Thursday, February 16, 2017

Protest demonstrations, our new way of life (2/16/2017)

We went to the Woman’s March on Washington a few weekends ago and I spent a half day with our 500,000 closest friends.  Close having two meanings here: we were packed in like sardines, but in addition to that we were all philosophically and politically pretty darn close there on the mall.  We had an amazing time and came back tired, but charged.  

The last time I joined a demonstration was a long time ago.  It was in 1973 in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.  I was 20 years old and the protest was against the U.S. involvement in the military coup in Chile that overthrew President Salvador Allende.  It was a Nixon thing and being anti Vietnam war anyway, nothing better than a good anti-US protest demonstration downtown Rotterdam, as they did everywhere else in Europe.

So you can imagine, it was kind of exciting more than 43 years later; shorter hair, a little less hair, a little grayer hair, and a little pudgier around the middle, we were ready to get on the bus to restart our career as protesters.  Being a guy, I was glad to be in the minority and I absolutely do not wish to hijack the movement or what happened that Saturday.  It was a beautiful thing.  Our estimate was that approximately 30% of the attendants were male, some of them holding signs in support of their sisters or mothers who could not come; of their wife, or one sign the said “I support her” with arrows pointing in all directions.  

Most of the signs I saw address the following seven common issues:
  1. Women's rights
  2. Support of Planned Parenthood
  3. Support of a woman's right to choose (which is different from the support of Planned Parenthood)
  4. Trump's treatment of women
  5. The Republican threat to the environment
  6. Black lives matter
  7. LGBTQ issues
There were other signs as well, but these made up the majority.  Then you hear some of the conservatives complaining about some of the obscene messages on the signs and honestly for two or three racy ones that I saw; however, I thought they were entertaining and did not think they were that bad. One involved Donald Trump grabbing the statue of liberty by the crotch, and some may interpret the one below a bit off color.
I still like this sign; although some might think it is a bit off color.
You must be living under a rock if you did not notice the demonstrations during the next weekend.  The major cause for those were the famous Muslim ban that was instated by the President under the motto: "Let's make American lives unsafe again," or at least that is what most experts called it.  At least the demonstrations showed there is still a core of civil, tolerant people out there.  But it really makes you wonder what is next?

A hug anyone?
The question remains, "Is this what democracy is all about."  Many people from the right call the demonstrators sore losers and tell them to get with the program, their guy won and respect what he's doing; give him a chance.  Others tell me he is violating The Constitution in some cases and that is the reason why they are demonstrating.  Boy, four weeks in and ethics violations abound already.  I like to make the argument that this is what democracy is all about, we need to make sure that a lot of the progress that has been made during the past 8 years is preserved.  The problem is that we cannot change the president's mind, but maybe we can change the mind of our elected officials by way of the relentless demonstrations; show them that their heads will roll if they just roll over and do what the president want them to do and look the other way when unethical thing happen.
Hopefully congress will understand that there will be dangerous curves ahead if they just bend over and don't question things or listen to the will of the people
From what it looks like, my demonstration days will not be over.  I'll be walking for science and for the environment in the next few months.  They will all be peaceful and I am sure that again I will be accused of being a sore loser.  But all I can say is that I am vigilant; I do not want to go back to the Middle Ages where scientists are persecuted and the environment is an afterthought.  I have lived in third world countries, witnessed the persecution of free thinkers, seen the pollution and tyranny of dictators.  This is why people try to escape the tyranny they are living in and want to move here to the U.S. and live in freedom.  In their own country they are trying their best to emulate our way of living, but that way of living seems to be rapidly changing and I am not sure if it is for the best.  We need to maintain our ability to be critical observers and thinkers and not just take everything as it is given to us; let's please protect what we have and keep the movement going!

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