The Women’s March on Washington may have caused those who have been around since the early civil rights movement or those who identify as dedicated students of American history to feel like they were reliving an era gone by when Americans were determined to invoke change by exercising their First Amendment right of public assembly.
Those were the days when sit-ins, boycotts, freedom rides, marches and protests were the tools most frequently employed to galvanize communities, to secure the attention of our nation’s leaders and to stand in solidarity demanding that America keep its promise to its citizens.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said it more eloquently in his “I Have a Dream” speech: “We have come … to cash a check … a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir … It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note … [and] has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked ‘insufficient funds.’”
As close to a million women gathered near the Capitol last Saturday, many to protest the presidency of Donald Trump, they confirmed that some methods of the past still have power. The numbers speak for themselves and it’s a certain bet that the president and members of Congress were watching — some even participated in the historic event.
We wonder what happens next. Will this march become the impetus for a nationwide movement that will hold our elected officials, Republicans in particular, to their promises of representing “all of the people?” Will other women, and men, become participants in this energetic, engaging example of grass-roots politics as its best? As columnist Eugene Robinson reminds us, the tea party movement, ignored in its fledgling days, first looked like an “incoherent bunch of sore losers — until it swept Democrats out of power in the House in the 2010 midterm elections.”
It’s time for a revolution — or at least a movement.
And as Gil Scott-Heron affirmed, “the revolution will not be televised, it will be live.”