|Women's March 21 January 2017|
But my dear husband had moved from San Francisco in 1992 and missed it terribly, so we decided we would move to the west coast when I retired. He was already retired, taking early Social Security as soon as he was able. We took a month-long long road trip in 2005 to discover the places along the coast that we might be interested in, and able to afford, to move to. San Francisco was out of the question because of our limited retirement income.
We discovered Bellingham just by chance. I was on the internet looking at the Chamber of Commerce websites of possible places to visit, moving up the coast from San Francisco to northern California to Oregon, and finally Washington. Bellingham's beautiful bay caught my attention, and its proximity to both the coast and the mountains reminded me of places in California I loved. When we visited in August 2005, we stayed for a week in a motel and I walked to the YMCA and took an aerobics class. It is the same one, with the same instructor, that I still take three times a week.
When we moved here, we thought if we didn't like it, the town is strategically placed so that we could move elsewhere without too much difficulty. But we love it, this town is just right for both of us. I have a community of friends, many of them started from that same class at the Y, and other exercise activities I enjoy. It's been a place that feels like home.
On November 9 last fall, I was really dismayed to learn that Donald Trump would be our next president, as I had hoped to travel to Washington, D.C. to see the first woman president be sworn in. I wasn't all that political, really, until Trump began to disparage people I care about, such as disabled persons, and when that awful tape was released about him groping women and then those who came forward saying he had been doing it for decades. His embrace of Vladimir Putin seemed really dangerous, too. That's when I began to despair, but it seemed obvious to me that he would not be elected. And then he was.
Well, as Obama said, it's not the end of the world, for heaven's sake. Just honor the traditions of our great nation and work for change. But I hadn't held any political conversations with my friends and didn't know for sure whether the vast majority of them felt as I did. As we all know, the world has become so polarized that one can listen to and watch the news and never hear anything contrary to one's current worldview. I felt sad and hopeless, and my sister in Florida, living in Trumpland, was devastated and withdrew from watching anything other than sitcoms and reading her books.
It was a month or so ago that I heard about the protest march in Washington, D.C., that was being organized, to be held the day after Trump's inauguration, as a way to bring us together. The movement states on its website that the election "proved a catalyst for a grassroots movement of women to assert the positive values that the politics of fear denies." Organizers called for people to join them "as part of an international day of action in solidarity" on President Trump's first full day in the Oval Office.
When I learned about the Women's March in Bellingham, I wasn't surprised to learn that many local women were trying to find a way to express our distress about the platform of the new administration, which plans to take away health care from the least able of us, denies that climate change is real, and will close down Planned Parenthood, for one, that supplies health care to low-income women. So I decided that I would march yesterday, in solidarity with other women I know who felt it important to gather in solidarity. I was disgusted to learn about the violent protests in Washington surrounding the inauguration, and I truly hoped nothing awful would happen in my little town of Bellingham.
I was simply overwhelmed at what happened yesterday. As I joined my group of ladies for our Saturday walk, it turned out that almost every one of them would be marching, too, so we planned to walk the few blocks to City Hall, where it would start. Never in the world did I expect so many supportive people to show up. We were probably close to 10,000 strong, in a little town of 85,000 people. I was surrounded by pink pussy hats, signs of all kinds, everywhere, and a feeling of celebration and joy in our numbers. We saw a drone overhead, and the owner has made a short video to show the numbers. Here it is.
In any event, today I am beginning a new chapter in my own life. I've decided to let despair be replaced by action. I'm surrounded by myriad ways to work in my beloved community in the little town of Bellingham and just have to decide which ones to pursue. Today I'll see the movie "Hidden Figures," which is about three African American women (a true story) who made a difference.
And with that, I'm already late in finishing up this post and heading off to the coffee shop to join my dear friends John and Gene. My partner is still asleep next to me, tea gone, and I'm beginning to feel the desire to get up and start my day driving my fingers to find a quick exit. I do hope you have a wonderful week, and until we meet again next Sunday, be well and don't forget to give thanks today for your own wonderful life.