I have really struggled with this post. I'm not particularly politically active, but I have a real issue with the tone, tenor, and behavior of the new administration. I felt that it was important to add my voice to the Women's March, to protest many of the capricious actions already taken or promised for the future. One of my concerns? I'm visiting many of our National Parks, treasures that belong to all of us, parts of which are rumored to be up for sale shortly.
We took a red eye to Baltimore on Friday night, carrying almost nothing since we'd be turning right around and flying back to LA in 24 hours. I was one of four women to faint on the flight (in total overachiever style, I actually did twice), all from my section of the plane. It was completely scary. The flight attendant was panicky, repeatedly asking me if I was on drugs or if I'd been drinking. I'd woken up out of a dead sleep, gotten up to use the bathroom, and passed out in the aisle. Maybe it was some strange travel vertigo, my body rebelling against covering as much ground in 4 hours as it had taken me 4 months to drive. It was not a great way to start a day on which I'd be on my feet for hours.
Baltimore was jammed with people headed toward the march; we lucked out with an Uber and made it into D.C. as the rally was starting. There was electric energy everywhere, tons of people carrying signs, singing, and chanting. We never made it close enough to hear any of the speeches; the whole place was wall-to-wall people and it was impossible to move.I saw none of the friends from home or the earlier part of my trip I'd hoped to meet up with, which was a complete bummer, but it was good to be standing in a crowd of people with whom I had a lot in common.
Since I came back to the West Coast (good flight home, no fainting!) I've been doing a lot of reading and listening, working to absorb different points of view and develop my own opinions. I have a lot to learn, so I'm focusing on practicing empathy and trying to expand my knowledge and understanding of the issues facing our country from multiple perspectives. I'm writing to my representatives, answering polls, commenting in places I would have previously only lurked. It's all baby steps, but in the right direction.
Though my efforts are largely quiet and small now, they are part of the larger change I feel in myself. Debate and conflict make my skin crawl, but they're a necessary part of making my way in the world, of being a whole person. Onward and upward.