Yesterday, I proudly joined my eldest daughter, my wife, and millions of others for the worldwide Women’s March. We were in San Francisco, but friends have shared images of themselves marching in huge cities and small towns across the United States and around the world.
I’m proud for many reasons. I’m proud because it was wonderful to show support for people and a cause in which I believe, and wonderful to see so many people share that support. I was proud to see the power of young women (and not-so-young women, and men of all ages) to make their wills and voices heard. I was also proud because I wrote Risuko: A Kunoichi Tale in part as a way to show my daughters and their peers that young woman can have and have had the power to change the world, even when society seemed least likely to let them.
In my books, Risuko and the other young women of the Full Moon become kunoichi — assassins, spies, and bodyguards. Not the ideal manner in which I’d like to see my daughters and their peers express their will.
So is one day of marching — no matter how well-attended — enough? Obviously, no. Marching isn’t the purpose, just an ends to the means, which is to make the world a better place. So now that we’ve marched, what should we do?
To quote legendary Bay Area counter-culture journalist Scoop Nisker, “If you don’t like the news, go out and make some of your own.” #Womensmarch is just the beginning. The real action? Upcoming elections: city councils, county boards, state legislatures, initiatives, referendums, congress, senate. Don’t accept the status quo. Don’t vote party line. Educate yourself and your neighbors. Vote. Demand accountability. And if you don’t get it, at every level, march again. And don’t stop.
And if you’re living in a state or district that is homogenous, where you feel your vote isn’t going to make a difference, reach out to friends and acquaintances who DON’T. Even if they don’t agree with you. Especially if they don’t agree with you. Talk. Listen. Be respectful. Be persistent. We live in an age of self-segregation; the internet is the best tool there is to create that echo chamber, and the best tool to fight it.
And if people tell you that, as an American, you’re being disloyal by expressing your opinion through protest, remember: The pledge of allegiance — the real one, the one that every president has taken, the one that every new citizen takes, the one that the members of our armed services take — isn’t to the flag or the president or even the nation. It’s to “uphold the Constitution of the United States.” And among the first rights enumerated in that constitution is for “the people peaceably to assemble.” So by doing so, marchers ARE supporting the president, the flag, the nation, and the Constitution.
If you’re in the US and you’d like a guide to how you can be active — whether you’re of voting age or not — visit www.IndivisibleGuide.com.
Now go out and make some news of your own!