On January 21, 2017, millions of people around the world took part in the Women’s March. Since then there have been protests and demonstrations throughout the US and in other parts of the world. Legislators have been either bombarded with questions they don’t have good answers for or are too cowardly to be confronted with angry constituents at town hall meetings (like mine were). This is certainly the most politically active the American populace has been since the 1960s.
There have been multiple state legislatures that have passed or are trying to pass legislation to discourage protests including allowing vehicle operators to legally hit protestors with their cars. There are those who say that these protests are “unAmerican.”Well, my friends, that’s a load of bullshit! Our country was founded by protestors!
The participants of the Boston Tea Party were political protestors. The Minute Men were political protestors. Those men and women who participated in the Committees of Correspondence were political protestors. Without these, and many other acts of civil disobedience, we wouldn’t have had the American Revolution.
Every great stride forward in civil rights has been facilitated by civil disobedience. Protesting isn’t easy. It is, at best, time-consuming and uncomfortable. At worst, protesters have lost their lives, their liberty, their property, their families, and even their reputations.
The abolitionists participated in civil disobedience. The suffragettes participated in civil disobedience. The Freedom Riders participated in civil disobedience. Rosa Parks refusing to move to the back of the bus was an act of civil disobedience. The hippies who stood against the Vietnam War participated in civil disobedience. The American Indian Movement (AIM) protestors who occupied Alcatraz to protest the treatment of their peoples were participating in an act of civil disobedience. The Occupy Wall Street movement was an act of civil disobedience. The Water Protectors who were recently forcibly removed (as their ancestors were forcibly removed from their land throughout North America) from the path of the Dakota Access Pipeline were participating in civil disobedience. The Black Lives Matter protests are acts of civil disobedience. Civil disobedience is as vital to American culture and freedom as the Constitution which gives us the right to express our displeasure with our government. In fact, the 1st Amendment states:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
I truly believe it is my duty as a citizen of this country, as a Veteran, and as a Heathen to protect the people in my community who cannot defend themselves. As members of a minority religion, we must stand up for our Muslim and Jewish neighbors when they are targeted by hateful (more appropriately hate full) people. As citizens of a country founded by immigrants, we must stand up for our immigrant populations when they are being unfairly treated, harassed, arrested, and deported. As human beings, we must defend our planet, our mother Nerthus, when she is being poisoned and violated by corporate greed. As people who love others, we must stand up for the rights of our LGBTQIA family and friends. As people who have disabled loved ones in our lives, we must defend them against inhumane treatment and laws.
Now more than ever, it is our Deeds Not Words that matter!
Now, this blog and this podcast aren’t meant to be political. I’ve gone through most of my life avoiding modern politics other than when it was time to go to the polls, however, we are living in interesting times.
This week our guests, Becky and Jamie, participated in the Women’s March on Washington. They shared with us their experiences of that incredible day, as well as other ways to be politically and socially active.