Since November, I have struggled to wrap my head around the results of the presidential election, as have numerous others, with very little success. It all seems so surreal and frightening. I have experienced many sour moods and flashes of depression as a result.
With the news last week of compromising information that Russia allegedly has on President (then President-Elect) Trump, the sense of impending doom took a turn toward absurdity.
On Friday, January 20, 2017 . . . yesterday, I wore black. I was in mourning. I was distressed, and I was depressed. Then, I made a decision. I could not just sit around, bitching and moaning on Facebook, commiserating with my cyber-friends.
This morning, after I had breakfast with my parents, as I do every Saturday, I drove into town. Houston is a big city, but I used to work in One Shell Plaza, just across the street from City Hall, where the assembly was going to be taking place. Still, I was a little apprehensive, not knowing what to expect. I get like that when I have to face crowds of any size. Seriously, I’m pretty much a die-hard introvert.
So . . . I arrived early (because that’s who I am), and I found a parking spot about a half a dozen blocks away at Market Square. That’s really not a very long walk, especially for a city this size, but I have recently been having some ankle and knee problems. There was a chance I was taking a bit of a risk.
Twenty minutes before the scheduled start time there was already a sizable mass of people milling around, and more kept streaming into Herman Park on either side of the shallow reflecting pond.
The crowd steadily grew, and the organizers started playing music. “At first I was afraid, I was petrified, kept thinking I could never live without you by my side. . . .” People started to dance. There was energy.
Although many individuals were dressed in black, they were not in mourning. They were not distressed. These people gathered together at City Hall in Houston, Texas, deep in the heart of one of the reddest states in the nation, were not depressed. They were determined.
The Houston Chronicle reported that, “The march was put together roughly 10 days ago . . . but still drew what Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo called the largest public gathering of people in Houston’s history.”
According to the Chronicle, over 20,000 people were in attendance.
As a die-hard introvert, being around people exhausts me, but today I reveled in the diverse community of a large city joined together to face a common threat. I fed off their strength, and like the loaves and fishes from scripture, there was plenty to go around.
Perhaps it is knowing that I am not alone. Maybe I succumbed to the contagious hope and courage I saw in the faces of the people gathered there and heard in the voices of the representatives of the masses who spoke to the assembly, including Police Chief Acevedo and Mayor Sylvester Turner. Whatever the case, the decision to get out of my comfort zone and take some small affirmative action turned out to be a good one.
Today, we the people did not solve the nation’s most immediate problem, but we did take a stand. Along with similar gatherings across the county and around the world, even in Antarctica (thus literally on every continent), we made our voices heard . . . and it got noticed. That is a good beginning.
And there is certainly no denying that I feel better. It is true that action does make a difference. Now, I need to harness this momentum.
“Then the writers went home to write.” —Tree Swenson