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Apt. 11D
Laura McKenna's Publications and Posts

Parenting on a Picket Line or a Protest March, Apt. 11D, June 12, 2020

Growing up, my brother, sister, and I didn't own any black magic markers. Why? Because my dad used them all for protest signs. That was back in the very early 1970s, before Dad got swept up with other super-Catholics into Ronald Reagan's orbit.

In the 1960's, he was a super leftie with mutton chop sideburns, who joined civil rights and anti-war protests in DC. Even after he started a family, he kept up his activism, but his causes evolved into local environmental protests; at one point, he lay down in front a backhoe to stop a corrupt development project. 

My parents brought us along to their protests. My brother would be up on Dad's shoulders, and my sister and I followed our parents and their friends around in their lines with signs. At one point, my dad started his own third party. At aged six or seven, I stood outside supermarkets with a clipboard trying to get all the necessary signatures. I knocked on doors on one of the street, while he took the other.

So, it seemed fitting that I should take my children to their first protest last week. We went into New York City and marched down Sixth Avenue with folks protesting the unjust death of George Floyd and for the need to examine policing practices in our country. 

We had some personal concerns. Of course, there is a viral pandemic still raging around us. We took precautions and hope for the best. 

Ian was the other concern. We decided to bring along our son with autism, so he wouldn't be left home all day. We weren't sure how he would do in this situation. As a safeguard, I labeled him with a sharpie marker. If things went south, we would have scrammed, of course, but there was a danger that things would go south too quickly to get out fast enough. We purposely chose a daytime event in midtown that was co-organized by healthcare workers, because that isn't the type of event for looters or rioters. We were safe. 

In our democracy, people can participate in politics in a variety of ways. Voting is the easiest. A protest takes more effort and has more risk. But there is something glorious, even party-like, about making a public statement. My college-aged kid, Jonah, is completely hooked. He's making plans with a friend to go back to the city this weekend for more. 
One of the joys of parenting is sharing experiences and knowledge to the youngun's. This week, we taught our kids how to be bad-asses. And in the process, it reminded me about my own activism roots. What's going to be my next cause? Disabled kids. 

Someone get me some black magic markers! 

Be well! Laura
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On the blog, we've done lots of chatting about the protests themselves and Trump's response. We talked about the impact on the Trump presidency. More pictures of the protest on the blog, and even more on Instagram. I wrote about policing reforms

Everybody is moving to the ‘burbs. So, while half the country is protesting and making public declarations of being a good person, the other half (or maybe it is the same half, I don’t know) are quietly sneaking out of town. 

Are you afraid of liberal lynchmobs

I’ll pretty much listen to anything that Dave Chappelle has to say. 

Yes, everybody is doing “Yoga with Adrienne,” but we’re doing “Yoga with Ritesh.” 

Even as things open up, our cooking habits haven’t. We’re still cooking dinner six days a week; lunch and breakfast are everyday at home. Tonight it’s going to be chicken stew, tomorrow London Broil on the grill. 

Interesting profile of Melania.

I’m making pasta with kale as a side dish tonight with some leftover pork chops. 

The middle aged women, who get COVID and have a hard time getting back to normal, scare the shit out of me. 

From my favorite blind gossip blog: “There appears to be a coordinated effort on multiple fronts from reporters and bloggers to force out of the closet a “public figure” who supports anti LGBT policies. As in, this is happening in the next day or two.”

JK Rowling got cancelled this week.

OMG. People are seriously talking about Martial Law. Um, please stop. Look, I was very upset about what happened to some of my favorite streets of Manhattan. I foresee long term repercussions; cities will never be the same. I feel really bad for local businesses in the Bronx. But the worst is over. Now, we have to rebuild our country and repay those businesses. 

Here in the New York City Metro area, there is a long standing rivalry between Jersey and Long Island. We’re all Bridge and Tunnel people, but we each like to point to the other as the worst possible place on the planet. (Psst it’s Long Island) So, when Long Island was trending on twitter for the worst possible reasons today, I couldn’t help but be amused. 

Recent purchases on Amazon: hand weights, because I’m actually doing tv workouts even though I feel stupid; an electric kettle, because I have a bad track record of torching stove ones; printer ink, because the home schoolers burn through it. I just got a box from Stitch Fix, because I needed something to make me smile. 

We were planning on going to Venice this summer. I wanted to show it to the kids before it sank into the sea. Sigh. Maybe next summer. Glad the city is having some much deserved peace from tourists. 

On topics related to race, I do think that, as a Karen, I really should defer to the experts. I support the effort, but I think it’s best to let other people do the talking. Quite a few people make missteps

Two good article at The Atlantic — one by Jeffrey Goldberg on James Mattis. The other, which I’m still reading, is by Anne Applebaum on Republican sheep. 

I’m ready to talk about police reform

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Laura McKenna · 861 Bingham Rd · Ridgewood, NJ 07450-2111 · USA

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