Un Tunnel © 2010 Claudia Ward
Yesterday was the day of marches - Marches for Our Lives - around the globe. I was unable to attend one but I was riveted to my television from 11:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. watching the rally in Washington D.C. I spent most of that time with a box of Kleenex next to me as tears of pride, sadness, and hope welled up in me in wave after wave after wave. Pride in the youth who were speaking so eloquently, passionately and clearly, and who propelled these events into existence. Sadness that our youth has to live in such fear with first hand knowledge of death and violence; and, sadness that our youth has grown up so quickly and are the ones lecturing their elders in this country on right and wrong. Hope that our fragile democracy, the American experiment, just might survive, and that leadership with discipline is seeded in the next generation.
To say that I was impressed by the speeches yesterday is a gross understatement. Most of you know my love of words and how they can be strung together to tell a story, make an argument, elicit an emotion, and/or inspire thought and action. Those young adults and children "performed" beyond all of my expectations. Their poised delivery, passionate presentation, and clear message resonated with me - "No More", "Never Again", "Spread the Word", "Enough is Enough", and "Vote".
If there is any positive to come from this, in my mind it is that these young people understand democracy perhaps better than any generation since The Greatest Generation. They understand its potential power, and how it's designed to work, and they each broadcast, loudly or with silence, that they intend to make it work. Elected officials are just that, elected and can be replaced if the populace so decides with its collective votes. Democracy is a participatory form of government and this generation plans on actively participating for the foreseeable future.