A few weeks ago, I attended the Women’s March in DC. I was in a throng of women, men and children, peacefully walking, chanting, singing and taking selfies. It was a surreal day. I’ve never been an activist. I’ve never marched. I don’t have political bumper stickers adorning my car. I’m just a single, soccer mom.
A soccer mom who got out of a bad situation. A soccer mom who finally had the strength and courage to say, “No more.”
I’ve seen political commentary batted back and forth. I’ve seen and heard many say, “What good did that do?” or “Nothing will ever come of that.” I’ve listened. I’ve pondered. I’ve wondered about the outcomes. I’ve thought about my reasons for going and what I want to see as a result. I’ve thought about the pussycat hats and the variety of signage, language, cultures, races, religions and so many other things proudly on display that overcast day in DC and around the globe. And I’ve thought about it all.
Most would say that I’m very vocal. True. Most would say I’m passionate. True. I wonder how many would realize that I’ve thought about all of this for weeks, trying to wrap my arms around the gravity of it, the hopefulness of it, the peaceful and cooperative nature of it, the crassness of some of the posters AND the solidarity the pink hats showed. A dichotomy in some ways. Unity in others.
Thoughts have bubbled up, stewed and then seeped into my pores, my very being. And yet, I still sat thinking. Wondering when I would be able to crystallize to others why I marched.
And then my delight — my sweet, funny, amazing bundle of energy snuggled up close last night and told me something that I found incredibly troubling. Something that broke my heart because it broke hers. And in that moment, I knew I had to write this.
I marched for her. I marched for every woman and child who feels the razor sharp edge of abusive words. I marched so that we NEVER normalize abusive behaviors. I marched because if I don’t stand up and say “NO MORE!” Who will? I marched for those who can’t get out. I marched for those who don’t have a voice. I marched for those who are too scared, beaten down and alone to do so. I marched for my babies.
I am filled with a pulsing desire to grab her close to my bosom and shield her from the inequities of the world. I would gladly take the brunt of the words to protect her gentle heart. I would do everything in my power to protect her, and yet, there are things I can’t protect her from.
We have a world leader who is not a leader, but a playground bully. We have a man who flings abuses from every possible venue and verbally assaults anyone who disagrees or questions him. What kind of example are we setting for our children? When someone behaves in this manner and we condone this behavior, we tell our daughters it’s OK to be demeaned, ridiculed and told to sit quietly as others take control. We tell our sons that it’s not only OK, but applauded to treat others in an abusive manner. We tell our children that you can and should belittle others and use them to gain prominence because they don’t matter.
How can we sit by idly and accept this blatant abuse? I am reminded of the poem by Martin Niemöller, a pastor and activist in the 1930’s, who was imprisoned in Nazi concentration camps for his overt opposition to Hitler.
“First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out –
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out –
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out –
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”
|If not me, then who? If not now, then when? I marched to give a voice to those who cannot speak themselves.|