I heard it for the first time, “This is what democracy looks like, this is what democracy, this is what democracy looks like…”
It was a much as chant as a war cry. I was at the BWI airport and I’m sure the same thing was being replayed at the Ronald Regan and Washington Dulles airports.
Have you ever been at the wrong place at the wrong time?
All I wanted to do was get a seat before I boarded the plane to come home. I was emotionally spent, leaving my daughter after spending a few days with her, before her college semester begins. I won’t see my baby for three months. Of all the seats, I could choose I happened to select the one empty chair facing, in a semi-circle of five other people, flying home after the march for women’s rights in DC. They were excited, they were pumped, they were energized by their cause.
They were discussing various aspects of the march, how peaceful it was, how wonderful the solidarity, etc. – when they paused to ask me if I too had participated. I said, “No,” I explained – why I was there, and why I didn’t march –I voted for the other guy.
If looks could kill. Two ladies immediately began bombarding me with propaganda, “media sound bites,” one looked aghast, and her husband, a big man looked angry – one woman had the decency to look intrigued. Then the onslaught of questions. How could you vote for someone who is: against women, wants poor people to not have insurance, gropes, likes the KKK, doesn’t believe in enviornmental issues, is prejudiced against blacks because he questioned the birth of the past president, hates Jews, hates immigrants, said horrible things about the Mexicans, and on and on, and on.
I didn’t answer the barrage of questions. I listened, looking around from one to the other, and calmly asked a question of my own, “So, are you saying I don’t have the right to vote? Are you saying my opinion doesn’t count?”
After the brief look of disbelief that I could utter the fact that I too had rights, two ladies couldn’t even look at me, one, walked away to plug in her phone, and the other two started asking me questions. The husband – not so nice. Each question began with the refrain, “Oh, I want to understand – to – I just can’t understand how you…”
Every once in a while the one – who couldn’t look at me, would fire in a nasty retort to my answers.
You can’t argue with angry. I pointed that out, “You see?” I said, gesturing to the snotty lady, “when anyone has a different opinion there is no tolerance, I’m supposed to understand, yet you can be angry, and rude. You don’t care that I am a woman, that I am educated and that I have a different opinion than yours. You think that because I’m a woman I have to agree with you. I don’t. You are so angry! Are you going to be angry for four years?”
“We will not stop!
We are getting organized!
This is just the beginning!”
“Well,” I said, “I’m happy the march was peaceful and I think you have the right to protest, but not to insist I believe the same way you do.”
Silence– what can you say to that?
Oh yeah. Sure, I could have moved – it would have been easier, but here is what I learned… and I explained to these people.
- I agree women should have rights – born and unborn.
- I believe all people should have rights – not just women.
- I believe we see things through lenses based upon faith – our own world view.
- I believe we must agree to disagree–when we can’t agree.
- Anger, even if you think it is righteous won’t help your cause. Nastiness makes you look petty and small.
They kept pouncing on the media sound bites. I refused to comment, to defend President Trump. Not that I couldn’t, but because they wouldn’t have listened. What could I say that they would believe?
So, instead I listened, I smiled and I said, “Can I respond now? – I am not a racist, I am college educated, I am not a radical, I raised my children to love and serve God as I do, I don’t want open borders for criminals, I am not a ‘basket of deplorables,’ I want immigrants to come into this country–legally, I am for freedom and for all people, I respect your right to your opinion – please accept my right to my own opinion, I love Mexicans and all people—I am not a racist, I don’t like the KKK, and I am pro-life.”
“Well,” said the snotty voice pouncing on my last statement, “Then you are taking away the rights of others –at least we all have rights now.”
Wow. So, that’s how they spin it.
If I want a child not to be murdered in the womb I am taking away the right of the mother – the infant does not count. Two told me they don’t like the thought of abortion, but “rights” overrules stopping abortion. One told me she had two abortions, one because it was just not convenient, the other because birth control failed. I asked if she had any remorse, and she said, “No.” She had other children and they were wanted.
Wow. You murder your children for convenience and birth control.
I asked the nasty husband, “Did you know that the Right to Life marches peacefully in DC in January?”
“Never heard of it,” said the husband.
“Oh, yes – there are hundreds of thousands of people there and the media doesn’t report it because it is a cause they can’t get behind,” I explain, “But, it is widely covered on EWTN a Catholic broadcast on cable,” I shared, if you want to learn more.
Silence. Disdain. More avoiding looks.
One lady explained to me that was those who voted for Trump could not have marched as peacefully as the women did, they would have broken out in brawls, you know coming from so many different walks of life, some were uncivilized and all, those coal miners, and of course the KKK would be there. Whereas they were a common sisterhood, they had common values, they all believed in the same thing…this is what democracy looks like!
Right. A small demographic of women – who believe in the same thing? Yeah, that is democracy for all.
Those who voted for Trump were from all walks of life – they are a mixture from across all demographics! They are “the people,” not a small segment of the people. As Sean Hannity likes to call them, “The Forgotten Man.”
The Trump supporters were at the inauguration – I didn’t hear of any brawls breaking out, and if there were I’m sure the media would have reported it.
As we discussed things they feared about the incoming President interestingly enough, the ladies had different views – one thought Trump was against Jews, three didn’t – one thought Trump’s stance on Israel was horrible – others didn’t – and on, and on…
Hmm… not so unified after all.
“Did you really like Hilary and all she stood for?” I asked, after I refused to answer the same question about Trump.
Out of the five, three voted for her because she wasn’t Trump, one liked Sanders and the other was a Hilary fan.
Wow, Hillary – where are your supporters?
“And,” I was told, “ – did you know that 53% of women didn’t vote for Hilary?”
I asked, “Yes, I heard – that sounds like a majority.”
“Why didn’t you vote for a woman?”
Me: “I wouldn’t vote for someone because of gender or race.”
I asked the angry husband, “What about the black vote, why didn’t black men vote for Hillary?”
Sadly, the husband hung his head and said he didn’t know. Then he perked up with, “Oh! That’s because they made it difficult for them to get to the polls.”
“Really? They seemed to get there for Obama,” I said.
Democracy is for all people! This is what democracy looks like.
Democracy is for all people; democracy looks different than what an energized group of women chant. When I, as an American citizen, can talk to a group of five other people all vehemently opposed to my beliefs, calmly, that’s America. When I can say, “We must agree to disagree, we must have open dialogue, we must value the other person’s opinion, while realizing we will not compromise our own.” That’s America.
The angry husband couldn’t understand that he wasn’t going to change my mind – and when I kept asking him, over and over, if my opinion and rights didn’t matter to him – he kept insisting it did, but then threw out another, “Trump thing—a soundbite.” He finally gave up – I wasn’t giving him what he wanted.
They discussed “fake news” – which I found interesting because I pointed out all the networks, ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, etc., hate President Trump, not to mention the mainstream newspapers. What about FOX the husband said?
Me: “FOX doesn’t always like him,” and yet I told them I was happy, “they” got Megyn Kelly. Not one person said they liked her.
Hmm. Megyn, did you hear that. Not so popular among your contemporaries.
Where we agreed? We all think the news media is in a business to make money. We all think people should have jobs. We all think there should be no prejudice against blacks. We all think people should have insurance (but I don’t think the government should subsidize or pay for it). We all think people should come to the US from other countries (I think legally and believe the law should be enforced).
Where we disagreed? Everything else.
Once I boarded the plane it was party time. People walked around the plane – it was like one big sorority party. Strangers talking to strangers, our flight-crew excited, joined it. Occasionally, when there was turbulence they were encouraged to sit – but, really, they were too happy to sit for long. This is a movement, it is a mission, it is an important time. I’m not being sarcastic or derogatory here, I am stating a fact. And, this movement is something we need to look at and say, wow—where is our movement? Where is our energy, who is going to be the one to rally the people?
Friends, the beauty is that our country was made up of many different people, my parents were Italian immigrants who gained citizenship, legally. They loved American and taught me that love of country did not supersede love of God. God first, all else falls into place.
What struck me as so vividly – were the chants once we boarded and overly delayed plane. (Really, Lord? What did I do to deserve this?) The chant was, “This is what democracy looks like…”
Wow. Just wow.
Of course, now in retrospect as I think over the conversations, I wish I had made more of a point about this-or-that. Yet, the Lord put me at an airport and on a plane of protesters — who are now a sisterhood, bound by a common cause, for me to witness this new dawn on our horizon. Friends, we need to be aware it is real. Clips of the peaceful march played in the crowded plane, quips of NOW and Black lives matter, filtered through the air. For me, the right tact was remaining calm, silent, and in prayer.
One lady proudly stood and invited the entire plane to find NOW in Southwest Florida that was starting up again.
Oh, yay! – I’ll get right on that. (Now, that was said sarcastically.)
I will podcast on this topic, but as I share my story, my concern is for the young girls that accompanied their moms, they are being educated in the rhetoric of women above all else. I have three boys and two girls – I want rights for all. And, I’m concerned for our future – listening to this unbridled anger, this “cause” this focus on us against them—it isn’t us against them. We are all Americans. I was told this march was not about Trump, it was about women, it was about solidarity. Yet all I heard were anti-Trump this, and anti-Trump that.
“Name one thing you like about Trump?” asked the husband.
“I like that he is pro-life,” I said.
Sneer. “You would take away the rights of women so your rights can be heard.”
Sigh. Time for prayer, time for our nation to heal. Time for our country to come together. The election is over, Donald J. Trump is our president for the next four years, and now you know how we felt when Obama was elected—but we didn’t march. I think we made a mistake, we should have marched, and these women have it right.
Be ready. Be ready.
Felice Gerwitz is an author and a publisher (Media Angels(R) Inc., and owner of this podcast network. She is a woman, and wants rights for all – but thankfully we have a wonderful document caused the US Constitution and The Bill of Rights – so she feels we are covered.
Photo credit – DepositPhoto, 2017 All Rights Reserved. Copyright: alancrosthwaite