Does Marching Matter?

Over the past few weeks, there has been much movement around the conversations of health, science and the environment.  With our current political climate being that of denial and grossly undermining the facts presented by scientists around the world, many are afraid of the consequences that will ensue as new policies arise and new bills are passed daily.

We march as a symbolic gesture of resistance but does it really make a difference?  As scientists, it is our job to question the efficacy of things.  We want to see quantitative evidence and statistical significance in the medicines and interventions that we create. So, where is the evidence that marches create social change?

I attended the March for Science in Philadelphia and marched with Black Lives Matter.  My mother and co-contributor to this blog, drove all the way from Detroit to D.C. for the Women’s March.  So, by definition, I’d say we are marchers.  I only raise the question because as we march, policy-makers continue to march in their own direction, to the beat of their conservative drum.  Not even stopping to flinch at the ‘annoyance’ of the marchers at their doorstep.

I think marches are beautiful, symbolic gestures.  Thousands of like-minded people, who care about something so deeply that they are willing to leave their homes, stand arm-in-arm with complete strangers and say, “Enough is Enough!”  But let us be realistic about this, unless we take our passion and our anger to the polls and pull out our pocketbooks to support organizations doing the daily work we care about, there will be no change.

The Sierra Club and the National Wildlife Federation are lobbying in Washington but they’re up against oil companies and climate-denying congressmen.  Organizations like these need our help.  The ACLU raised millions in one weekend when Trump decided to unconstitutionally block people from seven middle eastern countries from entering the United States.  A testament to the ability of a march to galvanize support for a cause and to incite action.  So, let us put our money where we put our marching boots to get the job done.


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