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!

Like what I have to say? Share it.
Don't? Tell me why.


Grant said...

I think the "hate Obama" comment is just an extension of a progressive belief that the opposition was based on some mindless fever or racial animus. I liked Obama - he brought honor to the office, led a good family life, seemed to raise his kids well. But I didn't like his policies, so I was very content to see Congress say no to most of them. I believe in pulling natural gas out of the ground instead of coal, I believe that the bailout of GM was a gift to the UAW, and that if liberals won't even let us build a perfectly good wind farm that interferes with the view from Ted Kennedy's compound, then we have a long way to go on renewables..

You say Congress wouldn't have any of it, but really, the people wouldn't.. they turned out the Democrats en masse in 2010, even before the statehouse changes allowed them to lock in many districts (and before it becomes just a Republican thing, ask Mr. Parmer to show you Maryland 3). They repeated that verdict in 2012, 2014, and this year 2016.

Some likely intensely disliked Obama...but not most. Undoubtedly we have a few racists in the US.. we are a diverse nation.. but we also elected him twice, and I don't believe the KKK or the Aryan Brotherhood are any more potent organizations than they were 8 years ago. He had his prick moments - he didn't hesitate to belittle opposing ideas in many cases (including the SCOTUS justices to their faces in the SOTU), and his speeches seemed to have too many "I"'s in them, but most just were happy we had divided government and were happy to see him serve out his term and move on.. hope he enjoys some time on the golf course..

So no, we didn't hate Obama.. and we don't fawn over Trump. Both were/are serving as President of our Republic, and best of fortune to them. Being the captain of the ship is a lonely position. I hope the ideas Trump now chooses to champion will represent the best possibilities of our nation.. and if they don't, I'll do what I can to oppose them..

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the pictures and the thoughts. This is an upside down time, no doubt. The comments in your post about why hate Obama (and Hilary) really resonated. I haven't hated a president, have only disagreed. That's what this country is all about!
I had not planned to march. I've been sick. I went to yoga Saturday morning and our practice was dedicated to the marching women. I got up and picked up my mat and said I had to go join them. Another woman in the class joined me and we were off! Best decision! Now I am part of something important and no turning back.
Deb Orton

Jeffrey Price said...

Disclaimer - As I have since every election (except 2004 when they ran a tax cheat) I voted Libertarian because both major parties suck donkey nuts.

I tend to think of myself as fiscally conservative, and socially tollerant. The main problem I have talking politics these days is that one can not criticize one side without someone thinking you are defending the other side. I can think that Democrats are dead wrong on their approach to education and social programs, but that doesn't mean I think the Republicans are right.

For example, I abhor abortion. I believe life begins at conception (or close to it, when the heart beats? when the brain starts firing?). This is something science isn't able to answer, shouldn't we err on the side of not killing? However, my personal view doesn't really matter when it comes to policy. Pandora's box is open and outlawing abortion isn't (or shouldn't be) on the table. Instead, I don't want any public money going to provide abortions. I am hoping that at some point, pro-life individuals realize the best way to reduce abortions is through better opportunities and education for those most likely to seek abortion as an answer. Easier domestic adoptions, sex education, even free birth control are all better answers than focusing on only outlawing abortion.

Similar discussions can be had on welfare, education, and many other social programs. I think Democrats do far too much to make folks dependent on programs instead of helping lift them up. However, just because I think Democrats have ruines our public schools doesn't mean I want creationism taught in high schools. I wouldn't be against spending a week on it as part of a "Global Religion" elective in high shcool as the creation mythology of the major religions is fascinating.

However, first and foremost I'm a fiscal conservative. All that social crap doesn't mean anything if we are too broke to pay for it. What George W Bush and Barrack Obama have done to the future of this country is outrageous. That we in 2016 are running a $1 trillion deficit is stupifying. What is going to happen when the next recession hits? Right now we basically only have enough money to pay for social security, medicare/aid, defense and interest on the debt everything else is borrowed. In four years, even money for defense will be borrowed. The last time we had debt at 100% of GDP, we cut spending by 70% as we wound down from winning a freaking World War! We had the advantage of a huge post-war boom for decades as we were the only first world economy not ravaged by war as we essentially rebuilt the world. There is no such path this time. Our deficits are structural in nature and we can't exactly say "No more SS or Medicare". We have stiff economic competition from first world countries and event stiffer competition from developing nations.

Here is Obama talking about how Bush adding $4 trillion to the debt is unpatriotic (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1kuTG19Cu_Q), well how about the almost $10 trillion Obama just added? Almost as much as all the Presidents that came before. When folks voted for hope and change in 2008, they didn't hoping Obama would double down on the worst of Bush's policies. The Middle East is more of a mess after 8 years of Obama. The EU is breaking at the seems with Brexit and a sovereign debt crisis continuing to loom over the PIIGs. China, well I don't know how the hell China stays afloat. Japan is in it's third lost decade with crushing debt.

I understand that Trump is a borish, mysoginistic oaf, but he's also not the status quo. With Hillary we would have gotten more of the same and I am certain that way will turn this country into Japan and decades of economic stagnation and worsen our class and racial problems. Trump for all his problems is at least going to be "different" and different is something that might work. It might not, but I'm willing to roll the dice and hope for the best.

Sandy Korey, Mark's MOM. said...

Beautifully expressed. I am so proud of you and Tee, all our thinking family members, too. I came in to this life along with a World War (1942) and I see the handwriting on the wall that I will exit under the same. MOM

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