Apologies for the radio silence. Or computer black out. Or my absence.
However you want to look at it.
I've been anxious.
We have a new President. Watching the inauguration made me physically nauseous. I had no idea we lived in such an awful country. The vision of the United States that our new President presented in his inaugural speech in no way resembles the United States that I live in. No matter. He is going to make it all great again.
I did not get to march the following day with the Women's March. I wanted to. Instead I spent the day in a VW Jetta with my delightful baby, Bunny, driving her back to Oxford, Mississippi. School has resumed for her.
I was so proud of all the women and men that marched everywhere.
(A reminder: The Equal Rights Amendment has never been ratified.
For every woman who says "that march was not for me, it does not represent my values, I am free and can do what I want" let me make this very clear.
You can do what you want because women marched and protested for YOU in the past.
You can have control over your body because women marched and burned their bras in the sixties.
You can vote because women marched. It was a seventy year battle to obtain that right.
You can have credit in your own name because women marched.
Most of these rights have only been guaranteed since the 1970s. And some of them are at risk of being taken away from us.
The nice thing about a right is it is something we can exercise or not.
You don't want credit in your own name? Fine.
You don't want to vote? Fine.
You can't imagine ever needing or wanting or considering an abortion? Fine.
No one is forcing you to do any of those things.
Please do not try to take my right away from me, though.
I know women who have had abortions and you do, too. You may not realize it, but you do. Of the many people I know that have exercised this right, not one says they regret it. It was the right thing at the right time and they were grateful to be able to make that choice. It was their right.
I also know women who had to leave school to give a baby up for adoption because society wouldn't condone an out of wedlock baby. They had no choice at the time. Society and family ruled their lives and there were no legal options.
I don't know anyone who has given up a baby and was happy about it but I'm sure there are many- just not in my circle. And absolutely the babies that have been adopted have given great joy to their families.
I had an earnest chat with a woman when I worked at the coffee shop who had her best friend die after having an illegal abortion. She bled to death. In the United States of America. She had no choice, no right.
I also know teenage mothers that kept and raised their babies and married the daddies and are living happy wonderful productive lives. That was their choice and their right.
See? Everyone can do what they want and what works for them. Let's keep it that way.
So I didn't march but I will in the future. Peaceful protest brings about change.
Stand up for your convictions.
But I digress.
In the past ten days-two weeks, the new President has made some changes. Some of these changes are making people nervous. Making other countries nervous. But he's also making some people happy.
But mostly people are angry. Even the happy ones. Angry at what the President is doing. Angry at the people who don't like what he is doing. Angry at the news. Angry about the truth. Angry about the lies.
Anger is fueling the protests. Anger is also fueling name calling and rudeness and the dissemination of lies, alternative facts, half truths and sometimes even, yes, the truth.
Stand up for your convictions.
What can we do?
How can we manage this anger and turn it into something positive? And I'm not speaking just to the left or the right. I want to address everyone.
First. Be informed.
Read real news. Real journalists share the real truth as best they can. Which means read and listen to and watch time honored news sources that are committed to telling the whole story, whether it's one you like or not.
Probably even more enlightening would be to sample some of the foreign news agencies. Americans in general tend to think the sun rises and sets on our country only. Listening to another country's take on our politics can be eye opening.
Independent news sources
For the most fun, Monday through Friday: the Skimm
Second. Take action.
Don't like what's going on in politics? Take positive, legal action. Call or write your representatives. Go to their offices. Share your feelings calmly, clearly and repeatedly. These are our elected officials.
The Constitution starts with "We the people...".
Find your representatives here.
Third. Be kind.
Remember, you catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar.
Pissing someone off rarely inspires them to do what you want.
And goodness knows we can all use a little kindness.
Start small. Start with your own little world. Say please and thank you. Let someone go ahead of you in line. Start your letters with "dear" and end with "sincerely" or "love". Even those angry letters to your representatives. Be respectful. Even to those who may not deserve your respect.
Take the higher ground.
Here are some oldies from my original list that pertain to kindness and sharing:
No. 26: Send a thank you note every Wednesday
No. 42: Do a charity walk
No. 47: Pay for someone else's coffee, meal, toll (also here)
Just as a back up....
Get your passport in order.
I was going to add happy nonsensical images just to lighten this piece up, but...no.
Next week I will be back to my usual nonsensical patter.