Humane Lobby Day happened last week, and I spoke with my legislators’ staffers to advocate for animal welfare. I learned that politicians really like pictures of themselves with middle school classrooms and what my representatives’ names are. I also learned how to get those politicians to listen to you.
1.) Don’t freak out if you can only speak with their assistant. Legislators are busy (as their staff will say more than once). It’s their people’s job to tell them what they need to know from their constituents.
2.) To get on that need to know list…bring food. If you attach a piece of candy or a cookie to a document, it adds an extra minute to the time they look at it. Think of it as a micro-bribe.
3.) Only contact your own representatives. If you call someone else’s, they’ll listen to you, nod politely, and do nothing.
4.) Know where your bill is in the process. Bills need to make it through their subject committee and the rules committee before they come to vote. Then they go over to wherever they didn’t start (senate or house) and travel through those committees.
5.) If a bill fails once, it can still be reintroduced.
Turning a bill into a law can take several years. Bring snacks, and not only for your legislator.
It’s been a year since the last women’s march on the day of Trump’s inauguration. Since then, Trump has decreased protections for women’s healthcare, defended sexual predators, and been his usual offensive self. The time had come to march again.
In a county being run by Jabba the Hut, you have to stand up for your rights or spend four to eight years getting slimed on (please let it be four).
This year, my experience at the march was mixed. It was a great cause and a great movement, but the event itself was poorly run. Here are some of the do’s and don’ts I’ve learned about protesting.
Show up. In Democracy, as in high school, you get participation points. Also, vote (with your ballot, your presence, and your pocketbook).
Bring your cool signs. “Grab them by the midterms” is a winner as is “Hell hath no fury like the 51% minority.”
Take your dog (if they’re calm enough). Your pup will look adorable in a pink baby blanket and pussy hat. Complete strangers will want to take pictures (I know because we did).
Make your audience listen to over an hour and half’s worth of speeches before the actual march. Common sense, people.
Insult said audience. Trust me no one likes being shouted at to take off their pussy hats (because they’re trans exclusive) and join a real protest. This is a real protest. Respect our dedication and that we took the time to be here.
And finally, if it is cold and rainy (like it was for me), you can huddle with fellow protesters and use them as blankets. Provided your related to them that is.
To celebrate Earth Day, I joined protesters across the world in a “March for Science.” People even turned out at the South Pole. My mom and I marched in Olympia, WA. Like most Washington days, it was cold, wet, and mucky. A fellow protester said it smelled like wet dog. People showed up anyway.
Walking down the street with everyone seemed like a parade. We dressed up, played music, and even had a spot of sunlight. It lasted five minutes and felt fabulous.
People used their creativity. The organizers sold pink knitted hats that looked like brains (they’re cuter than you’d think) and one woman dressed up in a bee costume. FYI— bees do 80% of global pollination. No bees, no food.
Without science, we wouldn’t have many advances we consider necessities. I don’t know about you, but I’m quite fond of clean water, electricity, and medicine. One speaker, Rep. Laurie Dolan, is only alive today because of science. She had multiple myeloma and needed two bone marrow transplants. One sign, carried by a mother, said, “I enjoy my kids not getting smallpox.”
Worst of all for a nerd like me, without science we would have no science fiction. Movies about pod people wouldn’t exist. The apocalypse genre would vanish.
Unless, as we stop listening to science, we get a real apocalypse.
I got catcalled as I was leaving my car yesterday: “You damn fine.” Acceptable responses to that would be “You damn rude,” giving them the finger, or a swift kick to their (tiny) balls. I did none of those. I get my best comebacks a few hours after I get picked on. I’m not alone. According to Stop Street Harassment, 65% of women get street harassed.
This isn’t the first time something like this has happened to me. At work, I accidentally clicked on a virus that filled my monitor with porn. I had to throw my jacket over my computer so my co-workers wouldn’t see a screen full of vaginas that looked like alien venus fly traps. What’s worse—one of the IT guys who was supposed to fix it kept making jokes about how I was a dominatrix. The Huffington Post says that one third of 18-34 year old women have been sexually harassed in the workplace.
One non-profit, Hollaback!, made a viral PSA video of a woman being harassed 108 times as she walked through Manhattan. One guy followed her for five minutes. Harassers—we are not your property. You have no right to our space. Your behavior will have consequences and not only to the women you’re molesting.
Look what happened to Bill O’Reilly.
The new administration plans to cancel funding for AmeriCorps. AmeriCorps has given me the chance to use my degree, learn new skills, and taste fabulous caramel ice cream at orientation. (Guess which was most important). Here are three reasons to fund AmeriCorps.
- It fights poverty. I volunteer at an organization that assists people with disabilities to find meaningful work. These people not only have to overcome their individual disabilities, but the stigma that comes with having them.
- It encourages diversity. In the town where I grew up, most everyone was rich and white. In elementary school, my sister thought that lawyer and doctor were very common careers because so many kids’ parents had them. The world isn’t this homogenous. AmeriCorps gave me the chance to meet people that, surprise, weren’t exactly like me.
- It enables young people to find work. Employers want experience, but you can’t get experience unless you’ve had a job. This irony is why almost 40% of young people (ages 22, 23, and 24) get financial help from our parents. AmeriCorps gets our feet in the workplace door.
AmeriCorps isn’t an expense. It’s an investment—one the new administration should make.
I made history today. I marched with 10,000 other Americans in my hometown of Olympia, WA to protest after the inauguration. We came to stand up for civil rights and claim the “people’s house” of government, in solidarity with millions of other protesters around the globe. A lot of us came in pussy hats.
I wore a pussy hat and a pair of pink socks with “fight” written on them. My mom made the hats herself, and they were purr…fect. The cat ears posed a challenge though; I only hope they didn’t look like balls in a pink scrotum.
We marched not only for civil rights, but for a variety of issues. One person had a sign that said, “There’s no planet b.” And that’s right; there isn’t. Carbon in the atmosphere has reached over 350 parts per million, and we’re no longer evolved to survive. We’re toast—literally.
Even the nerds showed up (including yours truly) ready to fight with their Voldemort comparisons and their quotes from the Lord of the Rings. A group of people had signs with “A woman’s place is in the resistance” and General Leia’s picture on them.
Everyone’s place is in the resistance.
A couple weeks ago, I attended an art exhibit/lecture on “Dead Feminists” where I’d never heard of most of the women listed—Eleanor Roosevelt and that was it. I felt like I was in a class where I hadn’t done the reading. If, like mine, your education has some gaps, then this list is for you.
- Shirley Chisam—the first African American congresswoman. She fought for the Equal Rights Amendment and against the Vietnam War.
- Vera Rubin—an astronomer who pioneered discoveries in dark matter. Dark matter is an unidentified substance that takes up most of the space in the universe.
- Emma Goldman—a women’s rights, free love, labor activist during the early 20th century. She was imprisoned for two years for opposing the draft during World War I and later deported in 1919.
- Dorothy Parker—a biting critic and short story writer. She once said, “The first thing I do in the morning is brush my teeth and sharpen my tongue.”
In a history written mostly by men, women’s stories get lost. I’m trying to find them.