Marching Day

Instead of marching I pruned the lemon tree: life literally handed me lemons.

I watched the marches unfold around the world without attending one myself. There was no reason that prevented me from going and on more than one occasion I asked myself: “will I regret not Being There?” and on each occasion answered myself : “probably yes.” 

It seems to me that today’s events will leave a mark on history with the indelible ink of significance. Someday, children will ask: “where were you when the women marched?” in the way we might ask other generations “where were you when man walked on the moon?” or “where were you when the war ended?” I wasn’t there. I watched, but was not a part of that great number. 

When I ask myself why I didn’t go, I have no good answer: I just didn’t. It wouldn’t have been impossibly difficult: I could have taken the bus. I had no other engagements. I had no ideological grievances with the marchers: in fact I support them without reservation, as I believe that the right to assemble and demonstrate must be exercised freely. I just didn’t go. 

I ask myself: “What are you waiting for, Burr?” (I may or may not have been listening to a lot of Hamilton lately) “If you stand for nothing, what will you fall for?” Yet still I struggle to find direction and motivation. I think, perhaps, I spend too much time in thought and not enough time in action. I’m spending a lot of time in thought these days, particularly in self reflection, as I wonder how much farther things will have to go before I too am moved to action. Will we see a war? Will we go hungry? Will we lose electricity and running water? Will women lose their rights? Will Americans lose their voices and identities? How many of us will die? Or will the tide turn back quickly? Will our fellow American adversaries reunite with us as a single voice again? And what then? Will anything have changed? Will we go back to sleep? Will we go back to complacency and apathy and inequality and passive injustice? Is this really preferable? 

I don’t want to go back. The America that existed before echoes in our collective memory like a dream that fades after waking. We mustn’t go back to sleep. We mustn’t be fooled into thinking that one historical day of marches will be enough to affect the change which we have needed for so long. I may feel regret for not marching today, but the struggle is still ahead of us and there will be other chances to take a stand. And once I know what it is that I stand for, then I too will be there. 

~ by Gwydhar Gebien on January 21, 2017.

One Response to “Marching Day”

  1. I’m glad I was there (Portland) but I will say the march here, while fun, was a whole lotta standing in one place for hours waiting for 100,000 folks to move 🙂 Check out the YouTube videos from the DC march – great stuff from Gloria, America, Alicia, Madonna and more 🙂

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