The Accidental Protester

I have a dream.

My dream is to wake up in a country not taken over by paranoid lunatics, billionaires and white evangelicals. It’s hard to believe that I lived in the country of my dreams not long ago. I was so comfortable in it that I rarely thought about politics. Tea Party rage, when I encountered it, seemed absurd and needlessly confrontational.

Then Trump happened and I realized that I had underestimated and marginalized the frustration of millions of people. Life has a funny way of putting us in the shoes of those for whom we’ve lacked empathy and now here I am, an angry, indignant snowflake with no soft place to land. What to do?

Frankly, I’m not a resistant protest-y type. I’ve built a comfortable, peaceful life for myself by coloring mostly within the lines, keeping to the high road and avoiding both conflict and politics. Unsure of what to do with the anxiety I was experiencing, I tried to move on, assuming the unpleasant feelings would subside and life would return to normal. With the administration finding news ways to offend every day, however, I couldn’t find my way back to that peaceful go-with-the-flow existence I had once taken for granted. Frustrated, I called a protest-y type friend of mine and asked what I could do.

My protest-y friend suggested I join a “huddle” where I might find some relief from my angst and a healthy outlet for my rage. “Huddles” are an outcome of the Women’s March on Washington. They are organized groups of concerned citizens planning and taking action on a local level.

The President claims that the millions of people showing up with signs at every turn are “professional anarchists, thugs and paid protesters.” This, like many of his statements, is a lie. The people protesting him do it because they are compelled to resist; because integrity, decency and patriotism demand action. They share my dream.

I attended my first huddle event earlier in the week. There was not an anarchist in sight. Most were like me-women who have never been involved with a movement but are old enough to remember a time when blatant racism and sexism were acceptable and supported by the law. We will not willingly step 50 years back in time.

We recognize that we’ve been complacent. Now we are not. We have a list of tasks and actions. We have a list of people who have got to go. We’re in it for the long haul. This is a marathon, not a sprint. We won’t stop until our dream comes true.

Chicken In

Information for other accidental protesters:

Women’s March-HUDDLE

 The Indivisible Guide

Follow me on Twitter @chickensfeed

  30 comments for “The Accidental Protester

  1. K
    February 11, 2017 at 4:23 pm

    It’s so important to be a part of the change we want to see. Here’s to you doing something!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. February 11, 2017 at 4:38 pm

    Takes us all by surprise, I guess. Have at them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • February 11, 2017 at 6:02 pm

      Hi Joanne-yes, it did take me by surprise. Probably shouldn’t have. Lesson learned.


  3. February 11, 2017 at 4:45 pm

    Good for you! I thought my protest-y days were behind me, too. Looks like I have to go buy some walking shoes again.

    Liked by 2 people

    • February 11, 2017 at 6:00 pm

      Hi Jayne, thanks for retweeting/posting. I know you’ve been resisting all along:-)


  4. February 11, 2017 at 5:20 pm

    PS–I cannot find you on twitter


  5. jenny_o
    February 11, 2017 at 6:50 pm

    It used to amaze me, when I’d see documentaries about what was then the Soviet Union, or about Slavic countries, or East Germany (I’m old, yes) how everyday ordinary people had such an intense focus and grasp on political issues. They seemed to spend a lot of time discussing the problems and everyone had an informed opinion.

    Now I understand why. We need to be engaged. We needED to be engaged and we weren’t. It’s so easy to let good leaders just do the work. And we got caught.

    I’m using “we” in a Western sense; it’s not just U.S. citizens who are affected and it’s not just U.S. citizens who have to get involved. You folks are at the epicenter at the moment but many in other countries share your fears and unease and are getting our eyes opened as well.

    It’s terrific that there is so much going on in small groups and as individual actions now. Good on you, and all your fellow huddlers. I’m not a protest-y type either (yet, but who knows?) but small groups and individuals provide a different kind of action that is really needed.

    Liked by 1 person

    • February 11, 2017 at 9:12 pm

      Hi Jenny-thanks and yes, I agree it does affect us all. There is too much fear everywhere.


  6. Doug in Oakland
    February 11, 2017 at 8:56 pm

    Good on you, Chicken. Having taken the first step, it’s much more difficult to default back to inaction as the normal behavior. That first step seems to be really hard, for some reason.
    I’ve accidentally wandered into a couple of protests in Berkeley over the years, trying to get to the record stores (remember those?) and bookstores on Telegraph Avenue.
    Once, nearly broke and needing something to prop up my mental state, I walked up there from 62ond street to get a Vonnegut book and came upon a large, unruly crowd and zillions and zillions of cops. It was some kind of protest, that, as they sometimes do in Berkeley, had turned violent. As I walked up the sidewalk on Bancroft I came upon a crowd gathered around a hairy guy dressed in yellow robes out cold on the sidewalk. There was another hairy guy excitedly narrating the event to the rest of the crowd:

    Hairy Guy #2: …So the cops were all in a line in their riot gear and the kids were all facing them in a line holding up their skateboards like clubs and then this guy comes in between them and starts yelling “You don’t have to give in to violence!” over and over.

    Crowd member: What did they do then?

    Hairy Guy #2: Oh, they beat the piss out of him.

    We all tried not to laugh at the guy on the sidewalk and made our way toward our destinations. I never did find out what the protest was about, and worse, Half Price Books was closed because of it, so I had to walk all the way back to 62ond street without even a Vonnegut book, but at least with a good story to tell.


    • February 11, 2017 at 9:18 pm

      Doug. I love your stories. That’s a cautionary tale if ever I heard one.I wonder why Hairy Guy one was wearing yellow robes? Was Hairy Guy two in costume also?


      • Doug in Oakland
        February 12, 2017 at 12:08 am

        I hate to use stereotypes about people, but HG1 was in those robes because Berkeley. And no HG2 was dressed in a commonly enough that I don’t actually remember what he was wearing.


      • February 12, 2017 at 12:43 am

        Was he away he a Hare Krishna? Other than knowing it’s liberal, I don’t know a lot about Berkeley


      • Doug in Oakland
        February 12, 2017 at 12:10 am

        Oops. You know what I’m trying to say.


      • Doug in Oakland
        February 12, 2017 at 7:48 am

        They have some “colorful characters” there. Not as many as they used to, but still some. Sort of equal parts charming and pain-in-the-butt. It does give the place character, though. I lived there a couple of times, but found that I like Oakland better. The Greek Theater there is my all time favorite concert venue.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. jenny_o
    February 12, 2017 at 4:30 am

    Chicken, here is a long read but it’s cautiously optimistic “as long as American civil society is engaged” (paraphrasing slightly):
    You are on the right path, in my opinion.


    • February 12, 2017 at 3:11 pm

      Thanks Jenny-enjoyed that. I’m shocked by some of the numbers, though. Why would people want to give up their rights? Do they assume that their rights will remain and just all the bad people’s rights will go away? Like, “I’ll still be able to buy a machine gun, if I want, but it’s about time someone stopped food stamps”? I don’t get it.


      • jenny_o
        February 12, 2017 at 6:55 pm

        I know – there is a huge lack of imagination, which leads to a huge lack of compassion and foresight.

        If you are interested in another read, I thought of you and your fellow huddlers when I read this; it is a Washington Post opinion piece that compares what must be done now to what the abolitionists were faced with in 1850. It’s not too long and it’s quite uplifting, at least in my opinion.

        Liked by 1 person

      • February 13, 2017 at 4:37 pm

        Hi Jenny-yes, I’d like to read it. I read a lot of WaPo but not sure I saw that one.


  8. February 12, 2017 at 6:16 pm

    Proud of you, Chicken. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  9. February 13, 2017 at 12:08 am

    Good for you. I don’t think many of us thought he could possibly win. We have to keep resisting.

    Liked by 1 person

    • February 13, 2017 at 4:35 pm

      Hi SAW-I was legitimately shocked when he won, which just goes to show how insulated I let myself become.


  10. February 13, 2017 at 8:40 am

    Chicken, you have my admiration. I have seen democracy beaten back to square one several times (government-by-discussion pounded flat by government-by-tantrum) as you doubtless have. My experience began in the ’60s and, in the ’70s, extended to workers’ unions. I learned freedom and human progress can indeed be shrunken to square one but no further. That’s where it gathers and resumes its force, where it begins again. We saw wars end. We saw retirements issue from a more humane economy. So long as compassion is a prime directive, the resistance movement expands.


  11. February 20, 2017 at 12:06 am

    Love this!


  12. April 15, 2017 at 9:54 am

    Just checking in since you’ve not posted in quite a while – I hope all is well with you.


    • April 15, 2017 at 11:50 pm

      Hi SAW. Thanks so much for checking in. I am fine. Sometimes I take breaks. It is always unintentional-I just find myself not checking in. I need to be better about saying, “Hey, I’m ok, don’t worry about me, just taking a break”, but somehow that seems like hubris to me. Like I think everyone else thinks that I think everyone might be worried about me. I probably should have just made this comment a post. I know.


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