Once a week, sometimes more often, we gather on the sidewalk in front of U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy’s office in Metairie with homemade signs protesting the decisions his party and his president are making in Washington, D.C. We are what many have called “paid protesters, sore losers, hippies and nut cases.” Mainly, we are middle-aged, a few younger, a few, like me, old. Some of us are retired and have time in a weekday to come out; others come on their lunch hour. It is pretty hot these days, so mainly we wear crop pants, capri pants, flip-flops or sneakers. Personally, I like those elastic-waisted cotton granny crops. If we belong to a resistance group like Indivisible, we will wear our group’s T-shirts but, as it gets hotter, white is more comfortable. Hats are a necessity and umbrellas help whether we are standing in a downpour or the direct sun.

Some days, there can be as few as 10 or 12 of us, but on other days, 50 or so.

But we always come. The Cassidy staff usually arranges for two of their people to come into the lobby, and in groups of two, with our signs stowed away and a security guard at hand, we are invited to troop into the lobby, give them our names and a brief message for the senator. They dutifully write them down, are polite, give us nothing in return, but it is as close as we can get to actually addressing our concerns to the person elected to represent us. U.S. Sen. John Kennedy has no office in the area, so Cassidy gets the brunt of it. Of course, most of us also call his office, sometimes daily, and even email. A staff member listens, promises to give our message to the senator, or we get a canned email response back thanking us for our interest and ignoring our concerns.

For several months the focus has been on health care, but clearly, both senators were not convinced by anything we did, said, or believed. They voted for every Mitch McConnell and Donald Trump health care bill they could.

So why do we do it? Because motorists honk support as they drive by. Oh, we get some blasts and jeers, but far more honks and waves. We are there, we will not go away, we protest for the millions who can’t, who are afraid to, don’t have the time, or might not realize others are prepared to stand out in the rain and sun to say, “We love our country. What is happening in Washington is wrong, dangerous and against everything we believe in. We will not sit down and be quiet and accept these wrongs.”

I am an overweight old lady with white hair blowing every which way, wearing golf cap, looking a bit silly waving my homemade sign. And I feel this is probably the most important thing I have ever done.

Dixie McIlwraith

retired sales director

New Orleans