This is what happened in Tallahassee today. Crowd estimates of well over five thousand people showed up for the Never Again rally. Here's a video of students speaking with Republican lawmakers.
My favorite part is at the end where the students follow the lawmaker downstairs, still asking their reasoned, reasonable questions.
In the comments section where that video is posted, someone said that the children were "indoctrinated and emotional."
What sort of absolutely delusional thinking is that?
And oh, y'all. I was not there.
Even though I believe in this mission to strip the NRA of its insane power with all of my heart, even though I have never in my life been in as much gobsmacked amazement as I am right now at the way these young people are handling themselves and organizing and coming together and presenting this issue, and even though I KNOW that every person there was making a statement of support and strength, I was not one of them.
I never was a protest person. I believe the only protest I've ever attended was for the ERA many, many years ago and thousands of us marched down the road to the capitol that you can see in the picture at the top of this post. I am the sort of person for whom the mall is a place to be avoided at all costs. I am the sort of person who thinks about the parking situation for an event and decides not to go. I am the sort of person who can't stand crowds.
And yet, I am also the sort of person who wishes she was the sort of person who had taken her eight-year old grandson to this rally not only to represent, but to show him how democracy works.
I bet you almost any amount of money that I know at least a hundred people or more who did attend that rally.
And god, I love them for doing it.
Well. This is the way it is. This is the way I am.
Instead, I took another very long walk and I noticed the yellow jessamine which seems to be blooming in far more profusion than I have ever seen it.
I saw sulphur butterflies almost the same color as the jessamine which, flying, looked like escaped blossoms, fluttering free in the air.
I stopped on the bridge and looked at the creek, calm and dark with tannins, like an artery in the body of life on earth.
I took note of the purple violets blooming in last year's fallen yellow weeds making a carpet of colors.
I came home and I ate my lunch and I watched the live-streaming of the rally and I felt guilty, guilty, and I cleaned out the hen house and did the small, never-ending chores of life.
I feel unsettled. I should have been there.
I feel ashamed. I should have been there.
I feel like a hypocrite. I should have been there.
I wasn't. That is all there is to it.
But I vote. Always. Of course.
And try to take comfort in knowing that there are many ways to do the right thing. There are many paths to create change. And that each of us is uniquely capable of doing something which will ultimately be a small piece of there being more light, more love, more justice, more peace, more safety, more understanding, more hope, more laughter, more just plain goodness in the world.
I tell myself that.
I hope it's true.