And so the fight continues from Northern Texas.
Tonight, I took my son (13) to Terminal D at DFW Airport to protest Donald Trump’s refusal to comply with the federal court order to allow green card and visa holding foreign nationals to enter the US. I was picked up by fellow resisters Margie and Laura, two women I met on the lonely Dealey Plaza protest in December.
I wasn’t planning on going but decided to at the last minute, causing me to engage in my now trademark mad dash sign making process with unsuitable tools (like acrylic paint, which sounds like it would work but it’s not great as a sign-making medium).
My son proved less malleable this time around as I tried to foist upon him a sign that read, “President must comply with court order.” He stood his ground and insisted on holding the “Trump is Anti-American” sign, admittedly the catchier of the two. There is a real art to this sign making business. Not an art I’ve mastered, of course, but other people are killing it.
My fellow resisters picked us up around 4. Margie brought her 13 year old son, an industrious young man who had the foresight to actually video tape all of these events with a video camera and not with a cell phone that would die an hour into one’s efforts to document the beauty of civil unrest. (Yes, that was me.)
Laura brought her 17 year old daughter, who IS mastering the art of sign making because her sign read, “The Greatest Commandment of All is Love” and it was beautiful.
I sat in the back with the three teens and was subjected to comments like, “Facebook has been taken over by adults.” Just for laughs I told them that being an adult was awesome. (Not to get too political here, but they should have the same unrealistic expectations about how cool that is as my generation did.)
We parked in the garage and as we unloaded our signs from the trunk, I saw that Margie had been accumulating sign making tools. She had poster boards of various sizes, at least a dozen wide markers of various colors, small dowels and tape. It was quite impressive and a testament to the mistake of pissing mothers off.
We, the women who start off carrying a small human’s weight of accouterments for our infants, frequently spend the rest of our lives being trying to be prepared while mobile. If we don’t have something the first time around, you know we will have it the second time around. (In fact, when my phone died, Margie reported that she had a portable charger in her backpack. I marveled at how prepared she was, to which she responded, “I’m getting better as I go!” Aren’t we all?)
We went to the main floor in terminal D, passed baggage claim and walked down a long, wide hallway toward arrivals. On our way, we passed Muslims in prayer, persons lined up along the walls who had clearly been there for hours (if not since Saturday), and small children sleeping on the chairs nailed to the floor. The hallway opened up into a large well-lit area into which the double sliding doors of the arrivals gate would open.
There were hundreds of people: men, women and children of all ethnicities. The Dallas police had cordoned off the walkways leading to the sliding doors and protesters were amassed behind yellow tape. The police looked beleaguered but, to be fair, millions of Americans are feeling equally beleaguered, hence protests like this.
We looked for a place to stand and several protesters made space for us to join them. We chanted (“Let them go” and “move Trump get out of the way,” “we are one, we are free, this is the land of liberty,” “this is what democracy looks like”) and held our signs above our heads.
We talked to the people around us and took photos of protesters and signs. (Having torn my son away from the x-box on a Sunday resulted in several photos of him looking like a detainee himself. His face said, “set THEM free? how about setting ME free?”)
We cheered people who came through the arrival doors, although the process of cheering seemed a big haphazard to me. Was it just based on entrants who looked Muslim? Clearly this was an imperfect albeit well-intentioned process. People were handing out warm pizza, fried chicken wings and bottles of water.
I was thanked by several women in hijabs, which broke my heart.
The entire experience, however, was beautifully and quintessentially America (from the chants to the chicken wings.)
In the end, all persons being held were released. A representative of the families involved spoke to the crowd. He thanked the protesters, the police, the attorneys. He reminded the crowd that we have to continue to be prepared to amass and to protest. We have to remain vigilant because the attacks on marginalized groups will continue. He said that the protests are part of why everyone was ultimately allowed to enter. The protests brought the attention of media and attorneys.
As we filed out of the terminal, I told my son why we were there.
We were there because the world needs to see that millions of Americans, indeed, a majority of voting Americans, do not support Trump and his agenda.
We were there because hate is not an American value.
We were there because fear makes us weak, not great.
We were there because we are a nation of immigrants and refugees and the conservative agenda is painfully, comically, hypocritical.
We were there because protests matter. The history of America is a history of protest and dissent.
We were there because when you have a chance to be there, you should be there.
If you ever wonder if you go and join a group of people gathering to fight injustice or governmental wrongdoing, please go. Just go. Showing up matters. Go alone if you have to because you will not be alone once you get there.
And you know what else? You may actually change someone else’s life by going… and you will definitely change your own.
You have a voice. I urge you to use it… preferably in-person. Signs are optional. Chanting is fun.
When in doubt, just go. (Tell your kids that there might be pizza.)
And blog about it when you’re done!
(Please note that yes, I realize that fathers can be super organized and prepared too. I speak about moms because I am a mom and the people I spend time with are, frequently although not exclusively, mothers as well.)