The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. — Edmund Burke
The Internet is full of amazing personal stories this morning. Marchers will gather today in Washington D.C. and in other cities across the United States and even across the globe. Their reasons for marching are as varied as the faces you’ll see in the crowds. Some are marching for specific policy positions, some because they’re fearful of what’s coming and some simply to lend a voice to a movement.
I will be marching because I can’t live with myself if I don’t. I grew up in a small town in Alabama. My father was a child living in Birmingham during the 60s. The ghosts of segregation, abject racism, and the cultural and economic legacy of slavery were major themes in my community. On school field trips, we’d visit prominent sites from the Civil Rights movement or see the conditions that sharecroppers faced. Every year in history classes, we’d talk about the Birmingham church bombing and the Freedom Riders.
I remember being sickened by the idea that one human being would curse and spit (much less physically assault) another human being for wanting to vote or sit at a lunch counter. So when I hear that there were threats called into Jewish Centers in 17 states in a single day or that the frequency of hate crimes has been inching up, I don’t really have a choice on where I stand.
If I’m wrong and Donald Trump leads us into an age of freedom and equality, I’ll gladly eat my hat and admit I was wrong. But if what’s in the wind portends our immediate future, I can’t accept being on the wrong side in this. I will lend what support I can to equality, fairness and justice.
As a white, cis-gendered male, I’m not going to be the one who defines what today’s march is about. Many more people are marching for many more personal reasons than I have. But I’m marching to help make sure they are heard. Better people than I will leading our march. I’ll be somewhere in the middle, lending one more body to the crowd.
I began with an Edmund Burke quote, and I’ll send with another. It’s been rattling around my head now for a few days. In the London Imperial War Museum, there is a deeply moving Holocaust exhibit. As you leave, the final words you see are both a summation of what we should learn from the horrors of our history and challenge for all of us going forward.
“When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle.” -Edmund Burke