Yesterday was so inspiring. Millions(!) of women and men turned out around the world to stand up and say “hey, we’re still here!”, and that we’re united in the fight for equality and decency for all people. All people. 100,000 Portlanders came out! In the pouring rain, naturally.
This is just what I needed after Friday. Friday was a day of mourning for many reasons. I’ve had trouble putting my thoughts into words and sentences. This is my first blog post of 2017. I started this blog to talk about the positive and what I can do to make things better in my community and on a local level.
The last few weeks had felt disgusting and disheartening on the political front. From Cabinet picks, Affordable Care Act dismantling attempts, to the House setting the stage to mess with public lands, Trevor Noah said it best “almost every single person he’s picked for his cabinet wants to destroy the thing they’ve been put in charge of.”
Yesterday was much needed inspiration. This is what democracy looks like. This is what can happen when millions of people make a statement. This is what the future looks like. Seeing my 3 year old niece with her sign “Make America Kind Again”, which she later decided said “Be Kind, Love a Balloon” instead, gives me hope for the future.
We need love, indeed.
Now What? We must continue taking action. Yes, it’s great and inspiring to see millions of people marching. 100,000 people in Portland. If we 100,000 continue to take action, think of what we can accomplish! There are more kind and forward-thinking people in the US than not. But we have to keep moving and taking action.
What I’m reading this week:
Voting Should Be Mandatory – “Trump triumphed in a low-turnout election.” “In a compulsory election, it does not pay to energize your base to the exclusion of all other voters. Since elections cannot be determined by turnout, they are decided by swing voters and won in the center. Australia has its share of xenophobic politicians, but they tend to dwell in minor parties that do not even pretend they can form a government.” “There is also evidence that compulsory voting lifts civic engagement over all.”
DO: Here’s where Oregon stands on the National Popular Vote bill. It has died in the Oregon senate previously. Contact your local rep. In North/North East Portland, that’s Lew Frederick and ask them to support it.
4 Big Themes for Cities in 2017 – I love City Observatory’s posts on urban living, planning, policy etc. They’ve outlined some things they’ve learned in the last few years. 1. The growing economic importance of city centers. 2. The shortage of cities. 3. The need to rethink transportation policy. 4. The challenge of segregation, integration, and neighborhood change.
DO: Read through at least one of the links they’ve included in this post. I’ve learned a lot by reading their research and writing, some of which challenges my assumptions. We all have a lot to learn and it’s fascinating.
If the Affordable Care Act Dies, Cities Will Feel It – “Every major city stands to see millions of dollars, and life-giving programs, go away. So do small towns and rural places.”
DO: Our Senators in Oregon already have our backs. Since nothing has actually been suggested by Republicans yet, I’m not sure what we can do, other than staying up-to-date on what’s happening and what smart and informed people like Bernie Sanders are recommending.
Portland Police Launch Tear Gas [Pepper Spray] at Anti-Trump Protesters in Pioneer Courthouse Square – Portland police seemed quite proud of themselves for their use of restraint at the Portland Women’s March. The night before they chose not to use as much restraint. I think we need to be really careful in our assumptions of “right” and “wrong” ways to protest and how different groups are treated by the police.
DO: Ask questions of our leaders. Read and watch video of what has happened. I don’t have the answers here, but I do know that this difference in treatment doesn’t feel right. How do we find the balance between right to assemble/expression and protection of public space from a few destructive people who hide in these assemblies (like what happened in downtown in November)?
This Week’s Actions: This week, I attended the Women’s March on Washington in Portland, emailed my local Oregon Senator for North Portland about the National Popular Vote bill, and read and researched upcoming changes and current issues facing me as a Portland-citizen and on a national level.
“You are VALUABLE, POWERFUL, and DESERVING.”