Part of my aversion to "in the streets protesting" is that I don't like crowds. It is not just the discomfort of crowds. I don't quite trust a crowd mentality, on the left any more than on the right. I prefer nuanced well-thought-out and articulated ideas and those come from a different channel. In today’s environment, I am rethinking my resistance to crowds and protest.
After the election when we both were deeply distressed, my husband did a lot of preaching to the choir. That's me. Fortunately, we share the same views and the same distress. I kept saying, "We should all be out in the streets!" This choir was ready to sing, albeit a tad off key. My crowd aversion was quickly forgotten. When things are so wrong, my instinct is to take to the streets to declare it.
|You know it's bad when Ole and Lena protest|
|You know it's bad when Sven and Ole protest|
Responsibility. That is a lot of what it boils down to. Lately my husband and I have talked a lot about personal responsibility. We are fortunate to have flexible time and the financial ability to support causes that matter to us, to grab a flight to join a protest in DC or elsewhere. That underscores our responsibility and eliminates many of the excuses we are often prone to for not engaging.
This feels like a pivotal point and I have been trying to find the best ways to respond. When the news broke barring immigrants from seven Muslim countries, I wrote to my senators and congressman. My congressman, a conservative Republican, gets a steady stream of notes from me. He needs the most prodding. I gave money to the National Immigration Law Center, I signed a petition and posted information, all pretty small steps.
I was greatly heartened however by the protests at the airports. There is something about showing up that feels important. It is how we say "This is not normal nor right". Our biggest threat is if we allow these government actions to become the new normal, if we post on Facebook and then move on with our everyday lives. Protesting requires our bodies to follow through and there is something about that physical action that kicks the rest of us into motion. It is the difference between a spectator sport and actually playing.
|You know it's bad when Susan and Marty protest|
The United States has not always inspired pride.There have been times when it was mired in isolationism and bigotry, much as is threatened today. I hope we can help our country be one of which we can be proud, but I know it takes critical mass and I can't make it happen by myself. So tonight, I did something about it.
My husband and I went to a political protest this evening. We first stopped at our studio to make a sign, then joined at least 5000 people in downtown Minneapolis. When we first arrived, I spotted an artist friend. She told us that she had gone to the Women's March in St Paul, her first protest. Her friend commented that this evening was her first protest. That is what I find remarkable. People who would normally never protest are stirred to action, so disturbed that they are taking to the streets. Tonight, I chanted loudly, half dancing down the streets of downtown, feeling the energy of the crowd and grateful for our shared passion.