Today, I marched in Madison, WI in the Women’s March. Apparently, there were millions around the world doing the same thing. I’ve participated in many demonstrations dating back to the Clinton years. I’d consider pretty much all of them to be actual protests. Today felt different.
Perhaps it’s because this was my first big event like this since becoming a father. I wanted to be mindful of what my children would see if they chance to look back at pictures from this day. I also wanted to respect that this day was supposed to focus on the women in our lives. I felt driven to not stand against any politician in particular, but rather for the women we depend on- the women who create and enrich life. Our mothers, sisters, daughters, and friends. So, making a snotty, militant, PG-13, anti-something poster wasn’t exactly what I was feeling this time around.
I think my wife was feeling the same pull to keep her sign kid-friendly. My boys had been talking with her about the march and wanted to make their own signs. So, Lindsay helped them make signs that said, “Be Kind to People and Be Nice,” and, “Be Kind.” So, she and I ended up making signs about love and respect. Kinda hippyish for me, but sometimes it’s important to be FOR something rather than AGAINST something or someone. (And to reiterate, I’ve spent a lot of time in the streets being AGAINST many somethings and someones.)
So. A lot of people- including myself- wonder what is the point of carrying signs and marching around. To me, it’s become similar to going to a concert or a sporting event. You get together with a bunch of other people who care about the same thing and you make a bunch of noise together. People crack jokes. People dance. People eat and drink together. There’s music, there’s chanting, there’s smiles and tears. Demonstrations, protests, rallies, etc., obviously have a political and social edge to them that isn’t usually part and parcel of sporting events and concerts. Some demonstrations have a clear goal, or several clear goals, while some of them act more as a touchpoint for a community- kind of like church services.
I guess what it came down to today is that I got to spend an energized day with my wife, and we got to spend a day connecting with millions of other people around the planet.
And I finally got to draw Master Yoda on a sign.