I stayed home when millions protested the invasion of Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. Stayed home for “No Blood for Oil” too (though I did have the T-shirt, at left). Avoided the streets of my Paris sabbatical home on May Day 2002, when half a million marched to the chants of “Là-Bas Le Pen.”
Pretty much avoided all public demonstrations since childhood, never having really seen the point of taking to the streets instead of concrete action – that is, instead of litigating/teaching/reasoning/writing/policymaking toward lasting solutions.
So why march today?
► Because the promise of the election of Barack Obama – hands down, the best President of my lifetime – so soon was dashed by never-believed yet oft-repeated undercuttings of his citizenship. The spurious claims and the events that ensued sunk the hope that had lifted many of us in 2007 and 2008. Fell particularly hard on those of us who are immigrants, or who count immigrants among our loved ones.
► Because in the last years we’ve been forced to swallow bile: cruel falsehoods about the 1st woman to be nominated by a major U.S. political party; harsh slaps against everyone who has endured sexual assault; soulless insults about every disadvantaged group imaginable.
► Because Looking-Glass intrigue belongs to the fantasy world of Lewis Carroll, not to the real world in which we all must live.
► Because aspirations to human dignity, equality, liberty, and justice, without borders, will not withstand anti-“globalist” attack unless those of us who hold these values dear come to their defense.
► Because if we fail to object, we fail our children.
To quote other ‘Grrls:
“It seems like a day when numbers matter.”
“I couldn’t not go.”