On the morning of the San Diego Women’s March, I woke before anyone else and dressed in the silence of a still house. And then peered into Harper’s top bunk, shaking her from a dream. “Where are we going, Mama?” she asked in the dark. With the fog outside, the sun had risen but it sat behind the clouds. Six-thirty is an early wake up call for a usually sleepy Saturday. Rain tapped on the windows as I put her in layers, just in case it was colder on the coast than it was at home. “We are going to march. Remember we talked about it last night?” I asked. She nodded and tended to the sleep in the corner of eyes as the rest of us prepared for the possibility of a downpour. The night prior we had spent the hour before bedtime talking about politics, about the election, about how strong she was and how smart and how sometimes the world fails to recognize just how profound the female experience is. We told her : Women are important. Gay people are important. People who come here for a better life are important. Science is important. Our earth is important. Democracy is important. Freedom is important. “We march because you are important, Harper. Your rights, your education, your freedom is important. And so is every other American’s. ”
In the morning, the train was packed with people. So full we had to push against everyone else to keep her safe from all the surrounding adults. The static of conversation was so loud we had to cover her ears. She was brave and calm. Downtown San Diego was the meaning of chaos, tens of thousands of people had descended on a few square blocks in the heart of America’s finest city. Guy had taken the trolley after us because he was worried about the baby in the crush of our trolley car. Upon our reunion, Harper quickly took her place on his shoulders and her awe was palpable. Eventually, she scrambled down and marched and chanted and I hope she felt heard.
Things in America are unstable right now. Our checks and balances aren’t being recognized but we can still march. At the end of the day, our representatives are still responsible to represent us. A march is a reminder, a reminder that the government works for the people, not the other way around. My mom taught me to be proud of America and I hope my daughter learns it from me. That kind of patriotism requires a keen eye, a sound mind, and the willingness to call the government out on their failings in order to be increasingly more free.
“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.” – Ronald Reagan
All photos on this post are from the San Diego Women’s March on January 21st, 2017.