Today we joined in a historic march in New York City, one that aligned us with hundreds and thousands of fellow humans marching in cities around the world, in the name of all sorts of political, social, and religious issues, towards a shared life that is good for all. Which side of this or that specific subject you placed yourself was more or less irrelevant, and noone was asking or challenging us to take sides: except that the current political powers-that-be - at many levels of society - were basically in for trouble with every poster, banner and rallying cry of the people. Mr President, the man whom we have seen to have incited, embodied, and flaunted so much institutional and personal falsity, bigotry, tribalism, deception, self-seeking ( … the list could go on), is not a popular man.
This from Wikipedia from the first Women’s March, last year:
The Women’s March was a worldwide protest on January 21st, 2017, to advocate legislation and policies regarding human rights and other issues, including women’s rights, immigration reform, healthcare reform, reproductive rights, the natural environment, LGBTQ rights, racial equality, freedom of religion, and workers’ rights. Most of the rallies were aimed at Donald Trump, immediately following his inauguration as President of the United States, largely due to statements that he had made and positions that he had taken which were regarded by many as anti-women or otherwise offensive. It was the largest single-day protest in U.S. history.
Apart from the ‘80s phenomenon of the Jesus March, I confess I have never participated in a march before, and I am glad I have now stepped over that line. It was all entirely peaceful, entirely friendly. The NYPD (police force) were out in great numbers surrounding the cordoned-off streets, and I appreciated seeing cops on bicycles for the first time! We ourselves were not representing a particular issue but walking shoulder to shoulder with those who did. There were very clever and funny posters, many referring in some way to the gross misconduct of the one man; but in fact none of these issues is new, as we all know, and even when the one leader will be replaced by another there will not be an sudden resolution to most of the things we were demonstrating about. Trump is the visible boil that evokes our disgust and loathing, but the pathological pathway behind such severe infection is long and deep; what we see and revolt against is not the manifestation of a moment.
But what we want in a leader is that she or he represents hope, offers vision, mobilises us, all together, in a particular direction. And we all long for the direction our society faces to be true and good, don’t we?
What I feel increasingly is that it might be vital to have a stance on something that I feel strongly enough about to be involved in, in the greater call for justice and the loud protest at injustice. Issues that concern the larger society must not be sidestepped by those of us who have other preoccupations with quality of life, even important ones like faith in God. The proof of the pudding is not in the recipe book, nor in the first tasting by the connoiseurs, food critics or elite consumers, but where everyone gets to be fed. In the eating; in the sharing.
The good life is surely supposed to be about what we all share in common, and not a mysterious future reserved for the few. Jesus certainly lived and taught about it that way, calling it the kingdom of heaven.
I am no political mover and shaker, no clever sociological commentator; this piece is a momentary reflection on today’s impressive event. Any comments?