Solidarity and Hope In Numbers

Solidarity and Hope In Numbers

The Twin Cities Women’s March was led by a Native American color guard. Behind them were 90,000+ people who came to support women’s issues and oppose the newly inaugurated Pretender President.

On Saturday I attended the Women’s March in the Twin Cities. It was the most amazing thing that I’ve seen in decades. The only other time that compared to this was Richard Nixon’s 1973 inauguration. But that is another story.

The weather was overcast, damp and cold. The kind of winter weather that Minnesotans call balmy.

Word of the demonstration supporting the Women’s March in D.C. had been spreading for sometime. By Saturday over 20,000 people had pledged online to march to the Minnesota State Capital in St. Paul. It would be a good turnout if the weather didn’t dissuade demonstrators from coming.

For the last week, I had been doing an informal survey of who was planning to go to the local march.  I was surprised at the number of folks who said they planned on going. I was similarly surprised by an equal number of people who knew nothing of the event in St. Paul. Needless to say, I passed on information and encouraged them to join.

I went to the march with my good friend Kathy. We used the light-rail to get to St. Paul. There was an ever-growing crowd at the train station and the feeling was upbeat. We got onto an almost full car and headed off. By the time we got to the downtown station to transfer to the St. Paul bound train, the entire train was jammed until no one could get on. At the transfer we met with a continuously expanding torrent of people. The ride to St. Paul was even more crowded. The excitement and friendliness of everyone kept claustrophobia at bay.   It was just the beginning to an inspiring day.

Gobsmacked!

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Green Line station on University Avenue swamped with marchers.

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Marchers coming from bus and light-rail stops pass by state capital on their way to join main group of demonstrators near the St. Paul Cathedral. In an hour they would march back, 90,000+ strong.

As more and more people appeared I began to suspect that the estimated number of 20,000 marchers was correct. However, the torrent of people coming from the bus and train stops didn’t let up. They just kept coming and coming. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.  During the speeches the number of marchers was updated to 45,000 and then again to 60,000. Each announcement was greeted with a tidal wave of cheers. The sound of the crowd cheering sent a shiver through me. This was the sound of democracy. This was the sound of the American people standing up against the Pretender President and his cronies.

Lessons Each Generation Must Learn

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Kathy holding a Planned Parenthood sign that she carried 12 years ago in the 2004 women’s march in DC.

The crowd was a mix of all ages, races and creeds, each well represented. It was a rich tapestry of humanity. For the first time in years I felt part of something bigger. My optimism has returned.  I have hope.

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Looking back from the Capitol towards the Cathedral, a quarter of a mile away.

Every generation must learn the same lessons that their parents and grandparents have had to learn. Since the Vietnam War and Watergate, we Americans have become complacent. We assumed that democracy was a force of nature that would always prevail. We forgot our history. Now we are paying the price with a Pretender President who is intent on undoing 70 years of bipartisan policies and commonly held values.

Democracy is not a spectator’s sport. It only works when each of us takes responsibility for our part in governing. Democracy requires an educated constituency that understands how our government works, each citizen’s responsibilities, and the lessons of human history.

Democracy only works when we are engaged for the long-term. Now, more than any other time in our history, we face an existential threat that took years to evolve and will take years to correct. We have hard work to do.

Let’s rejoice at this opportunity the Pretender has provided us and get to work. In the coming days and months more and more people will come to realize the danger the Pretender and his supporters pose to the U.S. and the world. Opposition will continue to grow and with it a renaissance of ideas, idealism and altruism.

Rejoice for the challenges we face. The future is open for us to write.

 

 

 

 

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