4 years ago-ish I marched in the Women's March. Yes, it turns out some of the leadership has proven imperfect. But I had spent much of the previous year watching as people tried to tell me Trump wouldn't ever get elected, that if he did he only meant half the things he said, and that honestly both candidates were bad, and people died under every president (yes, someone actually said that to me) so this would hardly be that different.
I mention this not to be right, although I am still a little mad that so many people, even after so many examples of how not alarmist I was, tried to tell me to just wait and see. That the experts who were so wrong, maintain good jobs, portending to predict new things. And the experts who were right are not the experts we rely on.
And here we are, four years later, and my city, the place where I was born, is under partial military rule. What's fun about that is that plenty of people who just got here for jobs, or who left here but used to be here, have all positioned themselves as experts on what that means. Some of them are sure we are very grateful to have so many soldiers keeping us safe. And look, I am one hundred percent against insurrection, but the idea that flooding my city with soldiers makes things safe is something only people who aren't here and/or who are sure the soldiers will all assume they are a good person, can happily say. I am incredibly lucky that I am outside the zone, that I can work, read, hunker down, and even run get groceries or other supplies without crossing the zone.
But it's fascinating how some people are fine with border walls, when it's somewhere they don't need to go.
I was talking with one person about how of course, they cordoned off parts of the city for Inaugurations (and other reasons) before. They've done ID checks for people to cross through neighborhoods before. (Officially, they are not supposed to be doing ID checks right now. But...) Of course, I spent a lot of time after the 2017 Inauguration, trying to find why the security fencing was up for months, And as many have pointed out, if parts of the city can be walled off, then maybe those parts aren't our city. (People with voting members of Congress, always a good time to remind them you support DC statehood.)
4 years ago-ish, I spoke to an off duty reporter who was worried that liberals feeling like the oppressed minority would make them more susceptible to false stories. I haven't seen that much. But I have seen people become really comfortable with things like ID checks and border walls when it's to protect what they perceive as their people. I have seen people - and look, pandemic plus news cycle - it's hard on all our brains. But I have seen people literally forget that we are still running internment camps. I have seen people say wow, I can't believe the world is watching us be embarrassing like this. As if embarrassment was the problem. And also as if anything we've done in the last four years encompasses the most embarrassing things we've done.
Oh gosh, this started off all retrospective and ended up here. So all of this is to say, I will not be marching around or near the Inauguration this year. But not because they picked the guy I liked better this time. Because between violence and the pandemic we have literally allowed this to get to a place where it is unsafe for me to do so. I hope things change under the new administration. And I am ready to keep reaching out to my electeds to push us towards a better future.
But I also hope more folks think about how we can move this country in a direction where it takes something less than the attempted assasination of multiple of our elected leaders for us to realize that some folks are dangerous.