by Terry Springer
The glow from the marches and rallies yesterday [January 21] has not quite faded. But we should make no mistake in assuming we have done our part. The work is just beginning. Yesterday should have sent a message to the new president. In the inaugural address, he said "Your voice, your hopes, and your dreams will define our American destiny. And your courage and goodness and love will forever guide us along the way." His reaction to yesterday and the stream of words and numbers from Kellyanne Conway's mouth today clearly indicates that he does not understand that the large crowds across the country reflect the voices of Americans too. Yesterday should be as much a message to the legislators in Congress and in our states as to the President. State legislators are making laws that govern our lives in very direct ways: they should be put on notice that we are watching. And so those of us who marched and rallied must watch and work to ensure that laws put in place do ensure that America allows for many hopes and dreams.
One of the great things about our country is the democratic process. It allows us to hold those in power accountable for what they do. It is an ideal, not perfectly realized, and it is up to us to participate in our government in the way we are empowered to be. As the President said, "And this, the United States of America, is your country. What truly matters is not which party controls our government, but whether our government is controlled by the people." In this the President is right, "Now arrives the hour of action." Action is not easy, it is not comfortable; it requires energy and some sacrifice. But we should remember that those who disagree with us are also Americans. We should keep in mind the words of another president in another time. Kennedy asserted, "So let us begin anew--remembering on both sides that civility is not a sign of weakness, and sincerity is always subject to proof. Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate. Let both sides explore what problems unite us instead of belaboring those problems which divide us."