Rubio’s Radicals: Skinny Soy Lattes with a Side of Tear-Gas

 This was first published on HuffPost last winter. The Women’s March is honestly the first time I truly started to grasp the magnitude of my white privilege and what that means.  I still remember the feeling of seeing white women ask armed police officers to take their pictures and people hugging National Guardsmen. It was wonderful and those guardsmen were awesome but it made me realize what a different world I live in and what different experiences I’ve had with authority because of my whiteness. It also made me realize how much I suck for not giving enough thought to equality until I felt my own rights were being threatened.

Rubio is still wrong that radical left-wingers are the only ones opposed to the Trump agenda.

Senator Marco Rubio thinks that my friend Anna and I are left wing radicals because we oppose the hate-soaked derangement of the Trump administration and we have the gall to call our elected representatives to tell them that. According to a Rubio tweet:

I called Anna when I read that.

Amy: Hi. Our senator thinks we’re left wing radicals because we’re calling him. Are we radicals?

Anna: I drink wine on the weekends and I’ve been to some concerts so…maybe?

Amy: I refuse to buy organic food but I have a Goldendoodle so I’m torn about how radical I am.

Anna: Not buying organic food is pretty radical.

Amy: True. So, are we radicals now because we make phone calls?

Anna: I hate phone calls. I wait until Rubio’s office is closed so I can leave a message.

Amy: Same. I don’t even like to order pizza over the phone.

Anna: We are not very good radicals.

Amy: We’re late for carpool. I’ll call you from soccer practice to discuss our radicalness.

Maybe Anna and I really are extremists though since we went to the Women’s March in Washington, D.C. and marching is pretty hardcore after all. This is how two radical Florida moms, Rubio’s constituents, protested something for the first time ever:

Waiting for the Metro at 6 am

Amy: Hey, don’t forget to take out your contacts if we get teargassed.

Anna: I won’t. We’re supposed to write emergency information on our bodies in Sharpie marker.

Amy: Why?

Anna: In case we die, maybe?

Amy: This is very exciting. I have never died or gotten teargassed before.

Anna: Me either. Let’s find coffee before we get teargassed and die though.

Amy: For sure. I can’t deal with death and teargassing without coffee.

On the way into the city for the march, Anna and I discussed what to do if we got arrested but we weren’t sure why we might get arrested since we weren’t planning to break any laws. In fact, we had left our clear, plastic backpacks at the hotel because we couldn’t tell if they were 2 inches over the stated rules we’d read in the paper…because we are very radical.

We got to the city around 7 am for a breakfast hosted by the congressional Democrats from Florida. We thought we’d waltz in and grab coffee and a bagel and then tag along with Debbie Wasserman Schultz to the march. Instead, we waited with 2,000 other Floridians in pink hats to get into the James Madison building. It was a blast plus we met lots of other radical Florida women, including a bunch from North Florida which is Rubio country.

After about 1 hour in line…

Amy: I’m freezing.

Anna: I have to pee.

Amy and Anna: Nothing is more important than coffee right now.

Florida representatives: Thank you for coming. We are out of coffee.

Amy and Anna: *cry*

Anna: Should we go march now?

Amy: I cannot march without coffee.

Anna: Me either.

Then we noticed that there were literally thousands of (radical) women with the same problem: no coffee. We were all caffeine-deprived zombies, milling aimlessly through the streets, bleating about Starbucks.

Random Men: *chanting* Tell me what democracy looks like!

Thousands of radical women: This is what democracy looks like…but not until we have a skinny soy latte.

After finally getting our hands on some coffee we grabbed our sad little homemade signs and put on rainbow pins that someone handed us. A few people were passing out free stickers with fun sayings. I got one that said ‘Fuck the Patriarchy’ which made me feel super rebellious and more prepared for teargas. Anna is nicer than I am though and chose one that said, ‘We are Who We’ve Been Waiting For’ which sort of made us cry because…aw.

So, all decked out in our Applebee’s waiter flair (we were too shy to wear pink hats), we set off to march by inserting ourselves into a throng of people.

Random Men: *yelling* Tell me what democracy looks like!

Anna and Amy: *whisper* This is what democracy looks like?

Amy: I don’t think we’re very good at this.

Anna: Should we hold up our signs?

Amy: My sign is kind of embarrassing.

Anna: We’ll wait until the official march to hold up our signs.

Amy: That’s a good idea. Wait. Isn’t this the march?

Anna: I think we’re just walking around with 500,000 people right now.

Amy: I have to pee.

Anna: Same. We should go find bathrooms before we officially march.

This was pretty much how our day went. We’d smush ourselves into a sea of humanity for a bit and then go look for a bathroom. Everyone we met was kind and warm and there were lots of children which made us sad that ours weren’t with us but we were afraid they’d get teargassed. I’ll admit to being mildly disappointed at the lack of teargassing because that would have given me a great story to shock the moms with at the next PTA meeting. Instead of teargassing people, the National Guard took pictures for people and the policemen wore pink hats and posed for selfies with the radicals.

I think what Rubio and the rest of Congress are not understanding is that this isn’t a particularly radical movement; it’s a defense of the center, of democratic norms, and of liberal democracy. Most of all though, it’s a defense of basic human rights and human dignity. Rubio needs to turn off Fox News for a second and stop treating us like a lunatic fringe because we’re not; we are his deeply concerned constituents who hate the dangerous turn our country has taken.

We’re not going to shut up and we’re not going to stop calling him. We aren’t radical leftists who protest stuff because it’s a fun hobby. We’re busy moms with jobs and soccer practice and believe us when we say we don’t enjoy calling all the time, but we also don’t enjoy being afraid of our own government. You know what we found out we’re not afraid of though? Tear gas. So, hand us some coffee and bring on the radical life, I guess.


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