What Democracy Looks Like

December 2, 2016


Police block intersection of Washington Street and Capitol Avenue as anti-Trump protestors mobilize.

Three days post-election. Indianapolis, Indiana. “This is what democracy looks like,” echoed from the crowd of over five hundred.

Thirty-five degree weather already caused me to feel out of place in contrast with my regular mid-seventies climate. Passing the capital building of a state that’s not my own, signs thrusted into the air reading things like “Not My President,” “Love Trumps Hate,” and “Vietnam Veteran Against Trump.” We were held back by school rules regarding field trips and the lack of parental permission.

Walking away from the rally, my hands shook with desire to be a part of it. The signs and shirts and passion branching from the protestors, the familiarity of their beliefs drew me to the crowd. Distractions of the mall obstructed my mind from what was important, but through the windows, police lights drew my attention back to the scene. Outside, one floor down to ground level, rubber bullets flew from police guns, pepper spray floated down onto the crowd, and horses charged, breaking the group’s concentration.

The only thing on my mind was how badly I wanted to be a part of the movement. Until now, this idea of a group of people banding together for a common cause only seemed real in photos and news broadcasts, but here, it became real. Even though I wasn’t a part of it, the echoes and lights bombarding my senses made the reality of a situation I had only imagined so much more absolute.

The power of the crowd overtook me, and I realized I have that same power, too. These people with varying ages, genders, beliefs, and sexual orientations were not superheroes with powers, just people with passions.

As we walked away from the crowd, back to the safety of our rental home, my heart stayed back in the crowd. My goal is to be a part of that permanently, eventually. I want to voice my ideas. I want to be heard.

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