IT IS THE PEOPLE WHO MAKE GOVERNMENT WORK!
By Dan Singer
It’s an exhilarating and rewarding thing when thousands of people – often complete strangers – come together around a singular event or cause. You experience the pure energy of it when you attend a concert or a sporting event; brought together around an artist you love or a team you are rooting for. The energy is contagious, uplifting and at times even powerful. Things you might not dream of doing alone you will mimic when it is part of a larger effort – like doing “the wave,” giving high-fives to total strangers, or singing your lungs out in public! The experiences are memorable and often magical.
As individuals it is so important to find ourselves in circumstances whereby others exploring the same opportunity or supporting the same cause surround us. It brings comfort and meaning, elation or tears, and new meaning to life’s experiences. Consider the healing that occurs when we come together after major events like 9/11 or the Boston Marathon Bombing or the loss of a well-respected hero. Those events unify us through dialogue and discourse and through love and compassion. These experiences are an important part of what makes us uniquely human — The opportunity to come together and gain strength through our unity.
So powerful was the Women’s March on Washington that it evoked support from around the world, unifying woman’s collective voice and calls for equality. While the event started as a challenge to Donald Trump’s Presidency, what it brought about was an opportunity for unification, solidarity and clarity of purpose.
Social movements don’t happen overnight. Martin Luther King’s March on Washington was a decade in the making and the calls for civil rights, equality and justice, decades longer. Yet the Women’s March was organized in a few short months and broke records for its universal participation levels and peaceful conduct. Now the question becomes what happens next? Was this march the start of a new movement, the culmination of years of pent-up anger, or simply a reflection of today’s times? Or was it all of the above and more, a simple act of concern for our future and our world?
Whatever the reason, the power and magic of this global experience needs to continue. Not so much in rebuke of America’s new President, but because it is the people who make government work. It is people who set the tone, which chart the course and whose collective voices move mountains and create policy. It is the people who cast votes. It is people for whom laws are enacted and for which Government exists. People — women and men of all ages — means, preferences, backgrounds and ethnicities have a voice that is stronger when together than apart.
This week’s Women’s March on Washington and in similar marches all across the country and around the world demonstrated that. Yet only history will determine whether it was tantamount to a great sporting event or was truly the beginning of a new paradigm whereby our collective humanity rises above our need to identify with one political party, one nationality, one religion, or one gender.
Dan Singer is a newly appointed Board Member of the League of Women in Government and the former City Manager of the cities of Poway, Goleta and Ojai, California. Dan has over 25 years of experience in municipal management and has a Master of Public Administration degree from Syracuse University. Dan can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via website: www.dansinger.net.