Bel Canto
Imperialism Redux

March on Washington

By Jonathan B. Wight

The positive vibe in the massive crowd in Washington D.C. yesterday was electric and moving.  By-and-large, with a few exceptions, the message was upbeat and unifying. 


What's the take-home?  To me, it was that we are all deserving of respect and dignity. To the extent that people are disparaged for any number of reasons, our humanity is degraded.

The groping of women, the bullying of those with less power or status, the focus on policies that help the few at the cost of many, are all symptoms of leadership lacking in moral imagination and genuine empathy.

P1140694The good news is that there was a huge turnout, estimated at more than a half-million, far more than came for Trump’s inauguration, according to independent and non-political estimates.  And, of course, there were sister marches all over the U.S. and the world.

At one point the great throng surged and crushed me, my arms pinned, hips and chest and back mashed on all sides.  Throughout, people were as polite as could be imagined.

The bad news is that marching and talking is relatively cheap and easy, compared to the hard job of building coalitions to promote better public policies.

I mentioned that with few exceptions it was positive and upbeat.  One negative incident I observed was the mild harassment of an anti-abortion activist, whose poster read “Abortion kills a person.” His sign was partly blocked by other marchers (see photo to right).  Abortion

Several speakers yesterday emphasized that Trump supporters are not the enemy. If we are to move forward, and heal our national rifts, both sides need to listen and respond with respect. 

Supporting a woman’s right to control her body, and to decide in privacy whether to bear a child, does not diminish the claim that a fetus will grow into a person, or a harder claim that a fetus has a soul.  Each side worries that giving an inch will lead to disaster. But what if we acknowledge that two apparently contradictory positions can both be real and relevant, once we accept the reality of ethical pluralism?

It doesn’t solve the problem of public policies, but it does potentially create a less toxic political atmosphere.  

This was not a day to forget.  For some up-front photos, click here:


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