My daughter is 11. At the end of each school day, the children in her class watch a quick extract of the news then discuss it with their teacher. As we walk back home, she often reflects on what she has seen, heard – politics included. She approaches ideas with a refreshing (though not naive) simplicity which often reminds me how us adults tend to overcomplicate things… When friends asked whether I would join the Women’s march in London, I decided to take her along.
It was her first march, mine too. We took a bus there, sat on the top level of the double decker. Signs started appearing well before Grosvenor Square, the first one was at the crossroads between Regent and Oxford Streets. Little confetti in the crowd of pedestrians… until there were suddenly more people with signs and pussyhats than without. Yet the atmosphere was peaceful, cheerful even, loving. There were so many families with babies and children, who had made their own signs, chanted happily all along (2,4,6,8, spread love not hate… We love families, not Trump), so many men joining in too. You could compare it to a wonderful river of love, made by 100,000 participants coming together.
My daughter, though, had questions. Many, many questions. She read all the signs, carefully. Why was there a parallel between Brexit and Trump? Why was pink usually used to sell products to women in marketing but used here as a power symbol? Was the fact that it was trending on twitter any more important than when a TV program is? Why is “Girls just want to have fun-damental rights” funny? Did Trump or the UK government care about us marching? Were we going to change the world? These last two saddened me. I am not sure they do. I am not sure the march would change anything at all. After all, Trump was elected despite… his insulting comments, his way of conducting business, the constant contradicting himself, the aggressive tweeting. How to explain the posters asking “2017 and we’re still marching against the same sh*t”?.
What else can I say than… If you do not use violence, things change slowly. But they do change. Even if it may not make a big difference, there is a chance it might. Staying on your sofa moaning to yourself, however, will not achieve anything at all. And even if this march does not affect politicians, it brought people together, people from different backgrounds, ethnicities, generations. This incredible brainstorm of ideas, written or painted on cardboard, brings to the surface what real people – not the media – is saying, reinforces it.
Mostly – we cannot just sit and watch. If there is a chance of changing something at all, we should take it.
All can be summed up in one of the signs below: resist.