Quality American Civics Lesson

“Mama, this is a very pretty march! So many people are wearing pink, and so many signs are pink, and even have kitties on them!”

So observed my five-year-old girlie-girl daughter yesterday, Saturday, January 21st.

There were marches in support of women’s rights (and everyone’s rights) all over the world yesterday, and one of the largest was right here in Boston. The organizers had planned for about 25,000 demonstrators on the Common; they ended up with 175,000. According to the Boston police, there has never been such a huge gathering here.

We’re proudly left-wing liberal, social-justice-oriented Christian folks, and we’re raising our kids as such. Not to mention, I’m a primary care physician with a focus on women’s health, and a working mom to boot. Of course I was going to march, and naturally, I planned on bringing both our kids.

You know you’re in the right community when multiple members from all your domains- family, friends, church, work- share the same passion and resolve. Every place I frequented last week was filled with planning chatter: people organizing their travel to Washington D.C., sending emails and texts arranging meeting points for one of the other marches, figuring out if/ how they would bring their kids. Or, if they were unable to travel, discussing how they could throw their support behind the cause: calling and emailing representatives, signing petitions, making donations. (Hubby had to work Saturday, and so spent some of his downtime pestering the Secretary of Education nominee hearing committee members.)

At home, we’ve been emphasizing the concepts of equality, justice, and human rights. We live free in a wonderful colorful collage of a country, and we want our kids to understand that. It is an amazing and precious thing that we, the people, can gather and demonstrate, speak our minds, disagree, argue, and write about it, make videos, carry signs and yell about it… They need to know how important it is to keep it that way. The kids picked slogans, penciled in big letter outlines, then colored their signs. They were so proud.

Babyboy has been sick, and the turnout was projected to be quite large, so Nana offered to take him for the day. He doesn’t do well in crowds, even at his best. But Babygirl was charged up, announcing to everyone we ran into that we were headed to the Big March.

So I didn’t stress about all the pink pussy-themed signage. After all, Babygirl can’t read that well, yet. Let her think it’s all about her favorite color, and kitty cats. Yes, the crowds were massive, and at points we were so many people so packed tight shoulder-to-shoulder that I was afraid she would get stepped on, and I had to carry her. I shlepped this kid up the endless steps from Park Street to the Common.

Later, when she fell asleep, my aunt and I took turns cradling her 38 pounds in our arms, as we waited, and waited, for the actual walking part of the march. Except the route was completely filled in with marchers, and no one could move. After a couple of hours we made a break for the side streets, Babygirl woke up, and we got ice cream.

It was a beautiful day; this is a beautiful country.

“Love Trumps Hate” and then, backwards: “Yes Love” and “No Trump”. Why backwards? She explained: “If I see myself in a mirror, I’ll be able to read what it says.”

5 thoughts on “Quality American Civics Lesson”

  • I support non violent protests to bring knowledge and light to issues that speak to personal civil rights, tolerance, acceptance and not hate. I however was ashamed to see protests of acceptance turn violent and cause the destruction to other people’s livelihoods by wrecking windows and vehicles. And all the trash – the piles and piles of signs left in the streets and on the sidewalks from multiple protests across the country and world. I hope it was a safe and clean experience for your children.

    • Hi Angel, not sure what you mean as the Women’s March was peaceful. Zero arrests in Boston despite almost 200,000 people. Zero arrests in DC despite over a million marching. Are you getting confused with the activity on Inauguration Day? There was a small (relatively) group of violent protesters that day resulting in 100 arrests. I would agree with you that that type of violent activity is not helpful and I do not support it.

      • I was not confused – I was saying I enjoy a peaceful protest – like the Woman’s March – and not the violent nonsense.

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