Monday, January 23, 2017

Women's March

“Do not divide us [Mr. Trump.]  If you force Muslims to register, we will all register as Muslims.”  Gloria Steinem at Women’s March on Washington
Josh and Alissa with Joy Hoek and Kaitlyn Nicole

Millions of women (and male allies) all over the world rallied to show solidarity in the face of threats to defund Planned Parenthood and other signs of disrespect from the incoming Trump administration.  The show of unity dwarfed the size of the crowd attending the Inaugural ceremony the day before.  Alissa and Josh were in the nation’s capital for the event, as Janet Dermody with daughters Shannon  and Kirsten.  
above, Janet Dermody, Kirsten Petras and Shannon Bayer (with Max in stroller); below, Linda Sarsour
MSNBC carried the proceedings in DC live, which included moving speeches by feminist Gloria Steinem, actress Scarlett Johansson, incoming California senator Kamala Harris, and many others.  My favorite was Linda Sarsour, who proclaimed that she is a proud Muslim, a proud Palestinian, and a proud Brooklynite.
NWI Times photo by Suzanne Tennant
Cheryl, Corey, and Toni; photo by Dick Hagelberg; Alissa posted, "My grandma, total badass"

Toni attended the Women’s March in Valparaiso.  Demonstrators held hands as they wound their way around the county courthouse.  Some obnoxious anti-abortion demonstrators showed up but were greatly outnumbered.
 Kellyanne Conway doll in outfit she wore to Inauguration

posted by Dean Bottorff

Meanwhile, Trump visited CIA headquarters, claimed we should have taken the oil when we invaded Iraq, and made outrageous statements that he would have won the popular vote had not three to five million undocumented immigrants cast ballots illegally and asserting, all proof to the contrary, that more people attended his Inauguration than Obama’s four years before.  Out of lackey Kellyanne Conway’s pig-stink mouth came what she called alternative facts supposedly questioning media crowd estimates.  NBC’s Chuck Todd told her bluntly: “Alternative facts are not facts.  They are falsehoods.”

On the way to Inman’s, where James bowled a 180, WXRT played “Legend of a Mind” by the Moody Blues, a six-and-a-half-minute tribute to Dr. Timothy Leary written by Ray Thomas and featuring one of his long flute solos.  Here’s a sample of the lyrics:
Timothy Leary's dead.
No, no, no, no, He's outside looking in.
He'll fly his astral plane,
Takes you trips around the bay,
Brings you back the same day,
Timothy Leary. Timothy Leary.

Saturday afternoon, IU defeated Michigan State thanks to 33 points from James Blackmon.  Meanwhile, Becca was in Wisconsin with the Drifters, a Chesterton H.S. choral group, and won a special award for excellence.  on the school bus was Angie, a chaperone.  It left  at 4 a.m. and didn’t get back until after midnight.
above, Becca solo; below, Jeff Freitag on right

Jeff Freitag, a student from 35 years ago, ran across a book about urban reformer Jacob A. Riis and thought of me.  He wrote: “I live in Colorado now, getting the Rocky Mountain high literally and figuratively.”  An unforgettable character, Jeff and I frequently shared pitchers of beer after class and were tennis partner a few times at a Michigan City indoor court.  If I remember correctly, Jeff came to a Sixties party at our house dressed like a hippie. He and a friend took my Vietnam War course, and his buddy was upfront reporting on a book when, to make a point about patrolling in the jungles of Southeast Asia, suddenly turned all the lights out, leaving the room pitch black.  It’s good to be in contact with Jeff again.

Tom, Dave, and I each won a board game Sunday, my victory coming on an unprecedented three-way tie in St. Petersburg where the tiebreaker was money.  I was winning in Acquire until the expensive companies Continental and Imperial merged, with Tom and Dave splitting the bonus. Both NFL conference championships were blow-outs, so I read about the Black Count, Alex Dumas, fighting bravely in Egypt and earning the envy of Napoleon.
 Bob and Rhea Laramie

Our friend Rhea Laramie has early Alzheimer’s, and a relative asked Toni and me to write something for a memory book she’s preparing.  What a wonderful idea!  We first met the Laramies when Bob was Phil’s soccer coach and subsequently became good friends whom we’ve stayed in touch with ever since, exchanging Christmas cards and attending graduation parties for son Bobby and various grandchildren.  Toni and Rhea sometimes got together for lunch.  The last time I saw them, at a picnic at Woodland Park in Portage, Bob and I reminisced about soccer highlights.  They are good people and strong role models for their many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Alyssa Black (above), whom I know from Anne Balay’s Gender Studies class, wrote:
            When a few coworkers asked me what I did over the weekend, I told them that I attended the women's march in Chicago. They immediately began questioning me. What were you protesting? What were you advocating? Did you have a purpose? Were you there to whine about Trump?
When I was slow to answer, they shot me down, telling me that the women's march was pointless. It had no definite plan and it was a waste of time.
Truly, I didn't really have an agenda when I went to the women's march. I went with Matt, and his agenda was to raise awareness for Syrian refugees, but I was more or less along for the ride. I mean, yes, I am a woman who believes in feminism, and yes, I find Trump repulsive, but I don't need to march down Michigan Ave. for either of those reasons.
For me, the march was about unity. I met others who have similar affinities. I don’t really think we spread awareness as much as we established a sense of community. Maybe this does seem pointless to some, but I am still confused about the hostility. If I had spent my Saturday getting wasted or sleeping in until noon, nobody would give me a hard time about it. So why is it appropriate to give me grief because I attended a march without a detailed agenda?
What is it that these people are actually angry about?

Erin McClain Blumenthal posted this reply: “They are angry because they have been taught that dissent of any kind is dangerous.  And that attitude alone is enough for us to continue dissenting.”  Lauren Erickson added: “This coworker supports you.  Wish I could have gone to one, but I was busy being a man in an opera.”

Basketball coach Gregg Popovich, a Region native, told Sports Illustrated:
  I felt great watching the Women’s March in protest of hoe Trump has conducted himself, because it tells me I live in a country where a whole lot of people are.  And we have to be vigilant to, make sure that, although we all hope that he dos good things for our country, that we don’t get embarrassed by him and roll back liberties that have been worked for [for] so long.

Anne Balay wrote:
              I went to the Women’s March in Hartford because my dad’s Alzheimers increasingly slips into psychosis and he had been hospitalized for that day in Middletown, CT. I wanted to see him, but also take part in the national orgy of anger, frustration, and new beginnings. So, rather than a Big March, I found myself in a place where I haven’t lived since 1982, and it was great!
I went up with my daughter Leah and a few of her friends; we found easy parking, and walked over to the State Capitol Building. It’s a classic dome building, and we met on the stairs, with statues of Puritan New England staring censoriously down on us. There was lots of music, singing, eye contact and story exchanges with strangers… pussy hats… signs… a feeling of solidarity, and of having survived a collective trauma. The crowd was about 10,000 — way more people than the sound system reached. For the first speeches, we squeezed to the front, and heard from the organizers, the governor, local activists.
Like everyone else, I left the rally inspired and hopeful. And then I stopped in at the hospital. I had to explain to my father, again (and again, and again) who Donald Trump is, and where I had been. Caring for a person with dementia isn’t all that different from political activism. That sign that says: I can’t believe I’m still out here protesting this same shit? The national memory is no better than my dad’s. Sandy Hook is so close, both temporally and geographically, yet what did even it fail to accomplish? Is Donald Trump finally the trauma that will shake up our nation? Or will we just cyclically keep protesting this same old shit, too?

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