I’ve seen a lot of posts today that make the comment that we must pray for our country. Some of them even seemed chiding–instead of going to the March yesterday, I should pray for the success of this administration.
I’d like to address this. I prayed from the time my alarm clock went off at 5:45 yesterday morning until I started snoring at 11:15 last night while my husband read to me. I am exhausted from praying all day in the streets of Washington, DC, with a silly pink hat on my head. Because prayer is not just done in a pew or before sleep. Because prayer IS action. Because if all I did was sit in my house and pray with words that Donald Trump and this new Congress don’t drag this country back, I’d get whiplash from how quickly this country was snapped back in time.
That hat I made, the pussy hat, news stations and papers can’t put it to print because it violates standards of decency. Yet the man that 46% of US citizens voted for uses it casually, in what he called locker room talk but is actually sexual assault and rape culture, to talk about how he can sexually violate women simply because he is famous.
I march because I know the terror that comes from someone touching me without my permission. I march because every woman I know knows that terror in some degree or another.
I march for women like myself who go back to work when their children are still infants needing 24-hour care and their bodies are still not healed from the physical trauma of childbirth, women who go back because to stay out of work longer means more time without pay, and six or twelve weeks without a paycheck, on top of the added expenses of a new baby, is already nearly untenable (and for a great many, even six weeks is too long, and they are back to work even sooner).
I march for women (and men, and children) like me who have fought cancer but now have a pre-existing condition, who are now facing the possibility of losing their health coverage in addition to the prospect that they might lose their lives.
I march for my son, whose cleft lip at birth could now render him ineligible for health coverage, or at least be forced to endure a waiting period for coverage if the laws are changed.
I march for my son, because I do not want him to grow up in a world of hate and fear.
I march for the 18 million people currently covered by the Affordable Care Act who will lose their health coverage if this Congress and president have their way, for the billions of dollars that it will cost our country if that happens.
I march for my brother, his husband, and their son. I march for my friends and family who identify on the LGBTQ rainbow. Challenges to their health and safety are challenges to my own and to all of us.
I march for people with disabilities, who in addition to the threat to their health coverage have to live in a world where the president has openly mocked them for their challenges, and millions of their fellow citizens think that is okay.
I march for the Earth, this beautiful, amazing planet that takes my breath away every day, because this president and many in his Congress and Cabinet refuse to believe that climate change exists–or at least pretend to believe this because they don’t want to change their habits or lose money from practices that destroy the Earth.
I march for the women who depend on Planned Parenthood for their healthcare. I march for those who face difficult decisions regarding pregnancy.
I march for students, young and old. I march for children who go to school every day with underpaid and overworked teachers in overcrowded classrooms. I march for students who are over tested under ridiculous standards set by policy makers who do not understand education or how the brain works.
I march for workers, for fair wages, safe working environments, healthcare and sick days, childcare, and a living wage for all.
I march for immigrants and for refugees. This country was founded by immigrants. Our diversity is what makes us who we are. It is what keeps us great.
I march for children, widows, and foreigners–because if you knew Jesus when he was alive, you’d know those were the groups you didn’t mess with. Those were the most marginalized, the most vulnerable.
I march for this country. I was fortunate to be born here, and that fortune comes with responsibility.
I march because it is my right and my responsibility.
I march because my march is my prayer. And prayer is powerful.