Why I Walked

Sometimes one hears folks, even me, say “I felt called” to do a certain thing. I was called to do the Woman’s march …. by my younger sister. I had been considering the local Austin, TX, march but would have been hesitant to go it alone. A sister and twenty something years old nephew made it feel doable. And it was though. The sun was out so it was hot. Standing, waiting for almost 2 hours for one’s turn to enter the street is hard for me. Walking was simple as the entire day was less than the number of steps I am averaging on a daily basis.

Today my feet are swollen and sore. My head hurts because of all the aching joints starting in the feet all the way to the base of my neck. This discomfort is nothing compared to the pain and suffering soldiers in the various wars have suffered. To listen to the stories of uncles and friends that served in different wars is heart wrenching. One female friend was a nurse in Vietnam. She still suffers PTSD from seeing the carnage of those boys and men. My peers living with the ravages of agent orange and napalm. I walked for the benefit of veterans to be maintained.

Civil warriors such as freedom riders suffered deeply. As did the suffragettes. As do police officers and their families who are peacefully performing the duties of working a BLM march in Dallas. Yes, many of us were thanking the police officers yesterday as they were there to direct traffic. Protecting the right of assembly. Helping get ambulances to persons who were overwhelmed by the heat. Protecting.

I marched to remind the elected officials that there is a sleeping giant. My job was shipped overseas. So I do not just ‘get’ the plight of the rust belt, I experienced it on a personal level. Yes, in 2001 and 2002, I sat at a computer being told to ship digital data for circuit boards to Germany, China and other off shore areas. I questioned the law of the land to the sales people and even researched at home. I made them show me documents that the sensitive US materials were not compromising our nation. I fought for jobs to stay in the country. The building that housed the company is nothing but a big, giant slab of concrete. The slabs sit on top of soil and water polluted by toxins from pre-regulation chemical dumps. Too polluted to be sold without massive cleanup efforts.

Some politicians and businesses say the regulations caused the flight of companies. IBM wanted to save 2 cents a circuit board … We lost that contract. Instead of executives taking a cut in pay, the workers were expected to bear the brunt of the loss. Days off without pay. Cuts in salary. Job eliminations. I was a supervisor making $44,000 a year. Working 60 hour weeks. All supervision positions were eliminated. We could bump the low man and take a cut in pay. Or leave. I left.

Financially not the best for me but positive for my mind. Five years later one of the last remaining employees was sending the last of the data to China as the facility closed its doors. So I marched for the workers without jobs because corporations are greedy. Because fear or overbearing monopolies keep inventors and entrepreneurs from beginning or succeeding.

I marched for a free public education system that serves the needs of the students. Not to be used as a political football. An equitable education for all so there is one less barrier for persons looking for jobs or creating jobs. Cause not every one had a dad to give them a small loan to start a business. Some folks such as my BIL and my younger sister who have worked hard to build a very successful business need a mentor. May need a Small Business Loan to begin or move to the next level. Cause no one is successful in a vacuum.

I marched because of abortion. I am not a person who could have an abortion. I wanted children, plural. By grace, we had one child. No money to adopt. I support Roe v Wade because there will be abortions so long as the root cause is not addressed, unwanted pregnancies. My baby sister was an unexpected and unwanted pregnancy. She is a blessing. But there was extended family and neighbors to help with the care. Granny was there for sister to stay with after school during some years. I was there for care during the evening and summer. I was 12 and she was 4 when Mom went to work on the swing shift. So from 4 in the afternoon till Dad would get home at 6 to 8 in the evening I was her sitter. It was 1/4 mile to the nearest neighbor. I drove the car and cooked on a propane stove. We have horror stories and good stories from those years. That is for another post.

Not every woman has a support group to where she feels raising a child is a choice. Not all birth control is 100% effective. Birth control costs money. So is the answer something to reduce libido in both men and women? Most research I see being touted is the exact opposite. I do not know but if we do not come out of the trenches and march together we will never get it figured out in a reasonable manner. And this should not be a political football, either. There were Pro Life signs at the march I was at because it is a woman’s issue. Men neither carry nor give birth.

I marched for the LGBTQIA friends and family that enriched in my life. For the little boys that were ‘feminine’ or ‘different’ as toddlers. For the ‘tom girls’ that preferred trucks to dolls. It is hard to find words in English to describe “us” that is not gender based. I marched so the embryos as created in the womb are able to live freely. Why should gender matter as a matter fact? One is either attracted or not attracted to another whether the attraction be as friendship or otherwise.

I marched because I do not agree with the tactics that are proposed by the Congress and President as the way to make America great again. I have been a voice since the late 1960’s and I will not be quieted now. First of all, I believe the United States are still the best place for freedom in the world. I think the US is still Great just not perfect. I think we were called daily to continue the task given by our forebearers, “… to form a more perfect union …”. As every person that has or ever will hold the office of the presidency, Donald J. Trump is my President but no my Savior.

The march was peaceful. Inspirational in knowing I was not alone in fighting against racism, sexism and marginalization. For health care, children and freedom of speech. I walked for the disabled that cannot walk. I walked for the elderly and children dependent on Social Security, Social Security Disability, Medicaid and Medicare. For the disabled veterans whether the scars be physical and mental or just mental. For the born and the unborn. For the victims of gun violence. For gun responsibility. For people that as a Christian I am called to care for as a result of my experiences in this life.

I invite you to do the same. We must talk but more importantly we must listen to each other’s story. To understand the different perspectives and get this figured out together. There will have to be compromises to accomplish this continuing goal of a more perfect union.

Peace out!
Janice

Austin, Texas, Womans March, January 20, 2016