It was nearly four years ago, four years of chaos, of hate, of Donald Trump’s messed up behavior. I’ve been thinking a lot about the march lately. I wrote about it before I had a blog. I created this blog as part of my fight against hate, lies, and the presidency of the orange one. My first posting was about the march. And I needed this blog as a space to keep and publish my thoughts. I used to write about politics, had a weekly column when I was in college. After nearly thirty-five years I came back, writing again. If you’d like to know more then read the piece at the link above for an outline my reasoning. One part of that original posting is still true: “Because I’m mad as hell and I needed to do something. Sitting at home is not an option, not good enough. I marched because I believe we can be better.”
So what about the march? First, I refer to it as the “Great Boston Stand”. Why? Because we couldn’t march. There were too many of us. There wasn’t enough room to even move. I went because, well, it would look bad if no one showed up. I needed to show up. And I was surprised. First, arriving at the subway station I noticed lots of people, men, women, families, walking to the train. The line to buy a ticket was long, very long. At each station more people got on the train. When I arrived I couldn’t call a friend, couldn’t text to say where I was. The cell network pretty much had collapsed, it wasn’t built to handle the volumes of phones in that area. The number of people was overwhelming.
And nearly four years out we need to ask, what did we accomplish? Did we change anything? The protests after the murder of George Floyd are a perfect example of what usually happens. Lots of people were outraged, showed up for a protest or two, then went home, satisfied at having “done something”. Yet nothing changed. The list of unarmed Black men killed by police keeps growing. So what did the march really do? Did we just show up, feel good, go home, really accomplishing nothing? That time, January 21, 2017 was different. Something changed when we showed up, when the largest demonstration happened in this history of Boston, the largest coordinated protest in our country’s history. Adding in the foreign parts? Yeah, even worldwide. And something changed.
First, and maybe most importantly, every one of us went home knowing we weren’t alone. A lot of us were pissed off and happy to show it. And this lead to the real change, the big one. Why call this the most important? Because the second thing may never have happened had we been left believing we were alone.
At this point there are more women holding elective office at all levels of government than there have ever been in the history of our country. Kamala Harris is on the verge of becoming the first woman elected to national office. All of this would have happened at some point but the march made it happen faster, helping women feel empowered. I could list many, Ayanna Pressley, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, I could go on. Maybe they would have been elected, but without the march it’s possible that they wouldn’t have run at all.
Yeah, I’m still mad as hell. I’m also feeling a lot better than I have in a while.