Bring Back the Vagina Hats

I can’t believe I’m saying this but I miss the days when vagina hat protestors were our largest spectacle. 

Remember when the streets were swarmed with angry women – many of them proudly wearing hats custom-designed to look like vaginas – as they joined in the Women’s March? Remember how people were unable to get to work or school because the protestors refused to allow them to pass? Remember how the protestors didn’t care whether the people whose days they disrupted agreed with their views or not, or if they were heading to a job interview, or a doctor appointment, or to help a sick friend, or to visit a dying one? 

vagina hats

Remember how maddening it was to feel like it was impossible to remember that among those thousands of Extremists protesting, there were thousands of other kind, strong, compassionate, women who did allow others to pass and who would never hurl obscenities at all, let alone to someone they’d never met? They weren’t even wearing vaginas on their heads. They settled for plain pink hats instead. 

Ah, those were the good ‘ole days. 

I was foolish enough to believe that displays like that would be a “one and done” event. I thought surely no credible, professional, intelligent human being would take part in such a spectacle again, or would at least call for a sense of decency to replace the embarrassing and even malicious acts that took place that day. I was relieved when it was over and looked forward to the return of common sense and human decency. 

Who would ever have guessed that it was instead the birth of a new era, an era in which Americans are celebrated for desecrating our flag, storming government buildings, defying law, and calling for the execution of a sitting president? 

How could we have known that in just over 2 ½ years this country would be under attack from its own people – that neighbors would turn on neighbors, family and friends would turn on each other, and that basic human decency would be considered optional? 

I get it. I mean, I am no stranger to standing up and protesting policies – or the lack thereof – that I am convinced pose a threat to our military and their families.  I advocate with all I’ve got to help people navigate a system far more powerful than them. And it can make a difference.  So I applaud people who are willing to respectfully, maturely, and intelligently challenge our system and work productively to encourage change as they see fit. 

What I cannot seem to wrap my mind around is the sheer lunacy that has managed to take hold of this country and seems to have no intention of letting go. And unless we all take a step back to survey the scene and come to our senses, our country is heading to disaster.

The more we huff and puff and scream hateful, derogatory, insulting and sometimes just plain stupid rants at each other the tighter we will all shield ourselves with our own rigid beliefs, and the less we will open ourselves up to the notion that maybe, just maybe, there is common ground to be found. If not, if we continue to swallow and regurgitate the doomsday prophecies being sold to us, our climate is only going to darken.

The more we allow patriotism to be deemed offensive, the more the very ground upon which we stand breaks open.

The more we refuse to consider patriotism as a place of refuge from this new version of a civil war raging on our streets, the more fatigued and bitter we will become. 

Fatigue and bitterness are not good foundations from which to operate. 

I have been called a racist more times than I can count, simply for stating I voted against one person or for another. I have been called a racist and even threatened for suggesting extremism in its entirety, regardless of which side practices it – is not the answer, and encouraging others to refrain from assuming everyone who disagrees with them is evil and unworthy of respect.

I could go on and on about the policies and ideologies being practiced in this country.

I cannot believe the behavior being promoted and encouraged, or the extent to which so many people actually advocate for things I believe are morally criminal.  I am appalled that Hillary never set foot in a jail cell and flabbergasted that anyone would consider her a champion. 

The hypocrisy of all the people who are “offended” at one thing but who could not possibly care less about who their own actions offend is jaw-dropping. 

But  I know that none of that means I have the right or should even have the desire to break the law in return – to attack others, to incite violence, or to join a movement that dismantles the very country we all live in. I know, love, and respect people who have the exact opposite beliefs I do.

That there is a right to speak freely or denounce our flag and our country as a whole simply because you recognize critical flaws within this country does not mean you should do so. 

It is time to return to the time when vagina hats were the craziest thing out there. 

My husband died in service to this country. I refuse to see his sacrifice squandered because we as a nation cannot resolve our differences, come to a peaceful compromise on core issues, and respect the rights of others to disagree with us.

Have we all forgotten the good things about this country?

It is packed with amazing people doing extraordinary things with their lives.

I have seen grieving parents work to enact new laws. I’ve seen people rise above childhoods filled with violence and poverty to build successful careers and then turn around to help others do the same. I know people who have literally thrown themselves on grenades to save others, and lived to tell about it. 

I’ve heard stories of people who sacrificed their lives saving others. I know there is a ten-year-old girl who hand knits bags and fills them with donated items to hand out to homeless people.

I know there is a little boy who lost his parents, and now walks the streets of Savannah handing out toys to make others smile.

I know a woman who has dedicated her life to saving horses from abuse and neglect.

I know of people who come together to house our homeless, help our veterans, rescue children, shelter abused women, and incite hope in thousands of different ways.

They are all American stories, and as co-founder of American Snippets, I get to be a part of bringing them to you.

Let’s agree we all have a right to disagree and let’s agree not to interfere with anyone’s ability to get to work by blocking streets, or anyone’s sleep by instilling fear in their hearts.

Let’s remain open to the possibility that maybe the truth lies somewhere in the middle and let’s trust in our ability as Americans, no matter what the threat is, to unite peacefully in order to survive whatever storm strikes.

Let’s go ahead and voice our beliefs in peaceful, rational ways. But most of all, let’s take real steps to promote the rekindling of that fire which makes America so special.

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Barb Allen

Barb Allen

Barb Allen is all about resilience, patriotism, and the American Dream. She’s an author who has turned her own life’s tragedies and traumas into a best- selling book. She’s an expert at finding humor, blessings, and opportunity in both personal and professional adversities and she loves helping people build their own American Dream. Barb's husband, Lt Louis Allen, was killed in Iraq in 2005, along with the Commanding Officer. SSG Alberto Martinez was arrested and tried for their murders. He was acquitted after pleading guilty. This compounded tragedy sent Barb into a 10 year tailspin. Today she is stronger for her experiences and loves leading others through their own adversity. Her keynote talks reach audiences at their cores, and her books both entertain and move her readers. Barb and her fiance founded The Great American Syndicate, a patriotic platform featuring a community, podcasts, workshops, and live events.

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