This weekend, after the virtual wails of anguish that I saw floating across my social media feed on Friday, my feed became awash in a mosaic of hope and protest, as my friends and colleagues posted images from the Women’s March on Washington, and all the “sister marches” held across the country. It warmed my heart.
I didn’t march on Saturday, and I had been feeling more than a little sad about it. A trip to DC was pretty much out of the picture for my family from the start, and by the time I heard about the march planned closer to home I already had plans I couldn’t break. I was feeling pretty bad about it, like I was complacent in the hatred being spewed out of our nation’s leader.
However, a quick trip to Target this afternoon, in which I got claustrophobic when the woman behind me in the crowded check-out line got a little too close, reminded me that I would not have done well in a crowd of 500,000, or even 10,000. I am an introvert, and crowds don’t agree with me.
So as I thought more about it, I started trying to take stock of the ways in which I can, on a daily basis, confront the tyranny that’s now threatening to tear apart our country. And I as I reflected on my life, and this past week specifically, I realized there’s already one very real and tangible way that I’m living in protest.
My wife and I are raising two boys.
It’s a popular joke among LGBT parents that it’s nature’s karma that lesbians – anecdotally, at least, seem to be overwhelming blessed with boys. Maybe that’s just an urban legend, but in our family’s case, it proved true. Two science-assisted pregnancies, two (adorable, if I do say so myself) boys.
My oldest is almost four now, and – as I realized as we listened to the news on our ride home from school each day this week – he understands more of what he hears and sees in the world around him. “Donald Trump!” he exclaimed on Friday as we rode home, after hearing the name come over the radio. “He’s mean, right, Mommy?”
He was remembering conversations we’d had back in November, when his moms explained what voting was and why we wanted Hillary Clinton to be president. When we explained to him about bullies and why it’s important to be kind.
“He’s not very nice,” I agreed. “He doesn’t like people who are different from him. He’s not very nice to girls, or to people with brown skin.”
My son has friends with brown skin. He has two moms. He understands, on some level, that those things put him at odds with Donald Trump – put him at odds with the bullies.
“We should tell him to be nice, Mommy.”
“We will, sweetie, don’t worry.”
When I think about all the ways I can fight back against the hate and ignorance that I hear not the news, I’ve realized that raising my boys to be good, kind men – men who treat women with respect, who value people who are different from them, who stand up to bullies and speak up for those who are weaker than they are – I’m living my life in protest every day. And so are all the other parents of my generation, who are sad and angry and talking to their children about why black lives matter, why women’s rights are human rights, and why love is love is love.
Kids like my two boys, or like 6-year-old Sophie Cruz, who spoke in Washington on Saturday.
When I look at my kids – at the generation of warrior kids that my friends and family are raising – I see the future of our nation. And things – on the distant horizon, at least – don’t look quite so bleak.