“There is an old saying that the course of civilization is a race between catastrophe and education. In a democracy such as ours, we must make sure that education wins the race.”President John F. Kennedy
Today I participated in the messy, noisy, and occasionally inconvenient work of democracy. With over 500,000 other people in Washington, DC, we brought the area around the National Mall to a complete standstill. Apparently, due to permitting issues with the National Park Service, the Trump inaguration committee, and other arcane rules (the source of which I do not know!) the Women’s March on Washington was not allowed to congregate on the Mall. Instead, the organizers were allotted a street corner. One stage. The limited PA speakers and Jumbotrons meant that unless you were were within a block of the main stage, you couldn’t hear or see a thing.
And you know what? It was fine. It was more than fine.
Because of the YUUUUGE turnout, the barriers were removed between the streets and the Mall in many places. The estimated number of marchers tripled (at least) what was expected. There was no real “march” for many of us, in part because it would have taken hours for us to clear the parade route.
Yes, the lines for the porta-potties were long. Yes, there were no places to get food or drink (there may have been… but we didn’t see them.) Yes, the cell signal was poor to missing, which one would expect at such a huge gathering of people. And YES there were so many people that we could not march!!
We stood, sang songs, shared food, laughed at witty signs, had thoughtful discussions with strangers, and generally found ourselves caught up in something MUCH bigger than we are.
Tonight my aging bones feel every step and hour of standing in the damp cold air. It does not matter. I feel hope and a sense of purpose.
There are hard conversations ahead. There are many who did not feel included in the March’s planning. There are deep social, political and systemic ills that one March will not change. There are significant roadblocks to progress in the new administration (ponder JFK’s quote…)
Our voices were loud and clear. We will be watching. We will speak out. You have poked the sleeping giant, and She will not be stilled.
Thank you for standing up for justice!