The day the USA Women’s Soccer Team won the World Cup I was deep into staring at a screen writing something or other. I didn’t even know the game was on. My husband texted me from work telling me to turn on the match and watch these champions win the World Cup. I did. I was first struck by the size of the field and the incredible athleticism of these women. I soon learned that there are no substitutions in the game. You play the whole game, if you come out, you do not go back in; and no one wants to come out! Put aside all of the years of hardcore training, these women won more than the World Cup that day, for one, they won my heart. Their enthusiasm, unabashed bravado, spontaneous outbreak of joyous dancing, undying commitment to each other and the game, and ultimately personifying the very meaning of what it is to be an American, filled my soul with hope.
The past months can testify to resentful oppressive legal actions against every American woman, specifically the strategic deterioration of reproductive rights. We have a president who boasts about the privilege of grabbing woman by their genitals and routinely insults the physical attributes of courageous sexual assault survivors. Today, June 12, 2019 the Secretary of Labor, Alex Acost, resigned in light of his scandalous lack of punishment for the corporate style child trafficking sexual enterprise of Jeffrey Epstein’s. Epstein, a multi-millionaire recruited children to participate in his sexual business. He is a hardcore pimp who made sexual encounters with young children his business. While decency is crumbling, these women give us our breath back. We come up again, breathing and ready to fight, because this group of champions taught us about collective power and they understand that this public platform they earned must be used for all of us.
Our new all American color becomes simply a violet haze, a hair color made famous by co-captain Meghan Rapinoe. The perfect combination of our dictated patriotic colors of red, white, and blue. Meghan has transformed more than her hair color, and mine, since as I write I am waiting for my purple hair dye to set. She and her teammates embody our American ideals of hard work, free speech and active citizenry.
Not everyone sees it like this. Peter Roff of Newsweek claims that Rapinoe’s “antics” are going to turn people off to Women’s soccer. He criticizes her political actions, assures us that her hair color, sexual preference and f bombs are not what is most disturbing, “It's not even her repeated dissing of President Donald Trump that has my hackles standing on end. No, what bothers me most is the way she has consistently shown little respect for the nation she opted to represent as a member of the U.S. team” (Newsweek July 12, 2019). But Mr. Roff has it all wrong. Rapinoe and her teammates have increased the popularity of Women’s soccer. ‘This year’s women’s World Cup final also got better ratings in the US than last year’s men’s World Cup championship game — 10 percent of American households with TVs watched the game, compared with 8.3 percent that watched the men’s equivalent, according to Nielsen. The game was the best-rated US soccer telecast since the women’s team previously won the World Cup in 2015, according to CNBC’(Vox July 10, 2019). Rapinoe and her teammates are working for comprehensive change, not just equal pay, but the same systemic support the men’s league affords. Wrong again, old man Roff. And as far as Mr. Roff’s claims to Rapinoe’s lack of team support he couldn’t be farther from the truth. No broken team wins a world cup, and many of Rapinoe’s teammates stand by her publicly. Ali Krieger spoke on CNN repeating her tweet in support of their team’s decision not to visit the White House, “I refuse to respect a man who warrants no respect”. Solidarity sisters!
It is not easy to stand up for our constitution these days. Our own Statue of Liberty a relic seen through the eyes of hungry children, separated from their families, sleeping in cages along our border prisons. These children and families, seeking asylum, are the very people Lady Liberty invites in an excerpt from Emma Lazarus’ sonnet emblazoned on the statue’s pedestal:
"Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
There is nothing more American than dissent. There is no more urgent time then the present. Maybe you don’t have to dye your hair purple or practice Rapinoe’s signature stance with arms outstretched, heart wide open, like I do, but we all have to do more. Rapinoe simply asks us all, “to do a little better...to love more and hate less”.
There are many organizations looking for your help. Find something that resonates with you and do a little more.
now.org: National Organization of Woman
aclu.org: American Civil Liberties Union
Votesaveamerica.org: Voters rights