Aspen Princess: Thank you for marching, Aspen

Alison Berkley Margo
Aspen Princess

While my friends were busy marching (or skiing) on Aspen Mountain to protest the lunatic who has taken office, I was at Pine Creek Cookhouse drinking bloody marys and eating momos, celebrating the babe’s birthday.

When one of my closest friends told me she couldn’t join us on Saturday for my only child’s party because she wanted to attend the march, I was kind of annoyed.

“It’s part of my commitment to focus more on my civic duties,” she said. “Plus, I have to pick my kids up at ski school at 2:30.”

“The ski school excuse I’ll buy,” I said, agreeing that Ashcroft isn’t easy to get to. “But the march? Seriously?”

When she told me the plan was to meet at the art museum to make signs, then take a run on Aspen Mountain and then gather in gondola plaza, I rolled my eyes.

“This is exactly why we lost the election,” I said. “Because us liberals, and I count myself among them, have lost touch with what’s going on in the rest of the world. Between our almond milk lattes and yoga and our kale salads, we have no idea what people who struggle are going through.”

But I can admit when I was wrong. I was wrong about this one.

Listen, I had a few friends who went to Denver and, better yet, brought their daughters with them, and I was all for it. I can’t even imagine how difficult it must be for mothers of girls to reassure their children that they are safe and they deserve respect when this guy who was elected behaves the way he does and it didn’t stop him. Like a big bully, he got away with it.

But when I heard about having a sign-making party at our quaint $65 million art museum and going skiing and dancing in a flash mob at the base of the gondola, I thought it sounded more like another excuse to socialize and party than an actual protest. I mean, how much more in the bubble can you get than that? I feel like a protest should require some degree of courage and sacrifice — and maybe even a little suffering. Like ride a bus to Washington, D.C., or be willing to get arrested, or if you’re going to call it a march, maybe actually walk more than a few blocks. And for god’s sake — skiing?

Of course, there was a part of me that understood this was important and something I should at least consider. After all, apathy is partly how we got into this situation in the first place. When in my entire sheltered, little life had I actually stood up for something I believed in? When have I ever needed to?

But when I brought up the possibility of going to Denver to march, Ryan immediately objected.

Not because he didn’t believe in the cause or would ever want to keep me from doing something I believed in, but I think it’s because he is protective of me and our son. He wants me here, with him and our baby — especially the day after his birthday. It was already hard, all this unrest at a time we feel so joyful.

I also was skeptical that the protest in Denver would be peaceful. I’ve always been anxious in a crowd, maybe because I’m particularly short and somewhat small and prone to panic attacks, especially in claustrophobic places. So the idea of putting myself in a massive crowd during such a volatile time made me nervous.

And there is another part of me that wonders if any of this will do any good. I have always been someone who would prefer to take the high road, to avoid confrontation, to squeeze my eyes shut tight and plug my ears and sing out loud until the scary part is over. While I wouldn’t call myself an optimist exactly, I’ve always sort of bumbled through life blissfully unaware of all the chaos going on around me and somehow always come through it unscathed in the end. It’s kind of a defense mechanism, but it’s worked for me so far.

But if I don’t do anything, if I just ignore it and hope it will go away, or worse, hope it won’t affect me directly, then I am part of the problem. This guy is scary. For the first time in my life, I don’t feel safe.

What took place Jan. 21 was monumental. I had no idea it would be so far reaching, with women gathering in cities and towns all over the world. I had no idea the marches would be so large, in the hundreds of thousands.

Those protests were important. And I think the fact that people who couldn’t go to Washington, D.C., or even Denver decided to protest in their own communities were genius. In an era of social media, it doesn’t matter where in the world you are — we’re all connected. And for as much as I hate technology sometimes, it can also be harnessed to give a voice to all of us at all times, to let us publish our opinions at will. For better or for worse, it’s a powerful tool. I also love the idea of coming together with your own community to stand up for something you believe in. There’s something comforting in that.

I just wanted to thank all the women who marched Jan. 21 and to thank the Aspen community for doing what it does best — coming together and never being afraid to fight for what you believe in. Especially this time of year, when we go from Gay Ski Week straight into the X Games, we are reminded that Aspen is one hell of a wonderful, beautiful and open-minded place — even if it is a bit of a bubble.

The Princess hopes you won’t get mad at her for being honest. Email your love to


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