To Protest or Not To Protest- That is a renewed question, and a difficult one to answer for many of us so-called “good girls,” particularly if brought up to stay quiet, not rock the boat, and let the Big Boys Duke It Out. But, for many women and Millennials the answer is suddenly “Yes.”  A Facebook events page has been started or organize a march on Washington DC on January 21, the day after the next inauguration.  According to the New York Times the march being careful not to call itself a protest, just a march, which is very “good-girl polite” thing to do right out of the gate.

When considering becoming more visible about their current discontent, some potential protestors are being talked out of hitting the streets — sometimes as much by themselves as others. It’s always easier to stay home, stay safe, and think of prior commitments to fulfill for others. It’s confrontational to counter the argument: “What do you hope to achieve,” or “What’s the point?”  But, before being dissuaded, or just if you need a shot of courage, here are few counter points:

Point 1: Protests are visual symbols of discontent.

They force media attention and ongoing political attention that things are not OK, not as they seem, and there is an underlying unrest that is not being addressed. It keeps the conversation going that inequities exist that should not be dusted under the rug.

Point 2: Protests are a First Amendment right.

Last we looked, the First Amendment came first – before the second, before the 14th, before all others — because having the right to various opinions and views is the most basic of American rights.  Rights, like muscles, require exercise to stay strong.  A protest is exercising that First Amendment right.

Point 3: If not now, when? If not me/us, then who?

Women, minorities and immigrants frequently don’t feel they have a voice. They are still trying to assimilate, get ahead, and be seen much less be heard.  A protest helps bring visibility and voice to those who might otherwise lack the courage to find their own voice. It allows many voices that might be weak or low to find resonance and strength together, much as a  chorus has musical depth.

Point 4: A movement starts with someone taking one first step.

A protest puts many people’s steps together in hopes of moving forward and fostering real cultural movement.

Point 5: Protests poke holes in  mandates.

When elections are won, politicans like to say they have a mandate.  A win is not  a mandate. A win without the popular vote is not a mandate. A protest is a public statement that dissonance exists and helps strengthen public opinion that opposing viewpoints exist and worth considering.

Point 6:  There is power in numbers.

One protest in Seattle is not as powerful as daily protests in Seattle.  One protest in Philadelphia is not a powerful as simultaneous protests in Chicago, Atlanta and New York. Multiple protests by multiple people show the breadth of the discontent. Some pundits are calling for an end to the protests around the nation, and asking the Clintons, Obamas and Sanders of the world to call off their dogs. Why? Because silence implies complicity?  Instead they should be looking into why the level of discord is so high and perhaps interviewing the march participants to get a different story.

Point 7: Actions speak louder than words.

At least that’s what we’ve been told. So if you’re looking for how to take action (the purpose of @LittleHinges overall), joining a protest may be one way to get started.

There are enough voices out there about how women only go together to the ladies room and can’t agree on politics — how women don’t support one another and don’t have a voting bloc, much less a sense of solidarity. For sure, women are individuals, not Stepford Wives, so, like men, we will rarely all agree. To effect real change and progress, laws need to change, politicians need to be contacted, and cultural norms need to be confronted. It can all start with one event, or one march, and one protest on January 21.

Action Steps:  

  • Search for Womens’ March on Washington on Facebook and click interested. Check out the articles in the feed for information.
  • Google January 21 and Womens’ March to find if there’s one in a city near you. A same day planned march in Philadelphia has its own Facebook page.
  • Check the site for buses leaving from a city near you. A bus leaving from Atlantic City costs $70 and as of 11/27 needed just 11 more seats reserved to confirm. A bus leaving from Cape May Courthouse was $65 with ony 15 more seats needed to fill, and similar bus from Cape May was $70 with 16 seats left to fill for the bus to be confirmed.

Tweetable: 7 Reasons to join a March or Protest on January 21. There is power in numbers. @LittleHinges

Tweetable: How to find a bus for the rally in DC on Jan. 21.  @LittleHinges