Pearls & Vodka

Equality for ALL

The African American, Feminist poet, Audre Lorde once said, “It is not our differences that divide us.  It is our inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences.”  I’m not sure that many of my political beliefs would align with Ms. Lorde’s words, if she were alive today, but this is one theory she left behind that I can agree with.

Several people have messaged me since Friday asking why I’ve not posted much in regards to the Inauguration, post Inaugural events and the Women’s March on Saturday.

Honestly, I’ve just been busy being a working wife and mother.  But I have been processing a lot and reading a lot as time has allowed.  And I decided to take the time to sit down and blog a little this afternoon about some of my thoughts and feelings.  And I thankfully have a supportive husband who encourages me to follow my passions of writing and learning.
As always, my prayer is that my words will be respectful and that my tone will be one of acceptance and a desire to learn and grow.

So here goes…

I enjoyed watching the Inauguration, and no, not because the man I voted for was being sworn in.  I love America, down to my core, and in that, the peaceful transfer of power is a pillar of our democracy and I always enjoy the pomp and circumstance.  I enjoyed Friday’s ceremonies just as I have on two occasions during the past eight years.  As for the speech, I thought it was very reminiscent of Mr. Trump’s campaign speeches so the consistency was definitely there.

As for the post Inaugural events, just on a superficial note, Ivanka Trump’s ball gown was absolutely stunning.  I definitely have a friend crush on her!

But alas, I really was disappointed in a lot of what I saw from my country.

I saw a meme on Facebook that I thought said it well, “Rosa Parks took a seat on a bus, she didn’t destroy the bus.”  Protesting is one thing, looting and violence is wrong on so many levels and I detest those acts.  I will never understand.  I didn’t understand in Ferguson, Missouri, when I watched a young man being interviewed after he burned down a store.  The reporter asked why and he said “we are just burning everything down in our way.”  It turned out the store belonged to his grandparents and being so caught up in the moment he couldn’t careless the harm and pain he was causing his own family, not even the people he opposed.  Friday afternoon, I watched video of park benches being burned in the town I used to call home, our nation’s capital, bricks being hurled at police officers, one man being sucker punched while giving an interview, and windows being broken out of businesses in the area.  That behavior is just disgusting to me and quite honestly, just completely ignorant.

If you have to cover your face, as to not be recognized while carrying out an act, you are most likely in the wrong.

On Inauguration night, I was also disgusted to read about Katie Rich’s tweet.  Ms. Rich is/was a writer on Saturday Night Live.  I’m not sure of her status today, as her name was removed from their writers credits on last night’s episode.  Ms. Rich felt the need to post the picture of 10 year old Barron Trump and insinuate that he would become “the country’s first home school shooter.”

While her comment itself was deplorable, and ignorant as he is not home schooled, I just had to know more about this woman who felt the need to attack a young, innocent boy.  Politics aside, children are off limits.  I was disgusted with how people mocked Chelsea Clinton during her White House days, I was appalled that people attacked the Bush twins for acting like a large majority of other kids their age, and I was proud to see our nation back off the Obama girls and impressed with how well their parents were able to protect them.

But what I found when I looked into who Ms. Rich really is amazed me even more.

In 2015, Katie Rich married Devlin Murdock who is actually the programs director for a rowing club for breast cancer survivors called, Recovery on Water.  So she is married to man who devotes his professional life to helping others make their lives better, while she is busy publicly insulting a young boy.

And here’s where I was blown away, in a speech at PeaceLove in May 2015, Ms. Rich revealed that she suffers from anxiety and panic disorder.  Really?

I was absolutely floored to learn that someone who suffers from anxiety and panic disorder would have the audacity to call someone out for acting a little different in an enormously public setting.  Let alone that he is a CHILD.

I too suffer from generalized anxiety and panic disorder.  It sucks.  It is a very hard battle to fight.  It is exhausting, draining and incredibly hard to deal with most of the time.  But as someone who is in the throes of that battle, I cannot even fathom mocking someone who shows nervousness in crowds of hundreds and thousands of people.  Are you kidding me?  I move more than a drunk walrus just sitting in meetings with 10 people.  How dare she attack someone who is fidgety!

And just for the sake of saying it, how dare ANY adult attack ANY child! It’s disgusting.  I feel the need to interject here I’m sure some of you will comment on Mr. Trump’s previous inappropriate statements.  There’s a huge difference here and I won’t waste my energy helping you see that. And no, that doesn’t take away from the fact that he was vulgar and wrong for what he has said.

Finally, several folks have asked me my thoughts on the March yesterday.

I stand with what President Trump said when he was asked the same question, “Peaceful protests are a hallmark of our democracy.  Even if I don’t always agree, I recognize the rights of people to express their views.”

So what else do I think about the March yesterday?

First,  for the most part I was very proud of my friends who marched all over the world yesterday from New York, to D.C., to Little Rock and LA.

Sure there were some folks I’d consider to be “wackadoodles” but in every crowd that size, you are bound to have a few. The folks I know personally that marched, for the most part, marched for equality, and women’s rights.

Sure I had the friends who hash-tagged their way through the day talking about their stance against President Trump, and you know, that’s fine too.

I loved seeing some friends in Arkansas who took their young daughter to walk in Little Rock.  She believes that love trumps hate and she wanted to walk for that.  That’s good parenting to me.  Teach a child to develop their own belief system and to defend it.  That’s how we will change history.

I can’t really get behind the vagina hats that were worn, just seems distasteful to me.  And I can’t get behind any speeches that were filled with hate, or terroristic threatening.  Madonna spoke about her thoughts on doing harm to the White House.  I will not ever condone such rhetoric and believe she should be treated as we treat others who display terroristic threats.  Free speech is one thing, but threatening lives is another.  The White House is a building that houses not only a family but staffers.  Those staffers are innocent people doing their jobs to make ends meet and they are also there to stand for what they believe.  How hypocritical to wish harm on them because you disagree?

On the Women’s March website their mission and vision is said to be, “We stand together in solidarity with our partners and children for their protection of our rights, our safety, our health and our families-recognizing that our vibrant and diverse communities are the strength of our country.”  The mission goes on to say the organization felt the rhetoric of the past election cycle had “insulted, demonized and threatened many.”  They also published five guiding principles:  nonviolence is a way of life for courageous people (Madonna missed that one I guess), the beloved community is the framework of the future, attack forces of evil, not persons doing evil (guess Madonna missed that one too), accept suffering without retaliation for the sake of the cause to achieve the goal (maybe she didn’t read any of what the March was even about) and finally avoid internal violence of the spirit as well as external physical violence (nope, she didn’t read a thing).

The slogan behind the March was, “Women’s Rights are Human Rights and Human Rights are Women’s Rights.”  They were said to be marching yesterday in the name of ending violence (minus Madonna), reproductive rights, LGBTQIA rights, worker’s rights, civil rights, disability rights, immigrant rights, and environmental justice.

I think our nation is struggling today, maybe more so than ever, with believing we should have diversity, but drawing the line at diversity of thoughts, or beliefs.

I too believe in Human Rights, all humans.  Woman, man, gay, straight, black, yellow, white, wheelchair bound or marathon runner, born in smalltown USA or born in a third world country.  All humans have rights.

I get that our determining factor on when life begins is where we differ, for me it is at conception.  For others it’s when they enter the world.  And because of that difference, I was not a part of the March yesterday.

I have a hard time wrapping my head around being an advocate of human rights, but then on the flip side feeling that you can deny humanity to the unborn.  More and more babies are surviving today who are born as young as 22 weeks.  I just cannot resolve in my head that they don’t deserve the same rights as my now 13 month old does.  There have been more than 54 million babies aborted since the Roe vs. Wade decision in 1973.  That’s a lot of denied human rights in my opinion.

And I get it.  “It’s not about abortion,” “it’s about having the right to choose,” “it’s about not being told what you can and cannot do with your own body.”  I’ve heard it all, had the debates, and bought the t-shirt.  I’m not here today in my digital presence to try and convince someone otherwise, I am simply letting my voice be heard too, if you have the right to march, I have the right to blog. We are all for equality right?

I saw quite a few signs in the pictures from the March yesterday that had the same verbiage I’ve seen on some Facebook posts this week, “NOT MY PRESIDENT.”  I mean I will skip over the factual ignorance of that as President Trump is actually the President of the United States, whether you voted for him or not.  But I guess I have a hard time reconciling the Christians I see posting that.  Romans 13:1-2 is pretty clear, “Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established.  The authorities that exist have been established by God.  Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgement on themselves.”

I don’t bring this up to say that Donald Trump is a good replica of high Christian character.  I too detest the vulgar comments he has made.  Just like I detested the immoral sexual acts that President Bill Clinton committed outside the vows of his marriage.  And honestly, just like I detest my own sin.  I bring this up to say, God is God, He is still on His throne today just as he was before noon on Friday.  He is not shaken by our election results, He is not confused, He is not disheartened because He knows the end of the story.  He knows who wins.

And yes, actually I would have still been writing this if Secretary Clinton had won.  She too has some baggage, just like you and just like me.  That’s the point.  No one is perfect.  But we can rest in the knowledge that God is in control.

My name is Amanda, the name Amanda means “lovable and capable.”  Some of you find the first part to be hard to believe, but there are some who love me.  If you know me at all, you know the second part is true.  I am capable of doing a lot of things, even if it is just making you mad with my blog.   I work very hard to make sure I am capable of doing more than the day before.  My parents saw fit to name me Amanda because they knew I would be capable of doing something great with my life and that’s exactly what I work every day to do.

I did not march yesterday because my belief system did not align with the entirety of the mission of the organization, and I honestly didn’t march yesterday because I do not feel personally attacked.  My story is not everyone’s story.  I have lived a very fortunate life so far.  I’ve been raised by a woman who has worked her butt off since she was born to be more and do more and today as a CEO she has shattered the so-called “glass ceiling” of her industry.  I was raised by a man who taught me to respect and serve others with all that I have and doing something different than that was simply unacceptable.  My closest friends today, my tribe as I call them, we treat others with respect no matter their color, their faith, their sexual orientation or their socio-economic bracket.  I have chosen to surround myself with people who walk the talk.  I know my life is not the story of everyone’s life.  As a mother, I work every day to teach my son to live like Jesus lived so that other folks can have a better life as well.

In response to why she didn’t march, one of my best friends said today, “I don’t believe hearts and minds are changed by marches of large crowds, but by individual relationships and conversations.”  She went on to say, “I don’t want anyone to change because they’re giving in to pressure from a frustrated group, no matter how large.  That kind of change is rarely sincere.  I want them to change because they see the truth and want to change.”

I respect your right to march, I thank you for standing for what you believe in and I implore you to stay involved, stay plugged in, get active in your communities and STAY active, work in the midterm elections, help educate voters, continue to study, and learn, be open-minded, be compassionate even towards those who believe differently than you.

Equality for ALL.

  1. Benita Burton

    January 22, 2017 at 8:35 pm

    Very well said Mandy! Continue to walk the talk and God bless you and your family. Love you!

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