A tale of many cities

statueoflibery

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way.”                               Charles Dickens: A Tale of Two Cities (1859)

It’s been a long time since AGMA’s read the CliffsNotes on this great book. I’m pretty sure that I never actually read it from cover to cover.

I saw the movie though…

But holy crap on a cracker, this quote totally describes so many people I know in the USA.

Including AGMA.

On one hand, life is very good. It took 60+ years, but I’m finally comfortable in my own skin. I’ve dispelled (for the most part) the shadows of the past that held me hostage for so many years. It’s really wonderfully liberating.

AGMA’s become a Ms. Sassy Pants.

I’ve taken up marathon running. I’ve discovered a passion for men’s elite cycling (young men in spandex!). I have a blog I adore writing and a family in my WordPress friends. And I got a tattoo this year. That I still LOVE by the way.

My relationship with my older son and DIL has completely transformed into something I only dreamed of a few years ago. I’m welcomed into their home with open arms and lots of love. They have given me two adorable grandchildren to spoil.

And spoil them AGMA does indeed!  Which is what I was doing last week when I should have been posting to AGMA.  Oops…

Hubs is retired. We have a comfortable income from his pension and my part-time massage therapy work. And some modest savings.  So I can travel. Something AGMA has been wanting to do since her early 20’s.  Egypt, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and all over Europe multiple times. For me it’s been a dream come true.

However, I just found out that we are actually at the poverty level based on the GOP’s definition of the middle class in the new tax bill. Evidently to be middle class, you need to earn $450,000 per year.

Who knew?

#MAGA

Great segue to the worst of times…

Our traitorous illegitimate president. His pack of corrupt henchmen and Stepford women. The spineless, heartless, bottom dwellers of the GOP. The morons in charge of education, our natural resources, consumer protection, financial regulation, commerce, housing, veterans affairs, public health, social programs, immigration.

Lobbyists basically in charge of public policy.

A nuclear game of cat and mouse between narcissistic megalomaniacs.

The repeated assaults on and the attempted destruction of the tenants of our Constitution. The attacks on the judiciary. The demonization on the free press. The egregious, illegal exploitation of public office for personal gain.

The fear and hate mongering. Condoned attacks on women, minorities, non-Christians, LGBTQ’s, the disabled.

The extreme profanity of the “Christian” alt-right.

Treason and rigged elections. Gerrymandering. Voter suppression. Poll taxes.

Our precious children at Sandy Hook and Columbine. Virginia Tech. Charleston. San Bernardino. Orlando. Charlottesville. Las Vegas, New York City. Denver. Sutherland Springs.

Our precious children…

Chuck was right; it is the best of times and the worst of times.

AGMA’s challenge, as I think is every other person who loves what American used to stand for, is to not retreat into my personal best of times out of fatigue or sense of helplessness or a desire to block it it all out. Although I know plenty of people who have done just that. They have just tuned out what’s happening to the US because it’s not all unicorns and rainbows. Or it makes them feel bad or sad or ruins their feng shui.

Ah…I think that’s what happened in Germany in the 1930‘s.

Just sayin’…

As AGMA loves to tell via social media our Trump-arse-kissing, spineless, gutless, in-the-pocket-of-the-lobbyists, dishonorable Georgia senator David Perdue, “History has its eye on you and will judge you accordingly.”

Truthfully, history has its eyes on all of us. And will judge us on how we used our best of times to heal our worst of times.

AGMA knows this seems overwhelmingly daunting. But I also know that the actions of one person can make a difference.

We all can’t be a Mother Theresa (especially AGMA!), but we can pick up the phone and call our legislators. On the federal, state and local level. Often. And let them know what we think about the worst of times and how we want them to make it better.

And we can support, either financially and/or with our time, local political candidates who would unite and heal rather than divide and wound.

The same thing with organizations that support civil rights, voting rights, LGBT rights, a clean environment, sensible gun laws, our Constitution, immigrant rights, our veterans, etc…

You get the idea.

Honestly, AGMA would really like to cocoon and withdraw from all of this worst of times stuff. I mean, my life is going great. I’m living large. Finally. Why should I worry about all that other “unpleasantness”?

Two reasons…

An almost 3 year old boy who loves trucks of every kind, wants to be a “worker guy” when he grows up, and loves inventing make-believe stories he can act out with his Nan when she visits.

And a just turned 1 year old young lady who loves to climb on things she’s not supposed to (that’a girl!), babbles incessantly and gives her Nan the best heart melting snuggles that Nan ever had.

They and millions of other precious children of all colors and religious backgrounds and cultures deserve a better future.

History does indeed have its eyes on us.

I wonder how we’ll do?

Pink pussies everywhere

womensmarch

Picture courtesy of AGMA’s crappy phone camera

Hats I mean…  Pink pussy hats.  Everywhere.

The Women’s March on Washington was awesome!

I’m sure you’ve read about it and seen the pictures by now.   You’ve heard about Ashely Judd’s reading of that incredibly powerful poem written by a young Tennessee  woman.  And Michael Moore’s five step resistance plan.  And feminist icon Gloria Steinem’s speech.

And Madonna.  She was…Madonna.  ‘Nuff said.

But as always, there is an AGMA version.  Of course.

I got to DC on Friday, 1/20.  Inauguration Day.  Tragically, another day in American history that will live in infamy.

The Dulles gift shops were stocked full of DT t-shirts and memorabilia and made in China “Make America Great Again” red hats.  Considering how sparsely attended the inauguration was, they would have been financially more astute to have stocked Women’s March stuff since there were sooooo many more people at the March.

Hindsight…

I stayed with my niece and her family in Virginia.  Before I left home, I got a text from my neice asking if I had my flu shot.  Ah oh…   Turns out her middle son had the flu, but before the end of the weekend, my niece also came down with it.  And her husband and oldest son got a severe, extra nasty colds.  It was the house of contagion.

Charming.

Friday was spent getting ready for the March the next morning.  I finished my poster which was truly a thing of beauty.   Front…

20170120_175841

And back…

20170120_175919

I loaded up my burner phone (OMG – yes I did…) with the ACLU DC Justice app.  And encrypted everything on my phone just in case it was confiscated.  AGMA created a new FB account thinking I would do FB live if things got “rough”.   I brought $100 with me and my medications in their original bottles in case I got tossed in the hoosegow.  I wrote emergency contact numbers on my arm with a sharpie.

Seriously.

You can imagine my surprise when I saw a grand total of two police officers the entire day until the March got to the park in front of the White House.

Not that I’m sad it was peaceful and I didn’t need to do all that stuff.  AGMA just felt a bit…over prepared.  Understatement.

But it’s better to prepare for the worst and get the best, which is what happened!

There were 9 of us who went down to the March.  We got there around 9:50 AM. We couldn’t see the stage, but had a jumbotron in front of us so could hear and see the rally.  I didn’t realize that there were soooo many people there that 70% of them couldn’t see or hear anything.

My first inkling at the size of the crowd was when a friend who came up from Atlanta called me.  She said that they were in front of the National Archives and couldn’t get any closer.  That was a loooong way away.

The rally was great, but long.  Too long.  The organizers, in wanting to be inclusive of all groups, let too many of the many speakers go on a bit too long.  So instead of being the 3 hours and 15 minutes it was supposed to be, it went over 4.5 hours.

It was chilly and crowded and was nearly impossible to get to a port-o-let.  I didn’t try.  Thankfully, AGMA is good at managing stuff like that.  TMI right?

By the time the March started, AGMA was by herself.  My niece and the other 7 ladies bailed at 3.5 hours.  They were cold, hungry, had to pee and tired.  And my niece looked awful.  Remember, she was coming down with the flu.

But AGMA had no intention of leaving.  I was there to march and, by God, I was going to march.

And I did.  And it was a glorious thing.

Despite the long rally and tired feet and hungry bellies and full bladders, when the march finally started, the marchers were polite and peaceful and considerate of each other.  The energy was amazing.

I’ve never been in a crowd of nearly a million people.  It was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced.  Words fail AGMA if you can believe that…

Once we got to the Elliptical in front of the White House, I found a bench to stand on and watched for nearly an hour as people poured it the park.  Again, it was a sight I really can’t describe.

At 5:15 PM, it seemed like it was time to leave.  It was getting dark, things were winding down and I had to figure out how to get back to my nieces house.

But AGMA had two urgent needs.  I needed a toilet and some food.   I brought one banana to the rally.  Not good planning.  I was starving.

Thankfully there were port-o-lets close by and no lines.

But the lines at the food trucks were crazy long.  AGMA opted to head to the Metro to get somewhat close to my niece’s house.

It took my niece about 20 minutes to drive to the Metro stop to pick me up.  There was a Subway, a Chinese food place and a BBQ place across the street.  That was cruel.  The smell was intoxicating.

Bless my niece’s husband for having dinner ready when I got back.  They all kind of stared at me in disbelief as I inhaled the food.  Then had a second helping.  Protesting and marching evidently requires a lot of fuel.

Oh, and my burner phone could barely take pictures let alone do Facebook live.  I guess you can’t expect a lot for $29.99 from Walmart.  And I came back with my $100 and all of my meds.  And I had sharpie on my arm for a few days afterwards.  A reminder of what didn’t happen.

This time.

But in the 10 days since the inauguration, it’s far worse that I imagined.  Probably far worse than anybody imagined.  Our free speech, our free press, the rule of law, our Constitution are all under serious attack.

I keep thinking of Theoden’s line from The Two Towers from the Lord of the Rings series by JRR Tolkien, “What can men do against such reckless hate?”

What indeed…

Every American has to answer that question for themselves.  My prayer is that each one of us will be brave.  And not be silent.

Ever…

P.S.  On a lighter note – OMG, OMG, OMG…I got inked yesterday.  It’s glorious!  Stay tuned for a picture once it quits looking red and nasty.