Hi, my name is Jamie and I have been trolled. It started November 9, 2016, the very day Donald J. Trump and his tiny Twitter fingers were elected the 45th President of the United States of America, when a Facebook group I had joined in unity with Hillary Clinton changed its name to “I Support Trump”. Then, on January 21, 2017, the very day millions of people across the world came together to peacefully protest Trump’s ascent and everything he represents, I was trolled again.
The morning of January 21, 2017, I pulled on my Rosie the Riveter socks and I marched in solidarity with 175,000 women and allies in Boston, MA. We were a sea of signs and pink hats, lifting each other up, emanating hope, and organizing for change. I proudly shared each step of my journey from bedtime reading to poster making to marching on Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat, using hashtags and geotags to connect with a global support network.
Social media can feel like a close confidant, encouraging you to share your thoughts and opinions, making you feel comfortable and secure. You are liked and loved by friends, acquaintances, and strangers. Then one day you wake up and realize you are sinking into a slowly rising swamp surrounded by trolls who have escaped from under uninviting bridges to hide behind thoughts of building walls and revoking reproductive health care rights.
The Rosie the Riveter sock and ode to Beyonce’s lemonade-soaked feminism photo did me in. I shared the post on Facebook, garnering many positive reactions and this comment: “Are you fighting for equality of outcome or opportunity?”. I read it over a few times, and in my head, I thought: Jamie, not worth responding. You know this person and you know that he says things like this to rile you up. I let it go.
Less than 24 hours later he writes again: “Jamie, are you supporting equality or the redistribution of money from workers to pay for your reproductive parts?”. He did not just say that, did he? Is he really that narrow-minded? Is he actually dating a WOMAN I consider a friend and can say something so snidely disrespectful about a gender someone he loves identifies with while at the same time pitting this same gender against the working class? I politely responded: “How about you don’t try to start shit on my photo celebrating womanhood and a day of lifting marginalized groups up.” Boom.
He was not done. He told me that I could not possibly be for both and that I must choose. Guess what, I am for everything you are not and so much more. Better yet, so are my loving male friends and mom (hi, mom) who stepped in and showed up. Who said that “health care isn’t limited to where men’s needs begin and end”, who stated that equality is a no-brainer, and thoughtfully pointed out that if this person was so firmly against the government redistributing revenue in a way that benefited some or many, but not all, then he could pay back everything he has likely already taken from the system in the way of public libraries, transit, the post office, etc.
Our government certainly does not work for all, but it works for many thanks to the thoughtful leadership of the Obamas and many others. Eight years of progress are on the line, threatening to be unraveled. Now is not the time to sit idly by. This is why I march.
I dedicate this post to men and women who rise up, show up, and do not hide behind their computer screens and tiny Twitter fingers. May the resistance be with you. God Bless America.