“As citizens in a democracy, we all have equal voice and worth.” ~ Waylon Lewis
I’ve never studied journalism.
I took some creative writing and literature classes in college, but ended up with a degree in health care administration. Maybe that’s why I haven’t felt qualified to write about politics. Perhaps, if I had a political science degree instead, or some real-life experience in the news room, I’d feel more credible, more believable.
I’m a woman. An ooey-gooey, soft, spiritual, sensitive, nurturing woman.
I’m in my element when I’m discussing relationships, the human condition, and how to make homemade granola six ways with the same basic recipe. I like writing about love and heartbreak and parenting, and silly things that make me smile.
Perhaps that is why I’ve stayed away from the topics that feel more masculine and dark. They’re not my style. I wasn’t sure if I had the chops to step into that area, or if I would sound like a scared little girl in her big brother’s room, hiding from the wolf at the door.
I’m a dirt munching, tree-hugging, lover of all creatures.
I’m a yogini, a dancer, a poet.
I drink my green tea and meditate and do my best to love every living creature. I invest a lot of time and energy into creating a peaceful life for myself. Maybe that is why I’ve shied away from the harshness of life and the cruel things on television shows I can’t bring myself to watch.
If I can’t even look at them, how am I ever going to write about them in a way that does them justice?
I didn’t want to do this, America. I didn’t want to abandon my happy place to wallow in the mess you’ve made. I was perfectly content with my lollipops and kittens. But now, you leave me no choice.
Me—the unqualified, grass-roots blogger with the health care education.
Me—the soft, sensitive, tree hugger who can’t bring herself to watch the evening news.
It’s up to me now, and I will not fail you.
Because inadequate as I feel, I have this voice.
I have this passion in my belly that’s forced me to put pen to paper since I was a little girl.
I have this big, sensitive heart that cannot bear the suffering around me.
I have bitter indignation in my bones for the way people are hurting.
As much as I would love to put my head in the sand of some sunny beach somewhere and wish all of this away, I can’t do that. Not anymore. Because America, you need a voice right now. And I may not have the most dazzling resume you’ve ever seen, but I do have a brave, honest voice.
Since you’ve forced me to send my unicorns out to pasture and take a break from practicing my salsa steps, let’s talk. Let’s talk about all the ugly sh*t I didn’t want to talk about.
Misogyny is a topic I’ve tackled before. It’s not my favorite thing to write about, but perhaps it’s been a gentle way to dip my toe into the political pool. How are we supposed to explain to future generations of young ladies that President Trump was famous for “grabbin’ ‘em by the p*ssy”?
How in the world did this man get elected? Talk about being unqualified for the job. Not just unqualified in the sense that he is a reality television personality with no experience whatsoever in the realm of politics or foreign relations. Unqualified because he’s a gross human being. He disrespects and objectifies women—his own daughter included—shamelessly and publicly. Somehow, he convinced women to vote for him. I don’t get it at all. How will he ever represent us fairly?
To women like me, Trump is the patriarchy embodied. Hell, maybe that’s the reason why I haven’t tackled topics that traditionally belong to the boys’ club. Our patriarchal culture has told me since I was small to sit down and shut up, to be pretty instead of smart, to be meek, submissive, and compliant so boys won’t be intimidated by me and my big opinions.
The very institution this man personifies may be the reason I’ve been silent about the injustices of the world. And now, he is the reason I will pull the tape from my mouth.
I will use my voice for women. For equal rights, equal pay, equal opportunities, equal respect.
The time has come for us to burn the patriarchy to the ground.
Rape culture must end now, so our daughters and granddaughters will never be told they were “asking for it” because they wore a cute dress or showed cleavage or spoke to someone in a kind way that they misinterpreted as flirting.
Men like Trump need to understand that from now on, p*ssies will be grabbing back.
But the feminist movement, though near and dear to me, is just one piece of the puzzle. I’d love to stop there and go back to my little zen cave, but sadly, we have to talk about some other stuff, too.
Equally disgusting stuff like xenophobia, Islamophobia, and racism. People with green cards who went through the years-long process of becoming citizens are being detained. Families are being torn apart. This is the first time in my life I can remember such a blatant display of religious persecution.
Except the Muslim ban missed a couple of countries, like Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia. And I’m just a little hippie girl, but that sounds like oil country to me. Is it oil? Is it the threat of actual violence from places we shouldn’t have gone under the Bush administration? It doesn’t make sense. Why those particular seven countries?
Meanwhile, refugees from war-torn places like Syria, with no homes to return to, may lose the citizenship they worked so hard for. And for what? Because they practice a religion other than Christianity? Are we going back to Old England now? If I remember correctly, the guys who wrote the constitution Trump swore an oath to just a few days ago came here to avoid religious persecution. They didn’t want to become part of homogenized England. They wanted to be free to worship God in a way that made sense to them.
That separation of church and state thing—it was kind of important then. It’s still important today for every Muslim, Jew, Buddhist, Atheist—everyone who doesn’t fit into the narrow boxes of Protestant or Christian.
Religion doesn’t have a place in our legislation or public policy. That was the principle this country was born on. Why are we now choosing to take that right away from legal immigrants who use a different name when they cry out to their God?
And, hello? Have we forgotten that unless we are Native Americans, we are all immigrants here? All of us. And we took this land, by force, from the beautiful tribes who worshiped it before white folks from Europe came to ruin it.
America, I was born and raised here. My daddy served in the U.S. Army. I’ve lived in four states. I’ve traveled all over. You’re a beautiful place with lots of variety. I’ve seen your coasts and your mountains. I’ve played in your lakes, run through your corn fields with my young arms outstretched, climbed your apple trees, and stood on top of your red rocks.
But I am no patriot. You will not find me waving a flag for you today. No.
This is the land of the free and the home of the brave. We don’t build walls like Germany during the Cold War. We celebrate their demise when they tumble. We don’t punish people for being different here—that’s not what we’re about.
And if I have to leave behind my rainbows and sparkles to come talk some sense into you, I will. Because, you are better than this.
We are better than this.
I didn’t want to do this America, but you’ve left me no choice. I must use the voice I’ve been given to speak out and speak up for everyone you’re trampling over right now.
You’ve gotten too big for your britches, and this little hippie girl thinks it’s high time you go sit down in the corner for a minute and think about your choices.
Author: Renee Dubeau
Image: Courtesy of author; vintage magazine cover
Editor: Nicole Cameron