I’m not a Republican.
And I’m not a Democrat. In fact, I used to be very against the Democratic party.
I saw things about that party one way, and so every news article or story naturally supported what I already believed.
Then I noticed that many of my friends are proud Democrats. Friends I really admire. People who are intelligent. People who are caring. People who think before they act.
So when they shared articles, I read them. People say you won’t change anybody’s mind on Facebook, but I can say that’s not true.
I’m still not a Democrat, but I don’t despise the party.
I understand positions and policies from a different perspective — from the perspective of smart, kind people I know and love.
I don’t always agree with every single perspective, but I have found an awful lot of common ground. It’s nice — this common ground thing. Pleasant. Good. Uplifting.
Feminism Isn’t Evil
I don’t know that I’ll ever completely align with any one political party, but I am — and always have been — a feminist.
Feminism means different things to different people, and I think that’s why it’s often a problem. To me, feminism is acknowledging the rights of human beings — male and female. Humans, and their rights, are important. And often — so often — the rights of women are trampled. And that hurts everyone. Feminism is a platform for standing and saying we deserve better. It’s a belief that a woman should be able to dictate her own life, uninhibited by oppressive laws, beliefs, and prejudices. It’s a belief that women’s rights benefit everyone.
I understand that many women feel they have those rights already. But is it wrong that many women do not feel that way?
We all owe a debt to feminism, whether we’re feminists or not. We don’t have to have more children than we want, because birth control was made accessible to us. We can thank Margaret Sanger for that. It used to be that doctors couldn’t even provide advice on contraceptives. And it wasn’t until 1965 (Nineteen SIXTY FIVE), that the Supreme Court struck down state laws prohibiting contraceptive use by married couples. Let that sink in.
Not only are men and women benefited by the freedom of family planning, women can work in any industry, and their strengths in the workforce are more and more respected, needed, and valued as time goes on. We can speak out against sexual assault, even if it happens in marriage. We can have credit cards in our own names. Paternity leave is beginning to be a thing. People are realizing that women’s issues are human issues. It’s not perfect yet, but progress has been made.
And don’t forget that we can vote, for goodness sake.
Thank you, feminists!
Voting Is More Than Voting
My husband and I watched the movie Selma last Saturday, the day of the women’s march. One scene stood out so much to me. Martin Luther King spoke with President Johnson, demanding the right to vote. Legally, black people were allowed to vote, but in the South, they were still being unjustly denied the right to register.
President Johnson recognized this was a valid issue, but he wasn’t ready to jump on it just yet. Because of politics and timing, he wanted to wait a year. Martin Luther King said it was critical to change the laws, and their enforcement, immediately. People of color were being hurt and killed in the South, and nobody was being punished for it because the police force was white, the judges were white, and the juries were white. Why were the juries made up of only white people? Because registered voters were the only people who could sit on juries.
It stood to reason that if white people were going to be held accountable for their crimes against black people, then black people needed to have the right to vote.
It was so obvious, but the politics of it all were much more complicated, and President Johnson wasn’t willing to do anything — yet.
So Martin Luther King and his followers marched. And they were beaten. And they marched. And they were beaten. And they marched.
And they were finally heard.
And the laws changed.
Peaceful protest makes a difference.
Interestingly enough, many white people joined the march because Martin Luther King appealed to common ground — faith. People of faith, including white pastors and ministers, came out and supported the march in Selma.
Common ground is beautiful, my friends.
I was proud of the women who marched in the women’s march last Saturday. I was hurt by people who called them whiners and complainers; who said they should find something worthwhile to do.
Why are women’s issues not worthwhile? Why is it not worthwhile to stand together and say we demand to be noticed by a presidency that has clearly stated and demonstrated a lack of respect and a clear disdain for women, minorities, refugees, and disabled people? Why is it wrong to be worried about how that disdain will affect future policies?
Even if you don’t feel the same way, why is it so hard to see that some do have legitimate fear? And why do we forget that peaceful protest has benefited us all at one point?
Like many, I wasn’t happy about some of the crude signs and symbols of the march. Some of the causes that piggybacked onto the march didn’t align with my beliefs either. I think the message would have been much better without them.
But I refuse to keep my mind so closed that I can’t look past the few outlying issues and people to see the greater message.
When millions of people all over the world leave their homes and take to the streets to tell the world something, we should listen. Yes, we live in a great country with fantastic freedoms, but not everyone is happy. And that’s OK. And we should hear them. And when they protest, they’re using their voices in the same way many of our nation’s great movers and shakers have used theirs. Don’t you respect Martin Luther King? Susan B. Anthony? Elizabeth Cady Stanton? Alice Paul? Heck, Helen Keller even spoke in a suffragist rally.
Common ground. It was at the women’s marches of 2017. Did you find it? I did. It wasn’t hard. Millions of people feel that things aren’t right for women. Why mock? Why not listen?
Common ground. It’s not hard to find.
And even as I’m hurt by the mockery of last Saturday’s marches, I am prepared to work to find common ground with you if you oppose feminism in this form. Will you work to find it with me?