Saturday millions of women all over the world took to the streets in protest. Friday, a great (tremendous, terrific) defiler of women was sworn in as the president of my country.
I sat in the school office Friday, and watched the speech that he gave. And I cried. I cried as he spoke about being a president for the people. The secretary next to me turned around in surprise at my tearful expletive, “Are you crying, Jania!?” I explained, yes… I am crying. I am crying for my country. For my family. For my daughters.
See, Mexicans don’t understand how Americans are JUST feeling this way. Politicians have been less-than-wonderful and undeserving of respect for years here in Mexico. They have risen to power because of the money in their pockets, and the exchange of that money from hand to hand. Politicians have rallied in poor communities, bribing the people with promises of good roads and clean water, while literally PAYING for their votes. Mexicans have snickered at the poor english spoken by their leader, and joked about the connections that he has to the cartel.
My Mexican colleagues don’t understand that I have never felt like this. But at the same time, they understand how dangerous the world just became. They understand what people all over the world can see: America just crept into the rat’s trap. They understand what the rat doesn’t: that no matter how tasty the cheese might be, the chance of never tasting cheese again is just as sure.
Has America been embarrassed by our leaders before? Sure. Have they ever been this fearful? This disgusted? This disillusioned? Not in my lifetime.
(No doubt some readers of this very blog post are disagreeing with me right now–and no doubt those readers are white middle-class citizens who have probably had access to fair pay and healthcare most of their lives.)
I didn’t vote for the former (and far superior) president in his first campaign. But I attended his inauguration with thousands of others. The air was electric with promise of change. The metro was so full of people, that moving was like something from a cartoon. Everyone was pressed together as one unit, shuffling their feet, and moving as possible onto the train and through the platforms. Every inch of the lawns were full of people, and not just white people.
Say what you want about Obama, but he was the people’s president. He made hard decisions that were made for the good of MANY, not just a few. And that was evident that day eight years ago.
Which brings us to the protest of women all over the world: Has there ever been such a huge protest in reaction to a president taking office? Has there? Not in our country.
I wrote a post the day after the election in November, and since then I have seen many posts pleading to give Trump a chance. But he hasn’t earned a chance yet. And if anything, he has time after time shown how unworthy he is to be our commander-in-chief. Unable to take responsibility, full of accusations and immature finger-pointing. Even after his speech on Friday he shook hands with many standing behind him, but skirted around the one who secured more votes from the people and her husband.
I watched with pride as a far more worthy politician held her head high, pasted on a smile, and continued to stand with pride. Isn’t that what women have done for years? She didn’t need to speak out in the protests, because the voices of many others rang out for her.
And so here I am: a mother of two little girls, a sister of three strong women, a daughter of two respecters of human kind, and a teacher of the future. I may not have marched in protest, but I am ready to defend our future.