Newspaper article MinnPost.com

What Does Democracy Look Like?

Newspaper article MinnPost.com

What Does Democracy Look Like?

Article excerpt

I am not a protester by nature, at least not the “in the streets” variety. Part of my aversion to “in the streets protesting” is that I don’t quite trust a crowd mentality, on the left any more than on the right. I prefer nuanced, well-thought-out and articulated ideas and those come from a different channel. However, in today’s environment, I am rethinking my resistance to crowds and protest.

After the election, when my husband and I were deeply distressed, he did a lot of preaching to the choir. That’s me. Fortunately, we share the same views and the same distress. I kept saying, “We should be out in the streets!” This “choir” was ready to sing, albeit a tad off key. My crowd aversion was quickly forgotten. When things are so wrong, my instinct is to take to the streets to declare it.

It was a small step from that sentiment to attending the Women’s March in Washington, D.C., and that caused me to reassess my crowd aversion. It was a joyous and inclusive crowd, driven by the same instinctive awareness of what is right that drove me. There is a time to take to the streets and this is it. Marching to the chant of “Tell me what democracy looks like. This is what democracy looks like” felt absolutely right deep inside. I chanted with fervor, believing those words. I believe in democracy and inclusiveness and, yes, kindness. Those are the things for which I am comfortable protesting.

The immigrants and refugees order

The action against immigrants and refugees upset me more than anything prior, and that is saying a lot. Perhaps because we can clearly see the impact on people, and perhaps because it feels personal. My grandparents were immigrants and fortunate to have immigrated in the early 1900s. Had they waited until the middle of the century, they would likely not have escaped. Jews were not welcome in the United States, and many were turned away and sent to their death. Many of my family did not make it out. With 50 family members murdered in the Holocaust, I am aware that in another time, I could easily have been trapped on the other side. I also realize that it takes a certain comfort in one’s safety and place in the world to challenge, to protest. …

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