Why Participating in Protests Matters

I don’t like politics. I like to understand people.

I have my beliefs, of course, but I also know that I don’t know every person’s experience. I only know my own. But here is the thing–the one who tries to be everything to everybody becomes nobody. The person that has no enemies, who offends no one, stands for nothing. I wrestle with that–kindness versus confrontation. Understanding versus taking a stand.

Let me be honest, I didn’t really want to go to the march for women’s rights. Because I’m lazy. Because I worried about parking. Because I wasn’t convinced that it would change anything, really. But my friend convinced me to go, to do something that backs my beliefs. So I did, and I was glad it did. I was glad, in the end, to stand up and be counted.

Does it matter in the short term? Probably not. But in the long term, this is how you win the game. Brick after brick, short term sacrifices for long term gains. I didn’t go to the protest because I thought we would overthrow the president, I went to show that I believe in equality for all humans. It’s sad that the word “feminist” has such negative connotations, I don’t believe in the superiority of any gender. I just believe in humans. We are capable of grace and horror, but we have a choice. I want us to do great things, I want us to choose grace. I want us to get beyond naming and shaming. I want us to fulfill our potential.

We are this weird animal, we are sentient yet we understand the divine. Kahlil Gabran, the Sufi poet, once said,

“Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.”

That is us, my friend. That is humanity. Forgive the new-age postulating, but we are earth’s longing for life. Or from a different perspective, we are God’s longing for life. We will have ups and downs as our animal, lizard-brain nature conflicts with the desire to be be above all that.

I was proud to be a part of something higher today. To assert my right to dissent, to put my time into something I believe in, to be a small piece of something greater. I don’t assume to be great on my own, but at least I can work towards it. And that is why I marched today.

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