and love, and if something is bothering them, consider why and do what you can to be supportive.  While there may be some bigger fish to fry down the line, I think that's a good place to start.

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