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I didn't march

I was really happy to see wonderful turnout for the women's marches yesterday, but I was not part of that turnout. I went to Toastmasters meetings in the morning, a seminar in the afternoon, a birthday gathering in the evening. I stayed normal and kept my head down because that is what I feel like doing. I have a "what's it all for" voice in my head this year, hardcore. I've done the activism thing before. It helped. I made some friends. I met some people I would not have met... social workers, political science professors, non-profit managers, lawyers, therapists. I would explain to them how I spend my weeks building airplanes as an electrical engineer, they'd glaze over and laugh and say "I'm glad we have airplanes but that is so not my thing, no part of my brain can be asked to focus on those ideas for more than ten minutes." Oddly enough, that's how I'm starting to feel about activism. I'm all about influencing within my sphere, but the complicated sausage-making aspects of politics are so frustrating. I want to leave it to the experts. Throw my hands up, go back to work, send them a check when I can.

I was eating lunch this week overhearing a conversation between some men at another table. They were saying that if we truly embraced the second amendment and everyone was armed and saw it as their civic duty to own & have an in-depth knowledge about their piles of guns, we wouldn't have to fight all these wars to keep terrorists governments out of power. We wouldn't need diplomacy. Terrorists just wouldn't screw with us. They'd be afraid, of all of us and our individual shotguns. We could keep to ourselves, they could self-destruct over in the desert, great plan.

I sometimes think I could write a whole blog about things I overhear just living in the middle of a very red state.

Anyway in case you don't know me, I am the kind of person who sees a lot of logical flaws in the "let's arm ourselves to the teeth then terrorists can't get us" argument, first there's the cost-benefit analysis of guns doing more harm to us than good, then there's the arms race bit to bring up about how terrorists could just get weapons that are tougher to defend ourselves from... but their conversation, none of my business, I just ate my chicken fried steak and wrote this LJ entry in my head.

Yeah, I know, the evils of sticking to our own bubble echo chamber... well I'm not the one to break that whole wall down. I'm tired, and I'm going to stick to what I do best, which is not politics. I'm not sure who does do it best. Not my whole side, apparently.

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Comments

( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
devbisme
Jan. 22nd, 2017 04:13 pm (UTC)
tired and done with it.
I lived with a woman who was descending into madness. She would always say "I would never hurt a human being." Then one day she looked at me and said "You're not even human." That's when I got out.

Politics is like that now. Both sides. Best to get out.
lepid0ptera
Jan. 22nd, 2017 04:17 pm (UTC)
With these sorts of things, I think to myself: with the hours I spending doing it, would it be more efficient for me to work and then donate the amount of money I made working for the same amount of time?

And, would I prefer to work than doing this thing?

The answer a lot of time is yes. For instance, my kid has a bake sale at school. It takes me like £4 in materials, I don't actually like baking very much, it's an hour's work, and then they sell everything for 25p or 50p. It's an enormous waste of my time. I did it exactly once and my cupcake holder got lost or taken too. So net loss for me. I'd much rather donate the profits they'd get from my cupcakes than perform this exercise in futility.

Anyway, there were plenty of people at the protests. Something I definitely didn't need to do. If there are any benefits, it's social; i.e. making friends and performing self-sacrifice in front of others (same for the bake sale, in fact.) Any tangible benefits of one extra warm body is very limited.
luzclarita
Jan. 22nd, 2017 05:12 pm (UTC)

I went. Not everyone had to go, but it was shocking how many of us did. For me, it helped me feel less alone and less afraid.

excentric397
Jan. 22nd, 2017 05:22 pm (UTC)
I sign petitions. I am not physically able to march or carry signs or whatever, so I sign petitions. Every time, I wonder what is the point. It makes me feel like I am at least trying to help, but it all seems so hopeless now. Illegal things are happening and no one is doing anything about it, just standing by and letting it go on. Standing by and letting the fascists take over. I am very dissolusioned with all the politicians, not just those who are on the 'other side'. Who in the government is on 'our' side, the regular citizens who are just trying to get by the best they can. Just trying to avoid it all right now.
siglinde99
Jan. 22nd, 2017 06:03 pm (UTC)
I didn't go either, for several reasons. First, I live in another country and I work for our public service (the foreign affairs ministry, as it happens) so I am uncomfortable with anything blatantly political in my private life. Second, I wasn't connected to anyone who was attending, so I didn't even know when and where to meet up (or so I thought, until I saw all the pictures posted by friends who did go).

You are not done with activism, though you may not realize it. I don't often comment on your posts but I follow them closely. You are doing things I didn't even know were options for women when I was a girl. I once had a guidance counsellor suggest I go into engineering but couldn't explain what engineers do. I had a similar response from a math teacher who knew vaguely that calculus was needed for electronics, but could not explain why or how. Needless to say, I studied something else. The year I graduated from high school was the year that Canada's military college opened to women (a classmate was among the first six women there and she said it was horrible because of all the rules put in place because girls could not be trusted to have male friends). I never met a female engineer until I was in my late 30s or early 40s.

The fact that you build airplanes and are a manager and a mom and a library activist makes you about the most inspirational role model I know. I think a lot about what you do, and I try hard to reflect the feminist values you embody through my own actions, especially with my kids. Sometimes, I even share parts of your stories with friends.

What you do matters, whether you march or not. You may see your world as a bubble chamber, but sharing your experiences in a red state helps me get out of my bubble and gives me strength to work at breaking down walls (at least sometimes - wall breaking is very tiring business!).
spacefem
Jan. 22nd, 2017 09:15 pm (UTC)
I do not know what to say except THANK YOU for such a supportive comment, this means so much! friends like you are why I am never leaving lj!
tweekers
Jan. 22nd, 2017 06:26 pm (UTC)
I had to chuckle at the gun fans' conversation... given the number of Americans killed by firearms is significantly greater than that caused by terrorists one would think the terrorists would support such an idea too!
spacefem
Jan. 22nd, 2017 09:14 pm (UTC)
SERIOUSLY!
davesmusictank
Jan. 22nd, 2017 07:42 pm (UTC)
Ar least there are those still active enough to do so , and i also did not march here in the Uk but it was great to know how much people feel about the issue.Just hope its all for nought.
lantairvlea
Jan. 23rd, 2017 12:38 am (UTC)
My husband likes to play a bit if devil's advocate with the gun idea (we have guns, tend to vote Republican). The terrorists aren't going to be afraid of regular Joes with guns. Everyone his own captain, you have no network, no warning system. Technically the terrorists could go from house to house, arming themselves more and more along the way and with as little as people tend to communicate with their neighbors (would you be able to call the family nextdoor for back-up?) raising the alarm before it is too late is slim. Not that it is a likely scenario, but it is at least as likely as the terrorists being "scared off" by armed citizens. They are willing to blown themselves up. They're not afraid of being shot so long as they take you with them.
easter
Jan. 23rd, 2017 01:54 am (UTC)
You choose to engage in activism in other ways. Just being a woman in your field is, in its own way, activism. You found your strength, and you went with it.
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )

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