It's been awhile since I blogged and figured now is a great time to get at it again. :-) Here we are with a new president, a new day dawning, and lots to complain about or lots to be happy about - depending upon your perspective.
Inauguration day was conflicting for me: I refuse to lose friends over politics. I also refuse to allow things that I personally think are wrong to be swept under the rug. We all have opinions, that is for sure. One thing I can promise you, having been on this earth for quite awhile now, gloating and being gleefully ugly because your side won OR wringing your hands and crying out with the vapors because your side lost, won't accomplish anything.
With the assistance of my loving family, Matt, Brandon, and Bridget, we decided to spend inauguration day supporting causes that were important to us. You may not be able to change the world, but you can change your little part of it. How you do that is totally up to you. We may not agree on what changes needs to be made; we may not agree on how changes need to be made. That's okay - I'm going to love you anyway! But, if you are unhappy with the way things are, do your best to do your part to effect the changes you want to see! Arguing, fighting, name-calling... all useless. Go for the positive changes where you can! Go for action not empty words. Anyone can write rhetoric. Show "the other side" what you are doing, why, and how you want to make this world a better place.
SO, inauguration day started at the Dollar Tree (of course it did, you're thinking - ah, you know me so well)! My grandson Brandon and I shopped for items to put in hygiene packs for the homeless. Matt, Brandon, and I put the hygiene packs together (please do note my spiffy labels!) and had such a good time together. We often take the simple things for granted - when I reach for toothpaste, it is generally there unless I forgot to get it at the store. Lady needs? Yep, got those, too. Toothbrush? Check. But for so many people living on the streets, these things are luxuries. As we put the kits together, we enjoyed doing it, but it also reminded us of how lucky we are. I am grateful for the time spent with family doing this and ever so grateful for my almost-middle-class life. Then, the lovely Bridget and I delivered the packets to one of our local homeless shelters, Joy Junction. There are other wonderful shelters here in New Mexico and we hope, over the coming months, to get to all of them!
Bridget's and my next stop was sort of Planned Parenthood and sort of Domino's Pizza! What do Planned Parenthood and Domino's have in common you ask? Well, nothing, I suppose. We knew we wanted to do something for Planned Parenthood, we just weren't sure what that might be. By the way, no matter what your beliefs are about abortion - about 90% of what Planned Parenthood does has nothing at all to do with abortions. Taking away funding from them is taking away reproductive health care for women who have no other options. (By the way, Federal funding for abortions at Planned Parenthood hasn't been a "thing" since the 1970's, so not sure why every one is up in the air about that - look stuff up, people, before you go flying off the handle. None of those precious "tax dollars" everyone keeps ballyhooing about goes to abortions.)
Anyway, considering the current climate where Planned Parenthood is concerned and the fact that there would be patients in there, we decided to pull into the Domino's down the street from the PP office and call them. Now, that was was interesting conversation: "Hello, Planned Parenthood, how may I help you?" "Hi, my name is Samantha Corfield, we would like to do something nice for your office today, you know, it being inauguration day and all...." "Really, is this a joke?" "No, not at all. My friend and I are down the street at Domino's and would like to send pizza to your office, would that be okay?" "Um (little giggle) I think so, let me talk to my manager. Are you sure this isn't a joke?" "Not a joke, I promise." Manager comes on phone: "Hi, how may I help you." I repeat the same thing about pizza and tell her that we didn't want to just roll up on them, all things considered, and patient confidentiality. She says, "I have been working for Planned Parenthood for 10 years and no one has ever done anything like this. It's so nice of you. But you don't have to, we appreciate just the gesture." Me, "How many people in your office and what kind of pizza do you like?" "Pepperoni and green chile." We chatted for a couple of more minutes and then Bridget and I went in to the Domino's and ordered pizza to be delivered. In speaking with these ladies on the phone, feeling their excitement over someone sending them pizza, it made me both sad and glad and made me wonder what kind of fear and abuse they go through working there. All I know is Bridget and I loved doing it!
The next stop we were planning was the Gay Pride office here in Albuquerque. But along the way, we came across this homeless man and just had to give him a Starbucks gift card. Let me just say, a Starbucks gift card must not be the usual thing handed out of a car window. Rarely have I seen anyone that excited. "Is this real? Is it for Starbucks? Starbucks??" Bridget is quite tickled with that reaction and hands him another one as we drive off. That was one excited man! Let me just say, none of this was a ton of money. You can bring a lot of joy into peoples' lives just by showing them you care; the smallest gift can make a huge impact on someone's day, week, or even life. I see you. That is what people want to know. That is what they want to hear. I see you.
Next stop was the Albuquerque Gay Pride office. We had planned to go in and ask them if we could buy them dinner or cupcakes or Starbucks(!), something... but no one was manning the office that day. Darn it. But we decided to be stealthy and Bridget whipped out more Starbucks gift cards and we wrote notes on them and put the cards through the mail chute. We just wanted to let them know that we are here, we support them, and we will be here to help them keep their rights should anyone try to take them away.
Next month we will do more! We will be visiting the ACLU office, the NAACP office, a shelter for at risk LGBTQ homeless teens, a women's shelter for victims of domestic violence, and more! We will continue to do things, even if they are small things, for the causes that are important to us. We aren't sharing this with you to get a pat on the back. What we are hoping is that you, too, will see that you can get out there and be the change. If you don't have money to do things, almost all places that are helping others need volunteers. If you can't volunteer in person, ask if you can make phone calls for them from home. Call and ask what you can do. Almost everyone can do something.
If you feel that the causes important to you are at risk, do what you can in your little part of the world. I solemnly swear to you that this is what will make a difference. Have no illusions: Certain ways of life are under attack. If it is important to you, get out there in the trenches. Fighting and schooling people on Facebook isn't going to do a damned thing; you aren't going to change their minds. They can't see you. Go out into the world and be the change.
I would also like to say a little side note here about politics, politicians, and making an impact. I worked with politicians for many years. A lot of change starts locally.... within your City Council. Don't forget to get to know your district's councilperson, representative, etc. They are your neighbors! They have a vested interest in your corner of the world. I'll give you an insider hint: Don't start out telling them what you don't want; tell them what you DO want. They get hundreds of people telling them what they don't want - it is refreshing for them to have someone come in or write to them and tell them what they want from a positive point of view. Do your homework. Have an idea how to make what you want happen! They are often the first rung on a very tall ladder, but they are also the foundation of politics. Don't overlook them as a way to let your needs be known. They are also very good at making introductions up the ladder, too. Give it a try!
In closing, I would like to say thank you to all who have been passionate about this election, and were able to do so in a caring, intelligent, and thoughtful manner. You are rare. You are good.
Love and peace to all,
Mambo Samantha Corfield