It was another beautiful Southern California day, made more beautiful by the 2-3,000 marchers who showed up to protest the inhumane practices of this administration. For me it was profound. The speakers, the marchers, all gave me some hope in this time of despair.
The event started with the National Anthem, and I have to tell you, I could not bring myself to sing. For me, this is no longer the “land of the free and the home brave”. This is not the same song that often brought me to tears at a baseball game. We are living in a heartless, racist country that has been taken over by a heartless, racist regime. I was hoping the march would help show me the humanity of our people, and for awhile help me forget the horrors we’re inflicting.
The program started with 3 clergy, Jewish, Christian, and Muslim. Chants were encouraged:
"NOT ON MY WATCH”
“VOTE THEM OUT”
The speakers included Holocaust survivor Margaret Houffelaar, OC Sheriff candidate Duke Nguyen (who is an immigrant), Katie Porter, candidate for the 45th Congressional District, and Beatriz Valencia, candidate for Orange City Council. Each brought something special to the event.
Margaret Houffelaar spoke of how the Trump administration is doing worse things than what she saw with the Nazis by separating children from their parents. She noted that she had never heard the work “racism” in Germany (though probably not true now.)
Katie Porter got HUGE applause. Lots of hope she will throw out Mimi.
Duke Nguyen said something that resonated with me. He said, when you hear the National Anthem, take a knee! I got it! I know some of you might think that’s unpatriotic, but the actions of this administration are unpatriotic at best and treasonous at worst. I feel like I need to show solidarity with all the people who are suffering through this. Let’s face it, Trump’s policies will not affect those of us who are old and lucky enough to be financially stable. But what he and his followers have done to the reputation of this country throughout the world, and to our neighbors who can’t fight back – we can not be silent! NOT ON MY WATCH! America is violating international law where refugees have a right to seek asylum. All of us must be held accountable.
The last and most powerful speaker was Beatriz Valencia, a candidate for Orange City Council. She spoke of fleeing Mexico at 6 years old in 1970 with her mother and sisters. She spoke of hearing gunshots when she crossed the border and of being separated from her mother. She still re-lives the trauma. We were all in tears. She implored us to exercise our greatest power and VOTE!
So, as much as I don’t want to, I will canvas my (Republican) neighborhood. And I will find 5 people to register to vote. We can’t give up. If you get a chance, watch Michael Moore on Bill Maher last week (HBO). Though it was somewhat depressing, maybe it’s a wake-up call for all of us.
Last comment, as we were walking to our car there was a woman in a Trump tee-shirt talking on her phone. She was saying that those of us at the march were “evil”. Evil? – for wanting to save children, for wanting to have humanity? This is what we’re up against. It ruined my day.