Trying Not to be Trampled by Other People’s Anger

There are a few things that scare the heck out of me. Angry people. People with an agenda. Vast crowds. Is it any wonder that yesterday, the day of the women’s march, I stayed as far away from Washington DC as possible?

The only time I was ever in a huge crowd, I was smashed against a chain-link fence waiting to see the Beatles pass by. At the time, I didn’t know who the Beatles were, didn’t care, but a neighbor girl who did know the Beatles and loved them, desperately wanted to go to the airport to greet the icons. Her mother said she couldn’t go unless I went with her (I’ve always been nauseatingly responsible) so the girl badgered me and badgered me to go with her despite my repeated no’s. I finally agreed to ask my mother, secure in the belief that my mother would say no since “no” seemed to be her default response. To my utter horror, she said yes. So the girl and I took a taxi out to the airport and waited for hours for the famed quartet to appear. When they finally drove by, smiling and waving, the crowd (mostly girls) erupted into a frenzy of excitement and charged after the car moving slowly along the other side of the fence. I was crushed against the fence, and probably would have been stomped underfoot except for the panicked grip I kept on the links. Finally, the crowd pushed past me, and I was alone. The neighbor girl had disappeared, and I had no way to get back home.

Obviously, I did get back home, but the memories of my return are not as sharp as the memory of the crowd and my panic. I vaguely remember talking to someone in a phone booth, but I don’t know who I was talking to or how I got there, and I vaguely remember a taxi dropping me off at the house.

I’ve never allowed myself to be fenced in by crowds again.

Strangely, my fear of crowds predated that episode, though I don’t know where the fear came from. Perhaps books? I’ve always read everything I could get my hands on, even when it wasn’t age-appropriate, so I subjected myself literarily to many traumas that I would not willingly undergo in real life.

Two things missing from that experience with the Beatles mob were anger and people with agendas. An experience that would incorporate all three of my fears would have scarred me for life. Of course, those fears and the possibility of being scarred are not the only things that kept me away from the woman’s march — I had absolutely no interest in such a thing. I want my days to be filled with accomplishment, even if all I accomplish is sitting around waiting for my arm/wrist/elbow to heal.

What did the woman’s march accomplish?

Is there one person in the entire world who woke up this morning and said, “Wow, I never knew women could be so powerful powerful”? Everybody already knows that. For example, the fact that Hillary lost the election does not make her power any less impressive.

Is there one person who woke up this morning and said, “Let’s make women equal”? Women are ready equal. In fact they are more than equal. If hundreds of thousands of men — not just men of color, but a vast presence of white men — had participated in a men’s march, there would have been a violent and angry backlash. Women are especially more equal when it comes to unborn babies. If the father wants the baby and the mother wants an abortion, the father is out of luck. Conversely if the mother wants the baby and the father doesn’t, he is stuck paying child support for the next 18 years. (Seems to me that being taught those facts in a sex education class would be a stronger deterrent to unwanted pregnancy than passing out condoms.)

As far as I can see, the only thing this march accomplished was to prove that hundreds of thousands of women were rich enough to make a weekend jaunt to the nation’s capital. Oh, and that women are just as guilty of practicing non-inclusivity as those they accuse of that very “crime.” All women were welcome . . . Except those who did not agree with the agenda of the organizers.

I tend to stay away from controversial matters so I’m not sure why I am talking about this (and yes, I am actually talking using speech recognition software) except that it’s hard to avoid reminders of the march unless I avoid Facebook, and it might come to that. The anger that fills my Facebook feed hurts my soul. I feel flattened by all that emotion, as if once again I were pressed against a chain-link fence, trying not to be trampled underfoot.



(Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.”) Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.

12 Responses to “Trying Not to be Trampled by Other People’s Anger”

  1. Constance Says:

    The “Women’s March” was a disgrace to women.

  2. Jean Says:

    Well said, Pat!💕🙄

  3. Wanda Hughes Says:

    There are demonstrations and demonstrations. Perhaps no one woke up and said, “Wow, women are powerful.” Perhaps the march on Selma didn’t make people of color any more accepted by bigots everywhere. But what it did do is replace the despair many people felt with, perhaps, hope. As far as exclusivity, I don’t believe anyone was excluded in any way except in the same way I am excluded from wearing Prada because I don’t choose to spend my money on expensive clothing. We all make choices. It did me a lot of good to see so many people joining together to say something positive rather than all the negativity that has been spouted during this last 2 year period.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      You didn’t know they excluded pro-lifers? One of the original sponsors was a pro-life feminist group that the organizers publicly uninvited.

      • mickeyhoffman Says:

        Perhaps it was because the pro choice are not trying to pass laws to force women to have abortions but the pro life are trying to pass laws to force women not to have them. The congress has defunded planned parenthood who saved my life once when I had cancer. They are all pro life. Except life for women like me who needed the help from planned parenthood and didn’t have the money.

      • Wanda Hughes Says:

        They might not have invited someone to speak but I doubt that they were not welcome to come participate. This is a hot-button issue of course. The reasonable course of action would be to allow each person the freedom to decide what to do with their own body. Religious beliefs aside. No one had the right to tell me I must bear a child or to tell me that I can not bear a child. That is the crux of this issue for most women.

    • paulakaye Says:

      I agree that no one was excluded. That is what the vast majority of the Republicans want people to believe. Just because they didn’t want the famous “pro-lifer” to speak doesn’t mean she wasn’t invited. It’s just that the pro-lifers are not needing to be worried about any laws being passed that might hurt them. She didn’t have anything to add to the conversation. And so what is wrong with that. I am Pro Choice! And I believe in Planned Parenthood. I think it is your right, Pat, to not participate and it is even your right to not agree with their agenda. I was uplifted by the millions (yes, that’s right, millions) of people all across the world who quietly protested on behalf of women everywhere. I would have been there with them if I could have been. I saw it as a protest of solidarity. And a protest against a man who has become our President who has questionable morals. He is my President too! And I hope he took into view all those women outside his window.

  4. frederick anderson Says:

    This article says a lot of things that need to be said. Unless you are an Islamist women have rights in your society that are equal to your own; in some societies far more than equal. If, at end of day, we concede that politics are really of little or no importance to ordinary people leading ordinary lives, then only matters of legal compulsion actually count; and women have the advantage here in spades. I regard the abortion issue that you raise as a matter of negotiation and individual right, not one to be subject to jurisprudence. Furthermore, there should be no automatic ‘right’ to maintenance for the child – I’ve seen too many male lives ruined, and potential wasted, by entrapment from meal ticket mothers whose business is to exact eighteen years of tribute from a gullible male and one hour’s indiscretion. There are many such cases, but, of course, no flat unconditional rules apply.
    From recent media perspective, I could quite reasonably deduce that American female society is aggressively feminist and that relationships in the States are a minefield; one more reason to stay away, which I do. I often think that, were I a young man in 2017 I would avoid all kinds of relationship with the opposite sex. These are dangerous waters seething with trolls and conspirators, and I believe it is time for men to mount a more virulent defence. I am tired of scoring fifty ‘evil’ points just because I have a penis.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      I truly do not understand the aggression and virulence of the feminists. To a certain extent, they are trying to make biology a matter of law, which it cannot be. The laws for equality are already in place, and any infractions are not a matter of government but a matter of jurisprudence. But what I really don’t understand, is that most women are married or coupled, and therefore I would think they would have a vested interest in men’s rights. But maybe they are more interested in their marriage that in politics. Most women I know are not aggressive politically at all, and they don’t’s see the point of continuing to wage a war that has already been won. I too wonder how young men are going to handle the situation. Even in my own generation, I’ve seen men discriminated against, and saying anything in their support garners hatred. Not a happy situation.

      • frederick anderson Says:

        I wonder if a whole new dimension is being developed now that media has become so powerful. The hotbeds of activism fostered in our universities get so much more exposure now. There is certainly a ‘protesting class’ of people who, you could say, simply have too much time on their hands?

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