After the referendum vote on 23 June here to decide to leave the EU, my interest in protesting grew immensely. I had, of course been raised on The Mom’s many stories of protesting the Vietnam War in Berkeley in the Good Old Days, and felt in some ways that were I to go to one of the many protests in support of remaining in the EU I would, somehow, be carrying on a grand family tradition.
I even remembered what The Mom had always told us: don’t forget to take goggles and a dish towel to cover your face when the tear gas comes out. I feel rather more prepared for any of this than most of the things in my life.
When I announced, rather proudly, that I was thinking of attending a march in London, The Mom however was not best pleased.
“Very dangerous,” she said.
“Indeed,” I relied. “Same as Brexit. Lot of danger happening these days.”
“No. I mean, personal danger. I see they kettle protesters now.”
“It’s fine. I will take reasonable precautions, and no ID. So if they take me to jail, they won’t know who I am!”
I admit, this last bit, I was perhaps slightly too pleased with myself.
“Oh, jail. Oh, ID,” The Mom said. I saw her brain start to whir in that way in does when I am about to be told I am not to do something. “Not good. You have a visa. You’re on tenuous immigration ground as it is. You don’t want to get rounded up standing with the other foreigners. If you get arrested I suspect that’s your visa done.”
“No. I am exercising my right to argue with the government, to shout at them for being a bunch of, as you so often like to say, stupid idiots.”
“No, that’s for the Brits. You can come home and shout at Trudeau et al all you like, but…”
In the event, I didn’t go along. The thrill of it had passed anyhow, and there were so many other things to be angry about.
IT wasn’t until there was a women’s march here in Bristol that The Mom finally gave up on any of this you’re a foreigner please be careful and do not get accidentally deported ideas. My American gal pal here wanted to go and shout at the American government and their grabby hands-y ways and I mentioned to The Mom that I was going to go along and there was nothing she could do to dissuade me.
I needn’t have bothered. The Mom was totally up for it.
“Good for you!” she said.
And when later, after I encouraged my friend here to submit to the Guardian her reasons for marching and to generally have her two cents’ worth as it was, what should happen but I should find our picture – smiling, holding up our placards – on the front page of the Guardian.
And The Mom?
Could not have been prouder.