|the young people who inspire me to show up|
I spent the last 25 years being very politically and socially neutral. In the position I was in, it was critical to be perceived as completely non-partisan. Furthermore, as an employee of government, it wasn't exactly kosher to come out publicly to critique one's boss. Career-limiting to say the least.
However, I find myself at the age of 51 suddenly free to have opinions. This has been a shock.
The first few times I did it, I did it tentatively, anxious to offend no one.
And to be truthful, I don't want to offend anyone.
But this past year I have actually protested in front of my provincial legislature three times, most recently on the topic of the woeful state of reproductive health services for women where I live. So yesterday, my friend Mary and I marched with women half our age, and quite a few men, to protest the closure of the only clinic in New Brunswick that provides women with access to safe affordable abortions.
|Mary is on the far left of this photograph here!|
Before I get hate comments about supporting abortions, I should say this: I am uncomfortable about abortions. I doubt I would have one. But I will fight to the death for a woman's, not a state's, right to choose what happens to her body.
So we marched and chanted and clapped and booed.
Protesting is a new and interesting experience for me. For example: what to wear? In this case, it was hot, so I wore a white linen top, a silk max studio skirt, and espadrilles. I may have been over-dressed compared to my fellow marchers. I guess I'll have to learn how to do this better.
I often feel uncomfortable protesting. But since I am in the position that I can protest without being punished (and in New Brunswick, you can be punished in your job or in other ways for speaking out - we have a media monopoly here and so many are government employees of government or of the Irving Corporation that owns everything) I feel that I must, as I have so many friends who say that they wish they could be there, too, but cannot for the reasons above.
Finding my public voice has been an exhilarating experience, and mostly, I leave such thoughts to to my Facebook page, since it is followed in the main by people who live near me.
I am a firm believer that protests and letter writing campaigns by the public, coupled with turning out the vote, are the only things that keep government in check. And I say this from the experience of being 25 years on the inside and seeing how politicians panic when they are criticized.
But next time, I'll dress down a little.... Anyone else out there protesting anything these days?
Have a great Saturday - stay safe out there!