January 22, 2017

Why I Marched (and What's the Deal with Obama Haters?)

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Jan 21, 2017: Raleigh, NC

Yesterday Donald Trump took office.
Today millions of concerned people took to the streets - across the globe.



Inspired by my wife who trekked up to DC for the marquee Women's March on Washington, I joined my friend Katherine and her little girls to head into the heart of Raleigh, NC for the local march. En route Katherine asked "how big do you think the crowd will be?", "I just hope it isn't pathetic" I responded. Then we hit traffic - there isn't traffic on Glenwood Ave on a normal Sat morning. This wasn't a normal Raleigh morning. A mile from the march route people donning pink hats and signs were hiking in. Turnout expectations for the little Raleigh march were smashed - 17,000. The DC crowd was estimated at 500,000, maybe more.

Inspired by my friend Jennifer who is capturing the mood of DC in pictures, I brought my trusty Canon to dabble in photo journalism too (more photos coming).

Inspired by more friends marching in Raleigh, DC, NYC, Copenhagen and beyond, along with viewpoints of others (from both sides of the isle) on social, traditional media and old fashioned conversations, got me thinking and drafting this blog post.

Why march? What will it accomplish? a coworker asked Friday. I don't expect much to change as a result of the march. If that holds true, nothing is a huge victory. Unless you've been in a coma, you know Trump and the socially/religious conservative-right have been attacking women's rights and minorities and every social program - including education - for years. Sometimes with rhetoric, sometimes with action - NC has seen this up close (HB2 anyone?). If the voices and votes from the millions that came out today slow down or stop attacks - pick your cause: equal pay for equal work, universal healthcare, the environment, abortion, racism/minorities, education, social services (which 99% of us will need in some form someday), that's a victory.

And why do the social conservatives feel it is their God-given duty to impose their beliefs on everyone else? I'm pro-choice. That means I'm ok with anyone that decides pro-life is the right thing for THEMSELVES.  I'm not ok w/ pro-lifers that feel their view must be enforced on everyone.
Ditto for religion. I'm for freedom of religion (or no religion). When one's view infringes on the views (RIGHTS) of another, that's wrong. That's the underlying spirit of the march.
When did separation of church and state stop being a thing?

Which gets me to the fanatical Trump supporters, aka Obama-haters. I get some people love the "Make America Great Again" slogan. What american doesn't want the USA to be great?
But why hate Obama? I didn't hate Carter, Reagan, Bush 1, Clinton or Bush 2 (I hated a lot of GW's short-sighted, ill-informed decisions, but he'd be a blast at a Super Bowl Party, just don't give him a pretzel).
What has Obama done that has made life worse for the Obama-haters? I've yet to hear an articulate response (please comment; seriously, enlighten me).
Unemployment is down, the stock market is up, Bin-Laden is gone, no new wars, no sharia laws, and everyone on the terrorist watch list still has their AK-47 assault rifle.

I wish more was accomplished during BO's reign, but Congress wouldn't have it. They are insulated with state of the art gerrymandering, Citizens United, and unlimited term limits. Congress can ride out whatever chaos they create (gov't shutdown, debt ceilings, 8 butts on the SCOTUS bench). Trump or no Trump, this problem is undermining our democracy and it's getting worse with no end in sight.

Don't give me bullshit about Obamacare. US healthcare costs were escalating well before we ever heard the name Barack Obama. The US spends far more and gets less per-capita than other developed nation.  I don't hear anybody in DC talking about that. Unless you're in the 1%, you are one pink slip and a bad diagnosis away from financial ruin and/or early death without Obamacare. Fix the cost issues, insurance becomes affordable again. Every other country figured it out, if the USA is so great, why can't we? In the meantime, if you want to drive a car you need car insurance, you want to live in the US you need healthcare insurance. If I have to pay more in taxes or premiums so a child in town can get her cancer meds or a diabetic on the opposite coast can get his insulin, then that's a small sacrifice.

I hope Trump can bring back jobs, but I guarantee the factory owners won't fire the robots. Educating and re-training the workforce for the jobs of today and tomorrow is essential. I don't think Trump's tragically comical nomination for secretary of education will do a damn thing to solve that. And consumers will need to spend more on Made in the USA goods than the China imports on sale at Walmart (I'm not betting on that).

I hope Trump can get over the size of his hands, size of his ratings, size of his election results, size of his inauguration crowd - so he can begin to work on making America greater. He has been given the biggest responsibility and biggest opportunity in the country. Focus on the size of that Donald.

We the people need to keep an eye on what's really happening, not the divisive distracting tweets. Watch the Trump administration's actions more so than words.

Eight years ago Obama rode in on a wave of positive hope and change.
I'm still holding on to hope - hope Trump won't send us back 50 years.
A lot of people are fired up and ready to go!



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