On January 20, the inaugural parade was held in Washington, D.C. to mark the commencement of a new presidency. On January 21, there were women’s marches in Washington, D.C. and across the United States against the new President. And, in the week of the inauguration, Congressman John Lewis’ book trilogy, March, shot to the top of Amazon’s best-seller list.
The inaugural parade march on January 20, the protest marches on January 21, and the success of John Lewis’ March in the week of January 16 are powerful testimonies to America’s greatness on display.
March madness usually takes place in the month of March as fans of America’s college basketball teams are stirred into frenzies as they watch their teams compete for the NCAA national championship. This March madness in January is a different form of madness.
It is a fine madness. It is a madness of American exceptionalism. It is the stuff of which America and the American dream is made.
The inaugural day parade was a celebration of the peaceful transfer of power. It had 23 marching bands from all the branches of the military, colleges, high schools and law enforcement organizations. It included groups such as the Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, and the Paralyzed Veterans of America and had more than 8,000 participants.
The women’s marches were held to protest ideas, statement and attitudes the incoming President had expressed during his candidacy and during the run-up to his inauguration. The peaceful protests demonstrated the right to raise our American voices in free speech. They were held in hundreds of cities throughout the U.S. and participated in by more than 1 million U.S. citizens.
The participants in the “women’s” marches were male, female, gay, straight, young, old and people of all races and religions. One of the participants in Washington, D.C. was Ed Crego’s wife, Sheila Smith.
This was not her first protest march. When she was a college student in 1965 she went to march in Selma, Alabama.
Selma was where John Lewis proved that actions speak louder than words when he marched across that bridge as part of the civil rights movement and had his skull fractured by state troopers as he knelt to pray with other freedom riders and marchers. Congressman Lewis helped change the course of American history and to move this nation closer to equal opportunity for all.
In his inaugural address, the new President proclaimed, “We will no longer accept politicians who are all talk and no action, constantly complaining, but never doing anything about it.”
We are in concert with the President on that. And, as a politician, we need to be sure that he is held accountable for his talk - and, for his actions, if they are discriminatory or harmful to the best interests of the American people.
The President himself gave us that responsibility in his inaugural address when he declared, “January 20th, 2017 will be remembered as the day the people became the rulers of this nation again.”
On January 21, 2017, over 1 million of those “rulers of this nation” took to the streets to exercise that responsibility and to protect and enhance American greatness.
In 2017, March madness started in January. What a glorious and wonderful way to begin the New Year and to reaffirm all that we hold dear as citizens of the United States of America.