Do the Marches Mean Anything?

I had dinner on Saturday night with my adult kids and granddaughter, Else. We talked a bit about the global protest marches — I was part of the one here in Seattle. Matt raised the question of whether the outpouring of marchers will make any real difference.

It will if younger people realize that to a certain extent, they have taken for granted the gains made since the 1960’s, and realize that you can’t have the benefits of an open, tolerant society without engaging in political action to preserve them.

4 thoughts on “Do the Marches Mean Anything?

  1. I was in Boston with Suz, marching behind Elizabeth Warren. I felt incredibly moved by the outpouring of people of all ages, from infants in carriers to elderly in wheelchairs, coming together for a variety of reasons, but all to be citizens and to be counted. And I know we each carried with us the memories and spirits of those who came before, women (and men) who contributed so much to our lives, and those who will follow. Will it make a difference? If only 1% of the people there are moved to become involved at whatever level, to become more engaged and therefore more informed, to speak and listen with genuine respect and good will, and to feel pride in living where such actions are possible and indeed, proud to protect those rights by participating, then these marches will make a difference, and the progress of the last 50 years and more, will not be reversed or taken for granted.
    I couldn’t help but compare Saturday’s march with ones from almost 50 years ago, when we were a comparatively small group on the Common, listening to speeches aimed at ending the Viet Nam war, where our brothers and sisters and friends were fighting. The police surrounded us, and Kent State was not far in the future, and there was the small element of people looking to cause trouble. This was unimaginably bigger, more diverse, more celebratory than confrontational, and the celebration was for the fact that we were all there and we were so many. Law enforcement officers were there on foot and bicycles, doing a great job helping to manage and protect crowds that were so much bigger than anyone had prepared for. Yes, we’re in for a turbulent presidency, I fear, but we are standing up en masse, and hopefully, we will empower those who have more power than I, to stand up as well.

  2. I’m an “old marcher” from the 60’s and 70’s too, and I look at everything that got accomplished for civil rights, women’s rights and health care, etc. One of the signs I saw Saturday was “Why are we still having to deal with issues our mothers solved 50 years ago?” One heartening thing from the weekend was how many young women were participating in their first march, and excited by it. At our rally in Wilmington, NC, we were given specific suggestions on what we could do, and I know that happened elsewhere. As Jeannie says, if even a small percentage of women do something, it can have an impact.

  3. for Jeannie: Glad you and Suze marched, and I gather from Debby and Ian that Naomi marched too. I can’t help feel that we are back to the 1960’s, and who would have thought.

  4. for Phyllis: I was heartened too by the young women. I overheard several saying to each other “We really took all of our rights for granted, didn’t we?” Yup.

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