The Clean Water Blog

"Oceans are rising and so are we." photo: Clean Water

What difference can a March on Washington make?

In a high tech world, where we depend on Twitter to know what’s going on down the street, holding a March on Washington may seem old fashioned, even quaint. But I would argue that there’s still no better way to change the direction our nation is headed in than to wake up early, get on a bus, and join a crowd in our nation’s capitol march for what you believe in. That’s why I’ll be making the trek from Pittsburgh to Washington, DC for the People’s Climate March this Saturday. We still have seats left in our bus leaving from Pittsburgh, RSVP here.

I’m not going to depress you with the facts of climate change and how our planet is doomed, blah, blah, blah. A March is not about numbers and statistics, but it is about how we find justice in our country. Our history is littered with stories of people taking public stands before our nation’s leaders. Its one of the greatest examples of our working democracy that we not only have the right to vote, but that we have the right to assemble and freedom of speech.

This fact was not lost on women in our country who worked for decades to win the right to vote. They used tactics of all kinds, and in the end, their persistent public demonstrations in front of the White House pushed President Wilson to give in to demands to expand our democracy. Aggrieved World War I veterans camped out in Washington, DC to demand fair treatment. And of course, you can’t even say the words March on Washington, without thinking of the 1963 march for civil rights, officially titled the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, which showed our nation that some of the most marginalized and oppressed were demanding full citizenship in our nation.

One person who clearly understands the power of our freedom of assembly is Donald Trump. While we may think of him as our first President to run our nation through Twitter, in fact his biggest campaign tactic was the mass rally. He showed his supporters that they were not alone in their views, and these demonstrations of strength in numbers were a powerful force in Trump’s rise.

Trump knows that numbers matter, perhaps that’s why he (falsely) argued that his inaugural crowds were bigger than the Women’s March held the next day in D.C. Recent polls show that 61% disapprove of Trump’s handling of the environment and climate, one of his worst poll results. But polls only represent what people think.  Coming out to a March is about what you’re willing to act on, and that’s the part that creates change in our nation.  I hope to see you in DC on Saturday!