Today is one of those days when Facebook really serves a purpose.
Take a look at your Facebook page this morning, as I did mine. You’ll probably see photos of some of your Facebook friends and family members out marching yesterday. In Washington, D.C., Cleveland, San Antonio, California, and many other places across the country, women, and men, were out expressing their views, wearing their knit caps and serving notice to the new Administration that they would be watching.
It was an impressive display, and it makes a powerful statement about the strength of participatory democracy in our country. When hundreds of thousands of people get off their duffs on a weekend and go out to protest, it shows they care in a way that a phone call or sending a form letter to a Senator or Representative can’t really express. And speaking as someone who served my time working in a Congressman’s office in Washington, D.C., the politicians will take notice of this display, and think about what it means and how it should affect what they do going forward.
Regardless of our political views, we should all applaud this kind of exercise, where the ordinary people of the land see fit to act. Our governmental system depends on people voting, of course, but it also depends on people actually paying attention — watching our elected representatives, learning about what they are doing, and holding them accountable when they err or stray. We should all worry when the people are too bored, or apathetic, or trusting to keep track of the politicos. Similarly, the news media doesn’t do its job when it’s too cozy with the inside-the-Beltway bigwigs and becomes a willing participant in the government’s desired messaging.
In the first days of his Administration, Donald Trump has already accomplished something important that he may well not appreciate: he’s gotten people engaged, pro and con, in a way that simply didn’t exist before. It’s a good thing.