My mom would have been on the front line of the Women’s March. Dad, a sailor in World War II, would be right there with her. They were Roosevelt Democrats and supporters of Barack Obama from the get go. Living well into the nineties, they are turning over in their graves over the election of 2016!
I wanted to be at the Women’s March for Civil Rights on this first full day of the Trump Administration, but…
Flying south to Washington to walk alongside our friend Ellen just wasn’t in the cards. It turns out there was a good reason why Hannah and I didn’t go to any of the Women’s Marches throughout the country.
To be clear, these are challenging times for many in our country. The first two paragraphs from the mission statement of the Women’s March organizers outlines the genuine fears of many of our sisters and brothers in this country.
The rhetoric of the past election cycle has insulted, demonized, and threatened many of us – immigrants of all statuses, Muslims and those of diverse religious faiths, people who identify as LGBTQIA (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transsexual, Queer, Intersex, Asexual), Native people, Black and Brown people, people with disabilities, survivors of sexual assault – and our communities are hurting and scared. We are confronted with the question of how to move forward in the face of national and international concern and fear.
…The Women’s March on Washington will send a bold message to our new government on their first day in office, and to the world that women’s rights are human rights. We stand together, recognizing that defending the most marginalized among us is defending all of us.
Weeks ago, we learned that our sister-in-law Becky and her daughters, Corrie and Abby, and our nephew Karl, were marching in Portland, Oregon. We stand with them.
The day before the march (Inauguration Day) our daughter Molly asked Hannah to join her and Molly’s friend Nancy for the Women’s March in Boston. I so wanted Hannah to go, but it just wasn’t going to work out. We stand with them.
It turns out there were two Women’s Marches in our neighborhood – one eight miles away in Portsmouth, NH that our friends, Corky and Jeff & also Lisa, walked and a second 45 minutes away in Portland, Maine where our friend Molly marched. But we just couldn’t go, but we stand with them.
Then a few days after the Women’s March in Portland, Maine, I read our friend Molly’s blog. (She was a student of mine in teacher education at the University of New England and is my favorite Maine writer). She wrote eloquently about the experience. Her lead includes these lines that captured my mixed feelings, too.
I debated about participating. I’m an apolitical creature and find the world of politics uncomfortable, if not repellent. I vote and I educate myself about the issues (well, to be honest, not all of them, but most of them), but that’s about it. I don’t like talking politics and I don’t enjoy listening to political coverage. In all honesty, I also just wanted to spend a quiet day at home. Click here to read her entire blog.
But she did go. In response to her blog, I wrote:
Dan Rothermel says:
Proud of you. Maybe it’s time for us bystanders to be more involved. Maybe this election shakes many of us out of our complacency. So, the question is, what is next? What does each of us do as individuals? Collectively?
So, what do I as an individual do to promote civil rights (i.e., the rights of citizens to political and social freedom and equality) for all? And why weren’t Hannah and I participating in the Women’s March?
You see, we had scheduled lunch with our daughter-in-law Laurel’s mom, Sandy and her friend Paulette, who were visiting from Massachusetts. We choose to make our caring, respecting, and loving difference on a small scale.
For us, empathy begins in our own hearts. It starts with us being “peace-full” (i.e., full of peace) in our own lives. Treating all we meet with love, we then have that love spread through them onto others, like ripples in a pond.
Though we would have been on the frontline of the Women’s March, today we spread our love one-to-one with Sandy and Paulette. Love begets love. Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me. We each advance human rights as we can. For us, love is always the answer.
In a world so torn apart by rivalry, anger, and hatred, we have the privileged vocation to be living signs of a love that can bridge all divisions and heal all wounds. – Henri Nouwen