Saturday, January 21, 2017

Is Marching Still Effective?

Today I have friends all over the country who are marching--including my college roommate who has come all the way from Montana to march on Washington.  There have been moments this week where I've thought that I should get myself on a plane--that this march may be one that I will really regret missing.

I've been to marches before based on that premise.  I went to a march in 1992 with the focus being the preservation of Roe v. Wade.  I felt I was there for a historic time, but it also left me feeling a bit blah.  It was during the waning years of Republican rule, although I didn't know that at the time, and I wondered if my 10 years of marching had made any difference at all.

I marched for nuclear disarmament.  I marched for a variety of women's rights.  I went to gay pride rallies--or were they picnics?  I marched against apartheid; I went to prayer vigils that I suspect might have been more effective, although I wouldn't have told you that at the time.  I went to national marches and local marches.  I'd like to say that I marched holes in the soles of my boots, but they were thick-soled boots, so that wouldn't be true.

I grew up in the shadow of the 60's and older Civil Rights Movements.  I believed in the power of marches--although later, I came to realize how important the visuals were.  Those Civil Rights marchers in their Sunday clothes being assaulted with fire hoses and dogs--those folks were more sympathetic than some of the 60's marchers who had such a different visual message (dirty draft dodgers?  entitled students?  drugged out kids?).

Do I still believe in the power of marches?  Yes.  I think today's marches will speak volumes.  Will anyone pay attention?  Will those marches even register in the minds of those in power?  Surely so, if the numbers of marchers across the nation are as high as I expect.

Will it change behavior?  I do not know.

I am marching in spirit. I am also praying.  Which approach will yield results?  What results do I want? 

I pray for safety for us all, both on this day of many marches and in the coming years.

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