|Lyle Villahermosa, RN and family, US Liaison Officer and HAPI-Michigan Lead Convener|
We arrived at the Lincoln Memorial at around 11am after a good 30 minute walk from our hotel. The weather was gorgeous, the people were upbeat and continued to trickle in for the event. We walked around trying to find a perfect spot to lay down our blanket and picnic basket. There’s this space between trees, a patch of grass, waiting just for us. We had a perfect view, in front was the stage with the view of two jumbotrons with the Lincoln Memorial in the background. Behind us was the Washington monument with it’s towering phallic obelisk. After settling down, we were ready to start our day, to get empowered and enlightened by the awesome speakers in line.
I was super excited about the day. The girls were pretty enthused and my wife was very much ready to ‘people watch’ a lot of interesting people. We wanted to see believers and non-believers alike. We saw the flying spaghetti monster ( Ramen ), a lady wearing a colander, a gaytheist, an ehtheist ( canadian eh’ ) and other atheist of every color, sexuality and from all walks of life. It felt good to belong and i was telling myself with a smile that ” it’s nice to be around people who think and believe like me… These are the people I felt most comfortable with.” It was then time to get some good reads. I usually have some perfect one liners in public bathrooms, but this time t-shirts would do.
“Hail Sagan, We are all Africans, believing in one less god than you, in the beginning Man created god, good without god, imagine there’s no religion, awesome without Allah, I’m too old for fairy tales, he’s not coming back so get over it, in Science we trust”.. to supporting reason, science and secular values and many more inspiring read. Aside from shirts there’s individual posters, banners and personal tattoos ( our favorite was the female reproductive symbol ) me and my girls got one and carried it like a badge of honor in support of feminism.
Then we settled for a bit and listen to the speakers one after the other. Some are uplifting and some are just plain boring. I admire the amazing James Randi but I didn’t understand a word he said. Maybe it was not his fault, there’s this religious zealots in our vicinity spewing some none sense that is just plain destructing. I was ready to call the spaghetti monster and vanish the shits out of them. Thanks to YouTube cause i promised myself to stream some of the talks that i wasn’t able to pay attention to.
The main theme basically of the talks focused on the creation of a secular America, the total separation of Church and State, awareness to climate change to LGBTQ equality and reproductive rights. David Silverman president of American Atheist, author of Fighting God message of embracing Atheism. He said when we use euphemism ( agnostic, free thinkers, secular humanist… ) instead of calling ourselves Atheists, it make us sound like a jumbled noise in the outside world, it divides us and hurt our cause. Followed by Lawrence Krauss theoretical physicist, cosmologist author of A Universe from Nothing. His speech respectfully to Martin Luther King who delivered the same theme on the same site about a dream. “I have a dream that someday children are encouraged to reach their full potential by providing them with the tools they need to learn and encouraging them to question everything”.
The afternoon went by few more speakers talked. The girls were excited to see Bill Nye so we went in front of the stage, pictures and selfies were taken of our beloved Science guy. We listen to his message about how real climate change is and a hope for America of embracing 100% renewable energy in the future. As the day wind down there’s a speaker that had a message that really resonated with me. She is U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, her message of freedom of religion. She said everybody wants peace but that lasting peace can only be found in a pluralistic secular government. “what lacking in the world is aloha”. Aloha which is not only hello and goodbye but a word that really means you have a deep respect and love for others regardless of the color of our skin, where we come from or the spiritual path that we may follow. That we respect and love each other as brothers and sisters. That is the essence of aloha!
At 5:00pm the girls are getting antsy and the wife is telling me that we still have a 30 minutes walk back to the hotel. I hate to miss Julia Sweeney cause i really been looking forward to her talk. I am a big fun, her Letting go of God video is instrumental for my change and mimics my own transition to Atheism. Oh! we love her/him as Pat on SNL. From Fab Four to the Wu tang Clan performances, I guess thanks again to Youtube i really won’t miss much. I don’t wanna overwhelm the girls of my agenda so we ended the day with a walk back to the white house…i mean the hotel.
Looking forward for Reason Rally 3