Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Greetings from Trumplandia!

Thanks one and all for the birthday cards and good wishes.  Yes, it was the big 7-0, which is difficult to believe (until I look in the mirror!).  It definitely forces one to stop and think about the time remaining!  

I celebrated the day, which happened to also be Inauguration Day, by NOT watching the event.  Later that night I, along with several bus loads of people, departed for the Women's March in DC.  While there were more people coming from SC than one would expect - 22 buses total - there were many people who couldn't go and wanted to support the event.  Cheryl C. and a friend of hers provided 3 pussy hats and a survival kit, and a local lady contributed two hats. Chris and Cheryl Mc provided brownies and other chocolates (which were shared on the way home). Friends from various liberal groups showed up at the departure site and provided snacks, water, and a great send-off.  It was very festive and was even covered by the local newspaper.

Once on the road, we had an 8 hour ride, with several rest stops along the way.  We arrived at the end of a metro line at about 7:30 AM and made our way to city center.  As one would expect, the metros were jam packed, and that pretty much describes the rest of the event.  I have never seen so many people in one place and it's difficult to describe the atmosphere.  It's wonderful to see such diversity with one uniting theme.  It was totally peaceful and everyone was very laid-back.  People enjoyed talking with those from other places and took photos of interesting signs, always a fun part of these things. I had one lady take a photo of our signs because she had a friend in Belgium who vacations in SC and she had wondered if anyone from our state would be there.  She was delighted to learn there were 22 buses coming from SC and wanted to pass on the information.  It really does restore your faith in mankind to participate in an event like that and I came away feeling so glad that I'd done it.....and that I still had the stamina to do it, though I have to admit that my legs we so wobble and me feet so numb by the end of it that I'm sure I was weaving!

Early on, we were in the thick of the crowd.  We couldn't get close to the stage, but we were close to a jumbo-tron, though at a very acute angle.  We held out as long as we could but eventually moved to the periphery of the crowd.  Once we did that, we missed most of the speeches, so if you were watching on TV, you saw more than we did!  Even so, that gave us time to chat with people, enjoy the signs, grab some food, and just generally soak up the atmosphere.  I didn't take my camera (mistake) and my cell phone is crap, so I didn't get many good photos.  My friend Tippy was more successful, but when they went from her phone to my computer, to the slideshow, they appear very grainy.  Anyway, this is what we were left with...

Other outstanding moments:

  • The roar of the crowd!  Generally, the crowd was quiet, especially when you think of how many people were there, but every once in a while a cheer would emanate from the stage and just roll on down the length of the crowd, like an audible wave.  It was fantastic!
  • This experience is a good example of the difference between liberals and conservatives - bathrooms became an issue as there were obviously more people than expected.  We got word that there were bathrooms in a mall nearby, so we headed in that direction.  As soon as we got into the building, we joined a bathroom line.  It was only when we got close to the door that we realized the women had taken over a men's bathroom.  Well, the men needed to use the facilities also, so they were just waved to the front of the line!  There were three urinals on the far wall (providing some privacy), so they went in, did their thing and everything proceeded calmly.  
  • We headed back to our metro station at around 4PM, hoping to avoid the rush - not a chance.  When we got there, we had about 2 hours to grab a bite to eat in a mall.  While Tippy was in the restroom, I was hanging around outside a specialty tea shop.  One of the clerks, whom I took to be gay, noticed my signs and motioned me to over.  As we were chatting, he took my hand and said, "Thank you"!!  He then hugged me!  Another lady came over with her sign and he thanked and hugged her!  It was very touching....and a reminder of how vulnerable some groups must feel under this rule.  
  • Then, after another 8 hour ride home, I went to pick up Rosie, who was staying with the local dog trainer, from whom we'd taken several classes.  Her first words were "Well I hope you didn't get caught up in any of the violence!"  I explained that I saw no violence, nor did I even see or hear the police responding to violence.  "Well, there was.  They were breaking windows and that just tainted it for me!"  Welcome back to South Carolina, land of alternative facts!!  
It was a great experience and I think it served to encourage others to stand up and get engaged.  Look at how quickly people showed up at airports to protest the immigration ban.  It's going to be a long 4 years for many of us and I, for one, and feeling the stress of non-stop stupidity and hatefulness.  We are in it for the long haul and need to pace ourselves accordingly.  The Women's March served as a great motivational experience.

At about the same time, Chris and I somehow found ourselves among the 14 founding members of our local Indivisible group.  We've attended an immigration protest at Congressman Sanford's office and plan to attend his town hall meeting in early March.....while still writing, calling and doing whatever else seems pertinent at the moment.  You can see how it becomes exhausting.  Thank goodness for Drinking Liberally (which had about 40 people last meeting) and our monthly Progressive group where we can just get together and "be liberal"!!

What have I been doing aside from politics?  
  • I've shopped for and purchased new sofas, which will be delivered Thursday.  I hope I like them once they're here!
  • I've volunteered with Tidewater Hospice and will be visiting three of their patients one day a week beginning tomorrow.  I certainly saw the need when my mother was under their care in a facility and I hope I can be helpful.
  • I've also maintain the usual social connections and events - lunches, plays, movies, etc.
Just to end of a positive note, I can't describe how mild our winter has been and how much I've enjoyed it.  Most of our days have been in the mid-70s.  This week we will hit 80 on two days.  It may then drop down to the 60s for 2-3 days, and then back into the 70s.  It's been great!

I hope this finds you doing well.....and not having to be so consumed with politics.  Count your blessings!

You might want to turn your volume DOWN, but it's worth watching to the end.