As an old friend and I marched down South Congress on Saturday, taking it all in with the Texas state capital at our backs, she summarized all that had happened since November 9.
“This is not normal,” she said, walking by my side with 40,000-50,000 others who clearly felt the same. Along the way, we chanted: “This is what democracy looks like” and “My body my choice” while men answered “Her body her choice.” It was a beautiful and energetic distraction from the events in D.C. the day before.
I’m sure numbers are still coming in, but according to this story from The Telegraph UK this morning, the 673 Women’s Marches worldwide broke down like this:
- 4,184,000 participants.
- 1 in every 100 Americans participated.
- Washington, D.C., the original Women’s March upon which the entire global movement centered, saw three times as many marchers as attendees at Trump’s inauguration, “alternative facts” aside.
- In my very red state of Texas, Women’s March organizers in Austin expected 20,000-25,000 people. Instead 40,000-50,000 showed up. We almost didn’t make it because the buses going downtown were full!
This is not normal.
A White House press secretary, holding his first official press conference of a new president’s term, bold-face lying to the press about easily verifiable facts. Not normal.
A close advisor to the president doubling down on these lies and talking about “alternative facts.” Not normal.
No tax returns. No business divestment. RUSSIA. A soon-to-be-approved secretary of state who is the former CEO of Exxon-Mobile and has deep business ties to RUSSIA. Not normal. Not normal. Not normal. Not normal.
Of course, sometimes things just aren’t normal. As I’ve mentioned in previous blogs, my mom passed away in August. Nothing really seems normal these days. But that, I assume, will lesson with time. Life without Mom is the new normal. It is gut-wrenching sometimes, but it is what it is.
This isn’t that. This is your boyfriend punching you in the face not normal.
It’s not normal for presidents or president elects to tweet petty thoughts without an editor. It’s not normal for presidential candidates to be caught on tape saying they can grab a woman’s pussy because they’re famous. It’s not normal for a foreign entity to interfere in our election. It’s not normal for the other side to understand that happened and not care. It’s not normal for the president of the United States and his people to call legitimate journalists liars. It’s not normal — in these times — to take away people’s Constitutional (and SCOTUS-given) rights.
So if we are in for not normal times for the next four years, we can’t behave normally.
It’s not normal for my first social media check of the day to be the president of the United States’ tweets. But it is. It’s not normal for 3.2 million people in our country — plus hundreds of thousands of others internationally — to protest the stances taken by the president of the United States. But I did. It’s not normal for me to spend a Wednesday morning at my U.S. senator’s office. But last Wednesday, I did. It’s not normal for me to have a list of all my senators and representatives at my desk. Maybe it should be. And now I do.
Do you find yourself not acting normally lately? Good. Because not normal times require not normal behavior.
And with that, I leave you with my moment of zen from Saturday’s #WomensMarch in Austin, when the kids I was with started singing “My Country ‘Tis of Thee.” Let’s remember one verse nobody ever sings:
Beneath Heaven’s gracious will
The stars of progress still
Our course do sway;
In unity sublime
To broader heights we climb,
Triumphant over Time,
God speeds our way!
Until next week, friends, remember: Not normal times call for not normal actions. Now get busy out there.