March On!

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The older I get, the more this rule applies: there has to be a really good reason to put myself in the position of too few bathroom facilities. PortaPotties count, but barely. A corollary to that is that there has to be a really good reason to be friggin’ cold, even though the cold certainly makes the PortaPotties less odorous.

So, you might think those are the reasons I’m not joining the Women’s March on Washington.

And you would be partly right.

But as one who joined the Million Mom March against gun violence only to see gun deaths increase with the years, I am done with marches.

If someone could prove that I could save a life by marching, I’d be on it.

But I worked in D.C. and I put in my time with Congressmen. I was a press secretary for two Congressmen and I may sound jaded, but I can tell you, marches count for nada. They are good optics but they don’t change policy. I can’t name one politician who saw a big march, hit his or her forehead, and said, “Eureka! I’ve been blind, but now I see!”

The Tea Party had great optics – mostly white people in patriot costumes with flags urging the government not to tread on them. They co-opted, and some would say perverted, patriotism and they made for great TV. But it wasn’t until the little worm Ted Cruz stopped government in its tracks with a filibuster that included a reading of “Green Eggs & Ham,” that anyone realized the Tea Party had a little bit of political heft. When the Tea Partiers marched, they were easily dismissed as crackpots.

Don’t get me wrong: I completely support the cause behind this women’s march. I do not want to see women’s health and women’s rights rolled back to some mythical Leave it to Beaver days. I do not believe that the only love that is valid is that between someone born male and someone born female. And I know that immigrants made this country diverse and strong, not weak.

So, march on, sisters and brothers. I just won’t be there.

Rather than marching, I will be working quietly – and not so quietly – in the background. I’ll be signing up for some political committees because I think change starts local. I’ll be sending money to the organizations likely to be gutted by a Trump presidency.

I will be hanging out in places that are warm and have bathrooms – and I will be inviting any gender to use whichever bathroom works. Because, the Halls of Power? They’re warm and they have bathrooms. And they are where real change happens.

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Pointless Protest

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Dear Reader, I hope you will not boycott my blog after reading this.

 Because, I shamelessly watched the Olympics. Despite an impassioned segment from Keith Olbermann about the horrific dog killing in Sochi. Despite Russian politicians’ ignorant and insulting statements about homosexuality. And despite Putin’s years of human rights violations.

 I watched because, despite all the calls to boycott the Olympics by my enlightened friends and colleagues…what good would it do?

 Take it to its logical conclusion.

 Okay, NBC gets low ratings for the Olympics. So maybe they decide that covering the Olympics is a losing proposition if they can’t promise advertisers the viewers. And then, sponsors for the athletes have to give a second thought to those sponsorships because, if their good deeds aren’t going to get national visibility on a broadcast network, is it really worth it to sponsor an athlete? And the athletes, shorn of sponsors, will they be able to afford Olympic competition? How does any of this lead to the Olympic Committee putting the next Olympic site candidates through a basic decency checklist before awarding the Olympic venue?

 Likewise, I have yet to share a Facebook status or pass along a chain email. Does cancer care if I dedicate my status to saying in some creative way that cancer sucks? If I post a red equal sign to show my support of marriage equality, will the Supreme Court justices take note and change their vote? I’m pretty sure they’ve taken no notice of any of my statuses, otherwise the legal penalties for child or animal abuse would be a whole lot more creative and painful.

 If I tell you my bra color, or make my profile picture purple, how much money will go to a cause I believe in? Chevrolet pledges a dollar to fight cancer for every purple photo. But I write checks for more than a dollar, so wouldn’t I be better off just writing a check or volunteering?

 Don’t get me wrong. I think boycotts and protests can bring about great social change. But they have to be done strategically. If we all just hop on the latest easy, fun social wave because it makes us feel good about ourselves without actually ensuring that our mobilization results in change, isn’t our protest pointless? 

 

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