Be the Change #42: Why I Marched

250,000 in Chicago.  600,000 in Los Angeles.  A total of more than 4 million world-wide.   Measured on volume, the 2018 Women’s Marches were a great success.  For those of us who participated, it was spirit-lifting to be surrounded by singing, chanting, sign-carrying men and women who care about many of the same things.  Civility.  Decency.  A return to a foreign policy based on careful diplomacy instead of impulsive, inflammatory tweets.   The right of all human beings, regardless of race or religion, to freedom and dignity.  The ideal of “liberty and justice for ALL.”

To be sure, many people marched mostly to protest the direction – and, for some, the very legitimacy – of the Trump presidency.  But, it’s not enough to be against something (or someone).  I think it’s important for the movement ignited by the 2016 election to be clear on what we are FOR.

For me personally the march was about protecting the basics of our democratic republic:  the First Amendment, voting rights, fair districts, and getting dark money out of politics.

Just as it’s not enough to be against something; it’s also not enough to be theoretically for something.  The “kumbaya” moment of the march was uplifting and inspiring, but it should be just a start.  That’s why I donate to the ACLU, and volunteer with the anti-gerrymandering group Fair Districts PA.  That’s why I’ll be involved in voter-registration efforts between now and the midterm elections in November.

Political involvement was not in my plans for my 60s.  My plan was to retire, do some more writing and gardening, travel with my husband, and enjoy my grandchildren.  But the 2016 election and the year that followed broke my heart, and I’m not willing to just sit and be broken.  Al and I want our children and grandchildren to enjoy the same freedoms that we and our parents did.  And that takes action.  Marching is fine and feels good.  It puts our current government on notice that there will be a price to be paid at the polls in November.  But we really make a difference with what we do after the march.

What will you do to help move our blessed and beloved country toward the vision of freedom, justice and dignity for all?

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