Why I March

​This past weekend, on Saturday January 21, I joined with about the sixty thousand women, children, and men in Atlanta who marched from the Center for Civil and Human Rights to Liberty Plaza, across from the Georgia State Capital.

I was there not because I think Trump is an illegitimate president (though there is enough evidence to support the claim).  I was there because I believe that women, the LGBT+ community, racial minorites, and other underrepresented people deserve equal representation and consideration.  Their voices deserve to be heard, their concerns are valid and they shouldn't have to stand alone fighting to be heard.

The problems we face are not simply the policies of old white men (though they are usually the ones in power), but the larger threat  that is conservatism and religious zealotry.  Conservatism seeks to hold us back to bygone eras which are only glamorous in the memories and the entertainment media.  Times when children always behaved their parents, parents slept in separate beds, and quiet towns like Mayberry were the norm.  Times when manufacturing plants killed and dismembered the workers (adult and child alike), mining accidents were shrugged off, and the miners which survived did so with respiratory problems.  Times when a man could be a man, and treat his woman (whose place was in the home, or to be seen and not heard) just like any other piece of property he owned - justifiably because the family Bible told him it was just.  Is this what the target is?  Is this when America was great before?

Perhaps I'm being a bit hyperbolic.  But think about what the "good old days" refer to.  When was it, what happened, what did it look like (in actuality and in the media (news vs. entertainment))?  Is that what we want or do we want to make progress as a society?

I vote for progress, I vote for equality for all. Sure there were issues with both candidates, but only one showed the promise of progress.  So, I march to ensure that my voice, our voices, can be heard.  I march in support of the rights of the disenfranchised, the dismissed, and the oppressed. I march against racism, sexism, and xenophobia.  I march against legislated morality.  I march for logic and reason as the basis of policy.  I march for truth, justice, and the American way for all of its citizens.

Be excellent to each other.

2 thoughts on “Why I March

  1. I was lying awake in bed two nights ago worrying over thoughts of walls and Muslim registrations lists and dead polar bears and wondering, What can I do about it all? when I read your post.

    You bring up a good point about progressive thinking (how do we move forward) and regressive thinking (how to get back to where we were). It is amazing how people romanticize the past in a weird and inaccurate way. But also, the future scares people because it is unknown. We don’t know what is going to happen tomorrow but we know what happened yesterday, which is why so many people choose to stay in a painful situation rather then face the unknown. I’m guilty of this at times.

    You also bring up a good point about ethics vs. morals. Religion becomes an ethical crutch to fall back on. If God tells us what is right and wrong, we are not responsible for the consequences of our actions. It’s like when a sports team wins a tournament and says, “God is why we won.” Does that mean God hates the other team? (Sidenote: I would love to see a team lose and say, “Oh, that? That wasn’t me, it was all God.”) Or, if God says in the Bible that homosexuality (or whatever) is evil then we can hate gay people and be cruel to them and any harm I cause toward them is off my shoulders because God said so. If you are using your god to excuse your behavior, that’s probably just a religious loophole and you might want to take a closer look at your morals.

    It also becomes a matter of taking responsibility for our lives. If we sit back and let something else (i.e. God, fate, chance, etc.) choose our path for us and then things go wrong, hey, not my fault. When we consciously choose our actions we take a risk. If and when things don’t turn out the way we intended we have to accept that responsibility and make another choice. But that’s ok. The way we learn, grow, and move forward—progress—is through choice. The choice to do the right thing, not the easy thing. The choice to take a risk. The choice to march.

    “Be excellent to each other.” This was the answer to my question. In the end, it is that simple. Simple, but not easy.

    Thanks for the great post!

    • Thank you for your comment; you bring up some good points.

      I’ve heard people ask before (not directly to me) “If you don’t believe in God, then what do you have to live for, what gives your life meaning, what is your motivation to be good?” – I find this an odd question. To briefly address the first two parts, I appreciate and admire the beauty that is in the world, the positive interactions I have in my life. My life’s meaning is rooted in the relationships I have with my family – those I choose to keep in my life.

      For the last part, the assumption is that without God, I can’t be a moral person. However, as an athiest, I alone am responsible for my thoughts and actions; I can’t put the blame for anything I do on a religious text. I choose to live my life having a positive impact (or at least neutral) so that everyone can have the opportunity to live theirs the same way (live and let live, as they say). I find it interesting that many of those in power who are against assisting those in need proclaim christian belief …

      40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
      41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
      Matthew 25:40-41

      I still struggle in regards to what I can do. The march is largely symbolic; what can I do to make a direct impact? There are calls and letters to politicians, which I think have some impact; but again, I wonder how much. I don’t believe that most politicians are representatives, so will calling them really sway their decisions?

      Direct donations to organizations I believe in are another option. We’ve got a list of organizations (twelve so far) that we’re interested in supporting. Additionally, we’re trying to think of good places to volunteer.

      I latched onto the phrase “Be excellent to each other” several months ago. While it has its roots in a comedy, I think that it really captures what being a productive member of society should be. Whether a person leans liberal or conservative, at the end of the day we should all ask ourselves “how did I treat the people I encountered?”.

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