Saturday, January 21, 2017

I Ain't Marching Anymore

The title is an allusion to the Phil Ochs song by the same name.  Once I marched a lot.  Will I really never march again?

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--and truth be told, I'm glad that it's only in spirit.  I'm nursing a foot injury which leaves me limping this morning.  I have tendons across the top of my foot that get tender very easily, and today, they're screaming at me.

It's my left foot.  I have a left eye that's been goopier than usual (allergies, not infection) since election day.  The whole left side of my body is in worse shape than the right--it's hard not to see that as a metaphor.

Of course, sometimes foot pain and a goopy eye are just foot pain and a goopy eye.  My college roommate is swinging by South Florida before she goes home to Montana.  I need to get the guest room in shape.

I hope she will be safe as she marches.  I pray for safety for us all, both on this day of many marches and in the coming years.


Anonymous said...

I'm with you, sister.
I am surprised in some ways at my post-election response. Has it been retreat? defeat? complacency? apathy? hopelessness?

It has only been this last week that I think I have finally settled into what this call in me is really about.

Silence and stillness. Perhaps a recoil from too much noise and not enough deep listening. I only know I need to find my heart again.

Heatherlynn Meeks said...

It was incredible. I'm bringing you a hat!