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The Rally to Restore Sanity, Part Two

The sound system at the Rally to Restore Sanity kept cutting in and out, so I caught the first half of the keynote, and missed the more meaningful part until I got home and watched it that night on C-Span.  I have to admit that as fun as it was to be there on the Mall, it was sort of like potato chips.  Good while you’re eating them, but afterward, you sort of think about the lack of nutritional value and wonder if it was the best use of your caloric intake.  It was like a giant party on the Mall, and that’s all it was for me as I was walking off the Mall, because I didn’t hear the actual message until I got home.

And frankly, even though Jon Stewart repeated several times prior to the event that this wasn’t a political rally — it was strictly a message of reasonableness, people still brought their political messages with them.  If it wasn’t about legalizing marijuana or lowering taxes, it was about how Sarah Palin is the devil and Obama sucks.  It didn’t matter if people spoke their message sensibly and reasonably.  They missed the whole point.

It wasn’t a political rally, it wasn’t a place to make a statement about your beliefs — it was a place to make a statement that you are willing to be open-minded and listen to other people without trashing them due to their ideas.

I think sometimes we’re pushing so hard to be heard that we feel as if we can’t take a step back.  How many times do we blog not because we have something to say, but because we want to be heard? (For the love, I post almost daily.  Can I really have that much to say?)  And how many times when we’re arguing with someone do we stop formulating our argument, sit and listen to them without interrupting for however many minutes they need and then consider their words before responding?  I sure as hell know I’m guilty of formulating arguments in my head while the other person is talking (sorry, Josh).

I went to the rally because this community is one of my lens.  We fight — in the comment sections and in blog posts.  We’re not one, happy family who lives in a daisy-crown world where I am singing kumbaya while I strum my guitar.  We’re one messy family.  We’re a sobbing, raw-nerves, emotional family.  We are gay and straight, male and female, married or single or widowed or divorced.  We are young and old, male factor or female female or unexplained.  Some are choosing adoption and some would never consider it.  And some are doing IVF and others wish they could.  Some have living children and some are missing their children.

And most of us would never have met one another if not for our situational or biological infertility.  Most of us simply wouldn’t have met if not for loss.  And most of us wouldn’t go beyond politeness if not for infertility or loss.  I mean, look at me?  How many socialist, short, Jewish, vegetarian women do you have in your day-to-day life (Anat, don’t answer that one)?  I’m going to guess that for many of you, the answer is few.  But we both have infertility, and somehow, we throw all of those things out the window to hold tight to one another.  We are each other’s support system and we know each other’s inner-most fears and foibles.  We are sometimes more real with each other than the people we see in the face-to-face world.  I count many of you as good friends.  And we make these connections  because infertility is hard, and it is only easier with another person.

Make that life is hard and it’s only easier with other people.

I went to the rally because of this community.  Because we have nothing in common, and yet, with the few exceptions of flare-ups from time to time, as a whole, we get along.  We support one another.  We take a second to tell someone who has suffered a loss that we’re holding them in our heart.  We take a second to cheer someone on when they get a positive peestick. (Fine, so we also sometimes curse them in our heads, but outwardly, we get along.)

And we have the Creme de la Creme each year to prove it.  It’s a tapestry of words; it’s a quilt of experiences.  There are common themes that run through the posts, but each one is unique.  And yes, five years on, I am still stunned as I read the posts and reflect on how diverse our community is, how much we have in common emotionally despite the other characteristics we use to define ourselves.

So that’s what I took from the rally — the fun of being there in the day, and the profound message I got at night.  And synthesizing those two realities to bring you one request:

Please participate.

As of this morning, the Creme de la Creme has 32 participants (not bad for the first 24 hours of the list being open).  Please take a moment to add your voice to the Creme de la Creme.  You have a lot of time; you don’t need to get on this immediately.  But in the next few weeks, read through your archives and make sure your voice is part of the project.  Let’s show the world how a diverse community can come together to create one project.  We can all read one another and hear one another and learn something from one another.  And have our unique experience heard too.


1 aisha { 11.02.10 at 12:20 pm }

“and somehow, we throw all of those things out the window to hold tight to one another. ”

Makes me happy- and sad. Happy that we are able to put aside what makes us different and realize we are truly more same than we previously thought, but sad. . . . sad that it takes something like this to see that.

You’re Jewish. I’m Muslim. There are places on this earth that a polite conversation like ours would be impossible. That mutual respect is just a concept.

It just makes me sad sometimes.

2 Kristen { 11.02.10 at 2:37 pm }

The current political atmosphere is really disheartening. It seems like all but the loudest, most extreme voices on both sides have been silenced and their only goal is destroying the opposition, rather working together for the common good. I hope reasonable people – and I believe they are still the majority – continue to stand up and put a stop to all the nonsense and bring the focus back to solving the issues facing this country.

3 dana { 11.02.10 at 2:42 pm }

I went to the rally and loved like you did. Today, I read the best blog post written about it… by someone who wasn’t even there. I think you’ll like it too. Also, awesome sign photos. http://bit.ly/d4fLf0

4 Autism Mom Rising { 11.02.10 at 3:22 pm }

This is so beautifully stated. I’m kind of any IVF etc community lurker even though I haven’t experienced that, by virtue of being a reader of your blog. In many ways your community reminds me of the Autism community except we have so much dysfunction that we find it hard to even work together on the big issues. On Nov. 1 there was a huge campaign with people from 50 countries shutting their social network site activity for a day and donating to Autism. Shutting down was a metaphor for how some with Autism cannot speak. The no cure people didn’t like that and designed Nov.1 and Autistics Speaks day where they did not shut down and read blogs by Autistic people. So much animosity and I’m sitting there thinking “I like a bit from both campaigns”. I did what any of us ever do in a situation like that…I blogged about it. I’m truly at a loss when it comes to all the divisiveness.

5 a { 11.02.10 at 7:27 pm }

Wait, you’re a socialist? I’m outta here!


I think the idea that you can get people together who are diverse and have different agendas and not have shouting or rioting or even fighting seems like a novelty in this day and age. I hope we, as a nation, can take this idea and employ it in our daily lives.

6 Tally { 11.02.10 at 7:48 pm }

“a tapestry of words; it’s a quilt of experiences.”

A wonderful post. I am not a citizen of the U.S.A, but the ethos of the rally rings true “up here” where our Parliament is a dysfunctional lot of yobs that can’t stop bickering long enough to be civil to one another. By extension I find less tolerance and more sniping in the general community. I can only hope some of the message rubs off on us all.

7 HereWeGoAJen { 11.02.10 at 7:54 pm }

I’ve always thought that anyone who would be willing to be in politics ought to be disqualified for being crazy. So I am all for reasonableness. Because I am reasonable. Most of the time.

8 Kristin { 11.02.10 at 11:05 pm }

I have absolutely no clue what to submit to the Creme de la creme but I am determined to participate.

9 Lori Lavender Luz { 11.02.10 at 11:27 pm }

“And how many times when we’re arguing with someone do we stop formulating our argument, sit and listen to them without interrupting for however many minutes they need and then consider their words before responding?”

For something that’s not really that difficult to do, I am not always good at listening. Really listening.

I love that phrase attributed to St Francis of Assisi and Stephen Covey: “Seek first to understand; then to be understood.” Understanding (which includes abiding, perhaps), is such a gift we can give another. And it feels so good to receive.

Thank you for carrying my name on the community sign. I love being part of this mosaic.

10 Sara { 11.02.10 at 11:45 pm }

Well, about half of my friends are socialist, short, Jewish, vegetarian women, but I see your point, nonetheless. This community has taught me to be a better listener, that’s for sure.

Thanks for being reasonable.

11 Justine { 11.03.10 at 11:24 am }

Strangely enough, I’m a mid-sided flexitarian UU, but I, too, seem to have quite a lot of socialist, short, Jewish, vegetarian friends. 😉

I just wanted to say that I hope you didn’t take my comment on the rally to mean that I wasn’t glad that it happened, or that I wasn’t glad you were there … because I am, on both counts, very glad!! I meant what I said about your ability to provide an umbrella that we can all live under … and giving a home to those of us who often feel like we live in limbo. It’s just that sometimes I feel like change isn’t happening fast enough … and I wish I could do something to speed it along. It’s the same thing that gets me in trouble at work when faculty members are busy deliberating about something, and I say, “why don’t we just DO X?” Which is, of course, not always entirely reasonable. 😉

12 Toni { 11.03.10 at 9:36 pm }

So amazingly said. You have effectively convinced me to participate.

(c) 2006 Melissa S. Ford
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