Thursday, January 26, 2017

Life As a Snowflake - Part Two

When a lot of snowflakes come together they can create a blizzard

The day after the inauguration the Women's March was planned. Begun by a single woman utilizing social media a worldwide protest movement was formed. As I headed to work that morning the El platform was crowded with people. Some wearing pink, some carrying signs, one entire family with children, came through the turnstiles and headed to the trains that would carry them south to Grant Park, where the Chicago march was to begin. Already the march route had to be changed to accommodate the growing number of expected participants. The original estimate of 22,000 people had swelled to 55,000. I sent a text to my cousin, knowing she was on her way, to tell her that all the signs I was seeing were pointing to a large turnout.

By the time the rally and march was scheduled to begin the crowd had grown to 150,000 to 200,000 people, making an organized march unsafe and impossible. The rally went on as scheduled. A multitude of causes were represented, women's reproductive rights, equality for women, LGBT people and persons of color and different faiths. There were signs regarding access to health care and wealth inequality. Individual voices had formed a choir. There were marches and rallies not only across the country but around the world, Berlin, London, Prague and Peru. A photo showed a bridge across the Seine in Paris swarming with humanity. For the first time since the election I felt hopeful. I felt as if we, the people, might still be capable of forming the perfect union envisioned by our founding fathers.

Later that evening comments on social media, as well as main stream media, that means you CNN, attempted to belittle and trivialize the event. Perhaps concerned that something had happened that was larger than them, that something had happened that they would not be able to spin or control. They said it was unfocused and leaderless. Nothing more than a gathering of privileged white liberals. Yet photos showed people of color, gay, straight, Muslim, Christian and Jewish, all banding together, side by side.

A photo of my cousin's tween daughter was shared on Facebook marching past Chicago's Bean. She is of Mayan descent, adopted at 6 months old by her out, proud, lesbian moms. They are, like I, an out, proud, gay man, Americans. A representation of the melting pot, that badge that we have for so many generations worn with honor. My fathers forebears part of the "tempest tossed" welcomed to this country upon their arrival.

Perhaps it was just one day, or perhaps it was the beginning of something larger. However it ends it was, for that moment in time, a blizzard of snowflakes. A massive, peaceful gathering of humanity demanding to be treated as human.

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