today i walked in solidarity with women, men, children, all ages and ethnicities, LGBTQ, along with people of diverse religious or non-religious belief.
we marched for the values we hold dear and the rights we think all people deserve. most people had a message of love, of kindness, of openness, but also a steely resolution that said, “we won’t go back, we won’t normalize the indecency and hate we’ve seen.”
we marched for those there and those who could not make it. we marched in solidarity with others who were marching in 200 US cities, and 50 countries. and we marched for those who disagree and those who don’t think we should be marching, because women’s rights are human rights, and human rights are for all.
most cities had double or more of the attendance they had expected. some cities had astounding attendance (DC: near 500,000, LA: near 750,000, NY near 500,000, and other cities in the hundreds of thousand and tens of thousands).
it was a completely peaceful rally, yet so energized. it couldn’t have felt any safer, either, and that is due to the amazing San Diego Police Department. we thanked individual officers as we saw them, but i wanted to give a shout out here, because from what i understand they worked with the organizers in a great way, all of it beneficial and smooth. i appreciate them immensely.
the road ahead may be long and not easy, but it is one we must forge with inclusivity, open hearts, fierce compassion, wisdom, kindness, and love without letting up.
may this day be remembered.
#womensmarch #sdwomensmarch #TheLongArc #PlantingSeeds #ForwardTogether #YesWeCan #LoveWins #EngagedBuddhist #EngagedBuddhism
“It really boils down to this: that all life is interrelated. We are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied together into a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly…Before you finish eating breakfast in the morning, you’ve depended on more than half the world.
We aren’t going to have peace on Earth until we recognize the basic fact of the interrelated structure of all reality.”
~ Martin Luther King, Jr
The quote above is one of the dearest for me in the pantheon of MLK Jr quotes. So many of his words still reverberate with sharp wisdom and prophetic knowing. But this one cuts to the heart of all of it.
A word not just at the core of Buddhist understanding of life, but of life itself. Any close examination of life bears witness to it. We are not who we are or where we are through any single doing of our own, but only through the generosity and service of so many who have contributed to the circumstances that find us who we are and where we are, some knowingly and some unknowingly. And we too, each of us, play a vital part in others’ lives, sometimes knowingly and sometimes unknowingly. Check out the film It’s A Wonderful Life to see a fictionalized version of this told for the holidays, or watch Back To The Future.
MLK Jr understood this, and understood this at the core of what brings us together – a mutual understanding that we NEED each other, that our every action influences and affects the lives of those around us sometime near and sometime far. There is a ripple that plays out in ways we may never know. Words matter. Actions matter. How we treat each other matters.
I’m a little late this week in writing a post about Martin Luther King, Jr, because I’ve been a bit stalled by illness. But, the timing still seems right. As we head toward the end of this week and the final day of President Barack Obama’s Presidency, the contrast between our current President and the President-Elect could not appear more stark to me in light of this quote.
Perhaps this is why I am most concerned. While President Barack Obama is far from perfect and there will be criticism by some and debate about his Presidency, he has repeated time and again – even in the face of consistent and mean-spirited criticism – that he believes that deep down people are good and that with our work together, progress continues to move forward (sounding similar to another MLK Jr quote), often giving credit to the team around him for any successes that may have manifest. By contrast, our President-Elect has built his campaign singling out individuals and groups with a level of public degradation, always surprising and at times alarming, all the while promoting himself as the only solution to America’s problems.
Life is interdependence. No one does it alone. Any honest examination, bears witness to this. This isn’t opinion, it is fact and truth, even in a post-fact and post-truth “reality” celebrated and fueled by the President-Elect. To not recognize interdependence is to not recognize life and this is the great danger to the success and livelihood of human society and perhaps life as we know it on earth.
As Martin Luther King, Jr states in the above quote, we aren’t going to have peace until we recognize this.
So, if this recognition doesn’t come from the top down, then we will live it from the bottom up. We will stand, sit, march, sing, shout, write, and paint to bear witness to interdependence, to bear witness to life.
The spreading and celebration of incoherency, where all facts and truths are subjective and subject to what serves one’s own agenda from which only oneself and one’s insider family and friends benefit, is a degradation of the morals and ethics upon which the foundation of civilized society is built. This incoherency, rather than mutual understanding and acknowledgement based on facts, spreads unease and fear. A society living with unease and fear is in danger of losing itself in what can be a self-fulfilling abyss of distrust and paranoia. This distrust and paranoia can lead to an increase in greed, aggression, violence, and despair.
Though there may be no real thing such as “post-fact” or “post-truth,” the consequences from practicing such charlatanism can be real and harmful, as we are already witnessing.
Does this sound an alarm?
Then be an unwavering, inexhaustible advocate for truth. Stand and speak up for what is based on fact and not self-serving vagary, beginning with your own speech, writing, and actions. Hope is born on the words and actions of those who stand on the side of what is authentic and true, who call upon the better quality of all people to answer that call, by example. We need these examples, these bodhisattvas, we need to be the embodiment of the hope we seek and a reflection of what is authentic and true.
A “post-fact” and “post-truth” world is a world spinning out of control with no ground beneath it. The world may continue, but we may not. And if we do, we may no longer recognize who we are or what we have become, having only a fuzzy memory of what it meant to be human. A memory the “post-fact” and “post-truth” gatekeepers will slander, as they label it a myth.
But many of us, I hope most of us, will know better and will continue to shed a light of what is factual and true.
Stay awake. Stay aware. Bear witness. Speak truth.