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Rallies, Demonstrations and Marches

America Looks a Lot Like the ‘60s and ’70s Again

What is the old saying? “Everybody loves a parade.” While parades may celebrate the circus coming to town, or even a Super Bowl win, there are now a lot of people on the streets of our nation’s cities doing something completely different.

Recent rallies and protests seem to be about having your opinion heard. In a democracy, you can take to the streets and make your thoughts abundantly known with little or no fear of retribution or arrest. Of course, you need to keep the demonstration peaceful or bad things could happen.

I watched the women’s march in Indianapolis up close and personal. My daughter wanted to participate in the rally for her 18th birthday celebration. She asked her grandmother, mother and two aunts to join her. I got a chance to observe the January 21st event on the lawn of the Indiana Statehouse, and it reminded me a lot of the rallies I watched when I was young.

These recent marches, for the most part, were orderly and well-orchestrated. Sure, there were the thugs who tried to upset the inaugural day events in D.C., but those radicals’ actions were minor compared to the hundreds of thousands of peaceful marchers throughout the country.

What I found refreshing amid the political mayhem was the return to good, old-fashioned face-to-face interaction, stem-winding speeches and chanting. Instead of using social media to broadcast opinions to the masses, people actually made signs and showed up at an event just like during the “old” days of American protesting.

You cannot really tell someone’s enthusiasm from a Twitter or Facebook post, and that’s why these rallies have real merit. Sure, there were a lot of phones capturing pictures and video, but the thousands of people there were real, live human beings with strong opinions about what our country needs to do, and they were telling anyone who would listen.

I harken back to a young protester staring down a tank in China and think about how lucky we are in the United States. I may not agree with your opinion, but your right to openly express that opinion is at the heart of our democracy. Most likely, you will not be shot for expressing that opinion, thank goodness.

Many Americans have fought and died to protect our right to free and open demonstrations. You simply cannot diminish the value of being able to speak your mind without fear of reprisal. Freedom of speech and freedom of the press make America a place many non-citizens want to call home, no matter how bad some people think our country has become. Sure, we can always improve but, last time I looked, we were the strongest, wealthiest nation in the world with hundreds of millions of hard-working people wanting the country to be even better.

If you don’t think we’re blessed, take a dart and throw it at a map of the world (land only) and see if the place you hit is better off than us. Norway? Really? I don’t think so.

So when your child wants to saddle up and attend a march, join in. After all, how many places in the world can you do that and not worry about it?

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