In the Streets

“We won’t get fooled again.”  The Who
It was an early fall evening, and we were all in sweatshirts and jackets. The clear night offered just a bit of chill and together we held hands , warming and supporting each other. The stars were witnesses to our chants: “Hell no, we won’t go!” and “Power to the People!” There were signs, speakers and music. I remember I felt so alive and charged with energy. I had something to say, we had something to say, and we were shouting to be heard. To end our protest, the organizers asked us all to sing “Imagine” by John Lennon. It has been many years since that night, but even now I can hear all of our voices beautifully joining together, and echoing across campus. “Imagine all the people sharing all the world…” We could still imagine a world at peace and we were asking for peace on that clear night. I was 19 years old. I believed I had the right to protest peacefully and be heard.

It has been over 40 years since that night, and now the fervor of protest has been stirred in me again…thank you President Trump for awakening this sleeping giant. On Tuesday, I was one of two thousand, to protest recent immigration policies ordered by President Trump. It was a warm winter day in the upper fifties, and the march was at noon. We didn’t hold hands but we carried with us the dignity of each and every American. Young or old, white or black, heterosexual or LBGT, man or woman, Muslim or Christian, it didn’t matter. No walls, no lines drawn randomly in the sand. We could have sang ” Imagine” and it would have resonated just as it did forty years ago. Will we ever learn from the past, or is it “different” this time? It looks the same.

Of course I am not that strident and angry college student any longer. At 19, my boiling point was much lower than it is now. Now, I may simmer with experience and discernment, but I can still reach my boiling point of “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not gonna take it anymore!” In all the forty plus years from then to now, how have I changed and what have I learned? Honestly, there are times when I am certain that I have not learned one single thing in forty years. I still think I am always right, but I can’t deny that I have been wrong many times. Damn! So I try to pause before my mouth spews out words that I will regret. The sign I carried at the Tuesday march said “Build bridges, not walls.” Nothing puts up walls faster than judgement. It’s a bitch to take down a wall brick by brick when you finally figure out that your brother and sister are on the other side. I have to go, and get to work taking down that wall.

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2 thoughts on “In the Streets”

  1. I like your version. Especially in light of the racism and bigotry behind the immigration ban. Thanks for your comment.


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