January 22, 2017

When our children tell our story

There are some who will say that lacing up your tennis shoes and setting out, sign in hand, to gather and celebrate the common values you hold dear does nothing. There are some who will say that it is a waste of time, an exercise in futility, all talk and no action. There are some who will question whether your goals are unified, whether your protest will even be heard.

To those people, I say: your arguments hold no weight with me.

I find myself craving the Hamilton soundtrack more than ever these days. It was an addiction even before the election, but now many of the songs seem to speak exactly to how I feel about where we go from here.

"I'm just like my country, I'm young, scrappy, and hungry and I am not throwing away my shot!"

"When you're living on your knees you rise up / Tell your brother that he's gotta rise up / Tell your sister that she's gotta rise up"

"I may not live to see our glory / But I will gladly join the fight. / And when our children tell our story / They'll tell the story of tonight / ... / Raise a glass to Freedom / Something they can never take away."

In times like these, when it is apparent that the administration will not be on our side, does not have the interests of the country at heart, and cares only about undoing the work of the previous administration - in times like these, I find it a balm for my weary soul to soak in the energy and passion and commitment that carried our founding fathers through a revolution and the birth of a nation.

So when I strode out my front door and down the street to the Women's March on Philadelphia, in solidarity with my sisters and brothers who marched all across the United States - and, in fact, across the world - it was not with the intention that the march itself would cause change. No one expects a large gathering of people to simply create change. Instead, I sought solace, and community, and an invigoration of my spirit. I sought to re-commit myself bearing witness to the travesties that are to come regarding health care (not just women's healthcare, though I fear greatly for the impact of this administration on that in particular), for the willful ignorance of critical issues like climate change facing our nation, for the attempts at rolling back civil liberties, for the attacks on women's bodies and autonomy and equality that are certain to happen. We cannot have a sexual predator in the White House without an implicit statement that women's lives do not matter to this administration. He has said it himself, on multiple occasions: he has no respect for women; he thinks our bodies are his playthings, that we exist for his pleasure alone.

I marched today to say that I do not accept this as status quo. I will not go gently into the good night of this administration. I will fervently oppose any attempts to return to an imaginary America from 50 or 100 years ago. I marched not just for myself, but for my mother, my cousins, my aunts, my friends, my coworkers, my patients. I marched not just for women but for men, too, because inequality and misogyny hurt men and women both. I marched so that when my future children ask what it was like when the 45th president was inaugurated, I can tell them where I stood. I marched to declare that I will not aid or abet the immoral dismantling of health care and human rights in this country. If there is a stand to take - here is the line I have drawn. Cross it and feel the wrath of myself and millions of women who joined across the nation to say that we demand satisfaction.

Make America great again? America's already pretty great. Maybe we should just try not to muck it up any further.