I struggled with the title to this, because I’m honestly not even sure what to call the left and right anymore. There seem to be plenty of conservatives on the left and tons of liberals on the right. I’m hesitant to refer to them as such, though, because a person can have both liberal and conservative views.
That being said, I had the pleasure of attending two political events this weekend: The West Coast Walk for Life and Kamala Harris’s campaign rally in Oakland. And let me tell you…there was a huge difference in decorum between the two events.
First, I’d like to address the Walk for Life.
It was a beautiful Saturday – perfect for walking alongside others in peace. Among the religious speakers, there were also women sharing their own stories. Therefore, I’ll share mine.
In 2012, I had a medically-necessary abortion. Had I not gone through with the procedure, it would’ve likely ended in a miscarriage alongside a myriad of other health issues. This pregnancy was also the result of a rape.
I’m still working on dealing with leftover baggage from those events, plus the emotional toll it took on my (at the time) boyfriend who’d just moved 2,000 miles to be with me. It wasn’t fair to either of us, but we can’t change the past.
At the Walk for Life, many women shared their personal stories about their own procedures and what it was like to even perform some.
I want to take this opportunity to appreciate how inclusive this crowd of people was. While some would expect heavy religious undertones, there was very much a call for peace and peace only. When one priest was speaking, a man (or woman) on a bicycle road in a circle while giving the middle finger salute to all of us. He also yelled a few choice phrases at us (mostly of the “fuck you” variety). But the speaker didn’t miss a beat.
When we were informed that there may be individuals protesting the walk, the speaker simply said, “We’re not here to argue. Wish them a good day and move on. This isn’t about them.”
And I agree.
During the walk, there were far fewer protesting it than I’d imagined for a city the size (and “open-mindedness”) of San Francisco. Here are a few highlights:
At the very beginning of the walk, a woman (or man) stood on the sidewalk, simply giving us all the finger. Productive.
A man was shouting “The Catholic Church is a joke!” We only wish we could’ve quipped back, “Then what’s the punchline?”
A particularly angry woman began marching against the traffic, screaming in people’s faces that we should, “Defund life!” I didn’t have the heart to ask her what that meant. More cemeteries?
A group of several women were holding signs that said, “My body, my choice,” and screaming at the crowd.
Let me address that last point. I understand it’s a source of contention among both groups. When does life begin? At conception? At birth?
If we’re going by birthdays, at least in the US, it would be considered at birth to most Pro-Choice advocates. New York state, for example, has opted to give abortions up to birth. Let me be clear: I do not believe life starts at birth.
But I also don’t believe life begins at conception. Life begins when the heart starts beating. Because without a heart, you cannot live. And before your heart starts beating, the cells are doing what they were programmed to do.
In any case, I felt welcomed and comfortable in this group of people. Each speaker was on time and everything was organized well.
Which brings me to Kamala Harris’s campaign rally.
Every site I visited listed the starting time as 12pm. When we arrived, there were throngs of people everywhere. There was a distinct lack of signage telling you where to go. I noticed that most of the people walking or wading through the crowd couldn’t care less about getting in others’ ways. Not that I hold everyone to that standard, but it’s a pet peeve of mine when someone thinks their time is more valuable than anyone else’s.
A line stretched around the block. A line for what, you ask? I have no idea, either. No one did. But no one was asking. They were just assuming it was a line to get onto the lawn – which was correct. But it was impossible to find an in.
Barricades were stacked up everywhere. And Kamala Harris was an hour late. To her own campaign rally.
Once something actually started happening (closer to 1pm), the police decided to let some people in for a closer look. When we tried to run around to get a better view, we weren’t permitted to enter. We’re not even sure if there was a stipulation or not.
I suppose what I’m trying to get at is that this event was badly organized. It felt as though our time was not being valued. Most individuals I passed by were more concerned with Kamala’s nationality than anything else.
In short, it felt like a free-for-all of, “everyone look out for yourself.”
Is that the message of inclusion we’re trying to send? Is this how the “left” wants us to feel? Because I felt that if I disagreed with anyone there, then I’d better prepare for a fight.
Cadelago, C. (August 1, 2017). Conservative media is keeping tabs on Kamala Harris. Retrieved from https://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article164661197.html
Templin, J. (September 15, 2016). Why a Korean baby born on Dec. 31 turns two years old the next day. Retrieved from https://qz.com/745825/korean-age-explained-why-a-baby-born-on-dec-31-turns-two-years-old-the-next-day/
Tolan, D. (January 27, 2019). Kamala Harris kicks off presidential campaign with Oakland rally. Retrieved from https://www.mercurynews.com/2019/01/27/kamala-harris-president-oakland-rally-campaign-kickoff/
West Coast Walk for Life. (2019). Retrieved from https://www.walkforlifewc.com/
WQAD DIGITAL TEAM. (January 25, 2019). How New York’s abortion law has changed. Retrieved from https://wqad.com/2019/01/25/how-new-yorks-abortion-law-has-changed/