This is What Democracy Looks Like

Like many, I was devastated by the election. Not because my party didn’t win, but because it seemed to be referendum for hate. I worried about the safety and security of my African-American family and friends. I worried about people losing their healthcare. I imagined mothers and fathers being ripped away from their children and sent back to their country of origin. I shuddered at the thought of visitors not being allowed to enter the country because of their religion. It was all too much to bear.

When a friend asked if I wanted to go with her to march on Washington, I said yes even though it meant stepping out of my comfort zone. The issue felt too weighty to ignore. Something had to be done.

But as the march got closer, the more trepidation I felt.

What if things turned ugly? Visions of riot gear, tear gas and arrest plagued my mind. And when I wasn’t thinking about that, I worried about being shoot by a counter-protester. I hoped against all hope that something would happen to change the election results so that I wouldn’t have to go.

By the January 19th, I climbed in the car with three other women and headed to Washington.

Watching the inauguration protest and violence at an Arlington pub did little to quail my fears.

But Saturday morning changed everything. The hotel lobby was filled with men and women in pink caps and protest signs. And as we left the hotel, we were joined by more protesters. People lined up ten deep to purchase Metra cards for the various ticket machines. The platforms were jammed with people waiting to board chock-full trains. Though my friends and I, like thousands of others, ended up walking the four miles to the rally, we remained excited and determined.

Long lines of protester walked from Arlington toward the Capitol. Drivers honked and cheered as they drove by.  Once we reached the Washington Monument there were pink hats and protest signs as far as the eye could see. It made me wonder how we ended up with Donald Trump as president when there so many people who opposed him.

Perhaps it happened when people like me believed casting our vote was enough. But I knew better than that.  I didn’t take any chances when Barack Obama ran for president. I gave money. I made phone calls. I knocked on doors. But I did none of that during this past election. I cast my vote and hoped for the best.

Hoping for the best doesn’t work. Neither does waiting to see what happens. I’m guessing that’s why the organizers of the Women’s March felt it was time to act.

And thank God they did.

Standing on the mall during the Women’s March was amazing. You could feel a spirit of love flow through the crowd as a million women stood together in solidarity. The speakers reminded us that it’s our job to fight for the democracy we all hold dear.

Women are a force to be reckoned with. We have the power to make a difference.

That was amazingly clear as a sea of pink hats worn by women, men, old, young, straight, gay, queer, transgender, black, white, Latino, Asian, Muslim, Christian, moved down the mall toward the White House, chanting: “This is what democracy looks likes.”

What a beautiful sight!

We raised our voices. Now we must keep the momentum going by vigilantly working together as a community to be the change we want to see in our country.

We have to be willing to step out of our comfort zone. It may be scary, but it’s the only way we are going to make a difference.

Write your local congressman and hold them accountable. Attend your local governmental meetings. Check the accuracy of your news sources. Read. Volunteer. Donate. Run for office or support a woman who is.

The most important thing is that we stay engaged.

 

 

 

 

 

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