Today, against threats of severe thunderstorms and seriously torrential rain in the early afternoon, tens of thousands of women, men, children, families, friends descended upon downtown Atlanta to march. And millions more showed up in New York, DC, nearly every major city in the US in addition to Paris and several other global cities. But why? What did we do it for? I think there are many reasons.
This was called a “Women’s March” but it was truly a march for humanity. It was a women’s march because it was initiated by women (imagine that). We’re known change agents all throughout history. However, what it became was a march that said we disapprove. We disapprove of our new president’s rhetoric, behavior, pandering and utter lack of respect for anyone seemingly not like him. We’re also concerned about the direction of this country – especially at the hands of someone who feels his greatest weapon is less than 140 characters.
I’m not a “herdist” as I like to think of it. I don’t have a herd mentality – and I mean that in every way possible. I rather dislike being stuck like a sardine in a can, hugged up against other people and just a needle in a haystack with zero voice whatsoever other than to be drowned out by or to join in with the chants of the crowd. I much prefer to be the one organizing the event, behind the scenes, on program or overseeing it some way with special access to drift in and out of the crowd as needed. TMI. However, despite that feeling and despite the weather, I decided to come out anyway to the march in ATL. I’m glad I did.
Why were they there? People were there because they were upset about Trump, yes. But more people, I believe and know (just hearing the chatter all around me everywhere I walked), were there because they wanted to stand UP for equality. For women. For LGBTQ people. For disabled. For the disadvantaged. For humanity. For all the people that Trump “trumpled” over during his election and seems to continue to do even now. People came to send the new president a message.
So did these very peaceful protests achieve anything? Absolutely. I think it sent a very loud and clear message after President Trump’s Day One that said “hey – you need to be everybody’s President, not just the President for those who elected you” (and we won’t go there about the Russian meddling in our election – that’s another post for another day that I likely shall not write). And that message also says, above all, that we will not tolerate hate. Disrespect. Degradation. Belittling. Bullying. Childlike Petulance. And any act that embarrasses this country before the world even more than this entire election already has. Sure there were many out there saying “he’s not my President.” I’m over that. Russian meddling or not, at the moment and until something changes, he’s been sworn in. So what we’ve got to do is deal with it and focus on the things we can effect.
On a lighter note, another interesting observation today was this: protests are all about your poster game. I have got to step my sign game up! Because the crowds were so ginormous and you could hardly hear the speakers from so far away, about the most entertaining thing you can do (aside from taking photos and chat with other people around you about what’s going on) is to peruse the signage you can see. There are some highly creative people in ATL! It put my 2-second scribbled together sign I did in the parking lot to shame. Crafty, snarky, some downright lewd but still pithy – everyone marveled at the candor and fantastical display of signage. Painted. Painstakingly glittered. Artful. Bold. Detailed. 3D. Sculptured. Several were pure brilliant works of art! I have to say, it’s inspired me and motivated me to step my game up the next time I go to one of these!
Recently I posted on my personal Facebook page a commentary on inauguration day about focusing on the things we can control. I’ll include that here as a final thought to hopefully give you courage and hope going forward. It is an affirmation to me and I hope it becomes one for you:
Focus on the things you can control. You can control yourself. You can be present in every moment. You can control the time you take to plan to make a difference in your own way. You can control your compassion. You can control your attitude. You can control your thoughts – which is the beginning of all action. Focus on the difference you can make in your own corner of the world. #inauguration