On Saturday January 21, 2017, history was made with the Women’s March.
For many people, this was the first time in their lives that they have participated, to raise their voices with others to be heard. There are many points to ponder about this amazing event – one that took on a life of its own, to become the largest protest march worldwide of recorded time. The numbers are breathtaking, and all of the marches were peaceful. The reasons were many – why women, families, all nationalities, all diversities of religion, sexual orientation, and status made the effort. They moved from the couches of the world to the streets, for the idea that it is not normal to go backward in our social ideas, in ways that hurt civil rights and freedoms. The venues in cities were overwhelmingly filled with marchers, and there were major turnouts in rural towns across the United States. This tells me that we have something in common. We as humans have intolerance for bullies. We are Americans, but first, we are people. We love to stand for what is right. And our views were echoed massively by Women’s Marches in hundreds of locations, around the world and on every continent.
The Women’s March made me visualize our connection to each other, with respect to the issues that matter most to us. The Women’s March made the world take notice that we are a voice to be heard – in peaceful resistance, and with love for our own humanity, our differences and likenesses. In the book, The General Theory of Love written by Thomas B. Lewis, MD, he states that “those whom we love change who we are, and who we can become.” We are witnessing how that idea can be translated to elevate us as humans, together, to a society that has dignity, respect, and is inclusive of all people.
The root of healing is knowing we are valued in our communities despite differences, and also knowing that we are more alike than we are different. Acceptance of differences at the most basic levels means we can self-love, and grow as a culture to be healthier in mind, spirit, and body collectively. This article is truly written for all of our brothers and sisters – to transcend together to overcome the hostile environment that hate can create. Overcoming hate will require work and unity, building on togetherness fostered by marches when we resume our daily lives.
The world has changed. We now stand up for that change, such as our fellow citizens that have partners of the same gender, for those trapped in the wrong gender, for those who believe differently than the traditional Judeo-Christian point of view. We stand for people who do not want a patriarchal society telling them who to love, or demanding control of the female body. The more we stand united against hatred, the more our freedoms will be manifest. This is the ideological core of freedom.
We have overcome many of the backward ideologies of the past, including racism, bigotry, misogyny, homophobia, and xenophobia. We have much more work to do as we face new challenges, from inhumane leadership that supports these archaic belief systems. The Marches worldwide helped us to know we are not alone. We are in this together. We are not going to accept hatred as normal. We the people are the light of the world – to transcend from hatred driven by demagogues, to a world that will not tolerate less than love. This act of love for each other is a cultural response to the issues that lie before us, and a crucial element of successfully navigating a hostile leadership in our government.
Normalization of bizarre behaviors lends to a type of acceptance – that somehow the person before you does not mean to be hateful, it is just their “style or mannerism.” This is not acceptable. As with any relationship, we need to have healthy boundaries, defining what is appropriate and ethical in the roles that we are responsible for in life. The value of any society is to have a common ground of justice, and a clear sense of what is expected for ethical behavior. We share a common force, of purpose together – that racism, homophobia, and violence toward women and children are not acceptable, in our country or any country. We enforce these shared beliefs with multiple frameworks, from peer pressure to federal and local laws.
Why would we accept that the most respected position of power in America is routinely degraded by hate speech, and by actions that impose restrictions upon a free society? I beseech all of you, in coming days, to not only continue to march in protest for what we believe, but to continue our resistance in everyday life. As Michelle Obama says, “They take the low road, we take the high road.” We have a duty and obligation to get involved, at the local levels of your communities. We need to put an end to the apathetic attitudes that got us into this conundrum. I would remind everyone that a lack of clear focus, and a lethargic dispiritedness led to a lack of vigilance, and thereby enabled the current state of intolerance by the extreme far right.
We can make phone calls, and be a voice on social media to communicate views and actions that help the cause. Phone calls, email, and social media inform the Senators and Representatives that we are watchful and engaged, and require change from them if they are to be re-elected. The one thing that gets the attention of politicians, that cannot be underestimated, is a vast number of citizens contacting the members of Congress. Bringing issues that matter to the forefront, fighting for truth, saving our planet, and supporting each other is a worthy battle.
We, the people can diligently engage, and we must – to leave a free country for forthcoming generations
Written and submitted @ShaktiOmPrana RN MSN
*picture courtesy of @SenSanders