The Last Word on Marches
by Jan Baughman

...or is it? It seems that everyone is seeking solidarity -- and attention. African-American men; white men; the latest, African-American women. All with a common thread working in parallel to achieve unity. Next could be the Million (insert ethnic background and gender here) Child March. The Million (White) Woman March, The Million (Obviously White) Christian Coalition March, the Million Dog March, ad nauseum... Perhaps with winter coming Washington D.C. and the rest of us will be in for a reprieve.

Unfortunately, the people who need to march the most are typically the ones who don't have the means to travel to the venue in which the march takes place. Who marches for the children whose parents are absent, whose education is substandard, whose nutritional intake is nowhere near the U.S. Recommended Daily Allowance? Who marches for the millions of homeless, who don't have telephones or fax machines or offices through which to organize a march, not to mention the transportation to get there? Who marches for the uninsured, the unemployed, the unrepresented, the unorganized? And who writes about them?

In the meantime, we have a million things to complain about, and a few hundred thousand excuses not to change. Perhaps a 260 Million Person March would get us all on the same boat of priorities. Otherwise, we seem to keep marching to the same old tune, in the same old direction, whether one at a time or a million at a time. And as with any trend, the counter-trend will follow. Let's hope it is characterized by marches with substance, as opposed to no marches at all.

Published November 11, 1997
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