March for Our Lives 3/24/2018
Updated: Mar 26, 2018
A beautiful day. Cloudy, drizzle, grey, windy, overcast at the beginning of the event. Clear, sunny, calm by the end. Color add by the stroller contingent and their young siblings. Many grandparents - I'm guessing in their sixties - parents in their 30's and 40's, and children under 10. A few teenagers. Maybe a thousand folks altogether gathered to march in Pacifica CA, although I have not seen any "official" number yet.
A private day. I went by myself in my lavender raincoat, and even in the throng I kept to myself. I was able to practice a new (to me) Chi Gung step as we paraded up and over and down the hill and back again, about 2 1/2 miles. I waved at the honking cars. I smiled at the other marchers.
A day to observe. I noticed there were others who also came alone and kept to themselves - men my age. I wondered if they were remembering who they were 50 years ago. It gave me the opportunity to process my feelings about then and now. I was on the younger side of hippiedom in the 1960's and was more involved in the environmental movement than anti-war protests. I helped organize our first Earth Day activities in junior high school. Local and organic, recycle and reuse, and compost have always been part of my life.
An interesting day. My teenage daughter wouldn't go with me. Honestly, I really had not given her enough advance notice. I only realized at 830 in the morning that there was a local march timed to coincide with the Washington, D.C. march against gun violence, hence at 930 west coast time. And a 17-year-old who was planning on sleeping in is usually not very adaptive. She said something that startled me, however, by way of explaining why she didn't want to go. And it also touched on the despair and depression we see in our sensitive young people. "It won't make a difference."
Oh? Where did she learn that?!? Well, never mind where she learned that. Time to show her that it can and will make a difference.
A day for reflection. During the 60's and early 70's many of us participated in anti-war protests or
if we were younger, were at least aware of the turmoil. The protests were often violent: police and National Guard in riot gear battling college students; burning flags and draft cards; bombings at draft boards. (For those who don't remember, here is a link to a list of Vietnam War protests.) As you know, eventually the U.S. retreated from Southeast Asia, leaving so much chaos behind, (78 million unexploded bombs in Laos, for example), and a very broken country here at home. I believe we as a nation have not healed from this time. According to the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans, "On any given night, 200,000 veterans are homeless and 400,000 veterans will experience homelessness during the course of a year...47 per cent served during the Vietnam Era." And from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, "Conservatively, one out of every three homeless men who is sleeping in a doorway, alley or box...has put on a uniform and served this country."
I don't care with which side of the political spectrum a person aligns, this is wrong! Punishing the people who fought the war instead of taking care of them, and not requiring those who sent them to take responsibility, is wrong. And this is true for the current issue surrounding gun control. Arm teachers???!!! Good grief!
A day to rally for democracy. It is time to make democracy work. And I do believe democracy works IF we participate. This is time to wrest control of our lives from the rich and greedy. Time for those of great wealth and consciousness to use their particular platform to speak up. Time for individual Americans to participate. We saw during the Women's Marches last year that there is a huge population of women who are mobilizing for change, many becoming political activists and running for political office. Our young people are mobilizing as well. They are already taking action with this day of marching and powerful speeches. In November, many of them will vote. As one young man said, "Welcome to the revolution."
A day for Presence. During the protest era of the 1960's, we fought violence with violence. We matched the negativity of the "establishment" with equally negative actions. Low vibration equaled low vibration. And it did not change anything. Time passed, people moved on to other things. To succeed this time, we must respond to negativity with objectivity instead of rage, creativity instead of destruction, truth instead of judgment. One of the qualities of a true Warrior is Presence. Know where we stand and what we stand for. Let others see who we are and where we stand. Take responsibility for our lives, with integrity, self-honor, and respect.
A day to ponder...what can I do? I am currently teaching a class called "Finding My Voice." How can I use my voice and how can I empower others to use their voices as well? I clearly have a young audience because of my children and their friends. I can get them to register to vote and I can get them to the polls. Perhaps a "voting party" to practice filling out ballots. One of the challenges of this generation is that they expect everything to happen NOW. If they don't see immediate results, they lose interest or feel they have failed. Teach persistence!
The positive actions taken today are valuable lessons learned 50 years ago. To paraphrase Deepak Chopra, the evolutionary impulse is irresistible. Things have changed during the past 5 decades and 5,000 years. During this time we call "The Shift," we are experiencing a lot of turbulence with the changing of the guard. Old ways and old consciousness are giving way to a new order of inclusiveness, integrity, and kindness even while they go out kicking and screaming.
Patience. Persistence. Presence. And VOTE!