Although I’ve voted in every election that I could, I’ve never been what you’d call a ‘political’ person before the 2016 presidential election. I rarely breathe a word of politics on social media…but lately, I’ve wanted to express myself. A couple weeks ago, I wrote a three-page, 1,354-word response to share how I’ve been personally affected by the recent election and the uncertainties regarding proposed and/or forthcoming changes in legislation. Before I hit the ‘Post’ button, I decided to have my mother read it because in the back of my head, something told me I should.
When she finished, she let out a sigh, deemed it a ‘powerful’ piece, and then told me to basically bury it in the backyard so that it would never see the light of day. Those aren’t her words, but mine. I told her I didn’t intend to advertise or share my post, and that I just wanted to join the conversation and perhaps readers who come to my site for other reasons would engage in a healthy discussion. She feared that I would suffer backlash; become a target of harassment beyond the online world; and warned that if it ever got traction, I could face retribution with unforeseen, unimaginable consequences…because the climate of the nation has become so intensely volatile that anything is now possible really.
Before speaking to her, my biggest worries were receiving a flood of negative comments, which I’d publish because I don’t believe in censoring the thoughts of others…even if they differ from my own. But my mother continued to voice her concerns, and warned that I may attract more than just public ridicule and criticism across the World Wide Web. I grew angry that I had to even discuss whether or not I should hold back on expressing my true feelings…using my own minuscule slice of the online world as a platform…that I pay for every month.
Having to write a post like this one instead of publishing the one I really wanted to is just sad. It adds to the dark cloud eclipsing the notion that we have Freedom of Speech. When too many people fear speaking their mind, we lose the very essence of what makes the United States the U.S.A…of what separates us from the countries many of us try so hard to claim we are nothing like.
I had so many emotions and thoughts trying to claw their way out of me that I had to do something….so…
I Attended the Syracuse in Solidarity March
I would have loved to have gone to Washington on January 21, 2017 for the Women’s March, but did the next best thing I could… I attended a Syracuse in Solidarity event with my mother. It was one of the most diverse gatherings that I’ve been to in a long time…and attendants were there peacefully for many different reasons. I went to show that I CARE beyond the political decisions that affect just my family and I…that I won’t just ‘fume’ behind a computer screen and within the comforts of my own home, but that my presence and voice will be heard…and magnify with others that feel similarly to how I do now.
I did not know what to expect at our event. My 11-year-old nephew wanted to go, but I felt uneasy about it because I had imagined the worst possible scenarios, and pondered our reaction and his safety. You see on television the many times people come out to protest against protesters, and how emotional situations can erupt quickly. I wish I had brought him because there were many children there, and we did not experience any negative incidents.
We heard speakers for civil rights, the environment, education, healthcare, disabilities, and equality for all (regardless of gender, race, religion or sexual preference). I found the speaker representing disability rights very informative and powerful. We chanted, we held hands, we held signs high, and we were definitely heard and seen. The entire gathering was cathartic in so many different ways – this was a moment to heal.
Following the Syracuse in Solidarity gathering, naysayers were quick to denounce our efforts…the undesirable commentary online was depressing and incredibly narrow-minded.
Negative Nancys claimed only a few hundred people showed up. However, aerial drone footage illustrate the magnitude of our numbers. Volunteers at the march attempted to keep a headcount of participants by using smiley face stickers. It is estimated that more than 2,000 people participated via their headcount, but I was there, the number was much higher.
Gloomy Guses repeatedly said that ‘these women don’t even know what they’re marching for…’ but, the crowd was filled with men and women, of all ages (and from a colorful range of backgrounds)…and with many authentic concerns.
Debbie Downers say it was a ‘waste of time’ and that this won’t change anything…that our voices don’t matter because he won…get over it…but history has shown, that protests have a way of changing the course of action regarding Congress, the Senate, laws, and public opinion.
In the end, I just want the people who think that protests or expressing yourself in this manner is a waste of time (and who criticize those who participate) to know…it does matter…and it does make a difference…to me and many others.
Pictures and video don’t lie…we had a pretty decent turnout, if you ask me.
“Silence is the voice of complicity.”
I cannot stand silent to the things that I feel are wrong, unfair, immoral, and/or dishonest.