Like many other people, I've been to a few protests recently. A Maryland Rally to Save Healthcare. The Women's March on Washington. An impromptu No DAPL rally near the White House one night last week after work. And yesterday, a No Muslim Ban/No Wall rally that turned into a march. It feels good to be doing something in the face of all the frightening changes that've so quickly taken place in this country. But I keep wondering if it's enough.
There were two other events I considered going to yesterday, instead of or in addition to the No Ban/No Wall rally-- One was a rally earlier in the day to protest Betsy DeVos' nomination for Education Secretary, the other a protest of the Muslim Ban at BWI airport in the evening. If I'd gotten myself out of the house early enough, I could've easily gone to the DeVos rally near the Capitol and then headed to the White House for the No Ban/No Wall protest. And I could've probably made it up to the airport near Baltimore afterward for that one. But I chose one of the three. Was it enough?
I keep thinking of a post I saw at the Facebook page for the Betsy DeVos protest. Someone had said that they couldn't go because they had to take their kids to a soccer game, but they'd be there in spirit. This is what I worry about-- The Tea Party faction brought us to this point because of the passionate intensity of their beliefs. Yet we, the "liberal" opposition, pick and choose between protests, or support from afar because we have soccer games to go to. I can easily imagine Tea Party moms skipping their kids' soccer games in a heartbeat and dragging those kids to anti-abortion protests instead. Do we believe passionately enough to do the same?
And the causes we're protesting represent real people who've been, or soon could be, making sacrifices and even suffering because of these issues. Do we feel strongly enough for them to suffer ourselves?
I don't say this to shame anyone who's skipped a protest because of work or whatever. I'm struggling with it myself. This is all so new, it's been confusing and a bit overwhelming to figure out how best to respond, how to take action and feel that it'll be effective. I keep telling myself I'm taking baby steps. But I do wonder at what point we're all going to have to begin making real sacrifices, giving up those soccer games or taking time off from work, putting in the hours and becoming tired and worn out, in order to protect what we feel is right.
Images from the Women's March on Washingon here.
And the No Ban/No Wall rally-march here.