The One Chant I Will Not Say

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Rebecca Forte at the Women's March on Washington, January 21, 2017

By Rebecca Forte

I have protested 6 times since the end of January. I am not paid to do this, but instead do so out of a compelling need to speak up against the injustices that I see.

There are many chants that I adore and project as loudly as I can: “We want a leader, not a creepy tweeter,” and “What do we do when we’re under attack? Stand up fight back!”

However, there is one chant that I will not say. I will not add my voice when others say, “Lock him up.”

Why? The jailing of political enemies is the work of fascist states, not democracies. To my knowledge, he has not committed a crime. If he has or does, I still believe in his right to due process.

When I protest, I am not blindly chanting. Instead, I am considering what I want.

I want a transparent, accountable government. I want a leader who leads with knowledge and reason and is comfortable seeking advice from those more knowledgeable to learn what he doesn’t yet know. I want someone who values the contributions of his citizens.

With that in mind, I want a leader who reaches out and is always trying to better understand our needs. This leader should weigh heavily any military action because each one has consequences for the military families involved. I want a leader who pauses and thinks before making any decision. After all, as the leader of the free world, his decisions matter.

In a Democracy, I have the right to free speech. I have the right to protest and decry any shortfalls that I see in the current administration. And in a Democracy, I don’t expect to be arbitrarily locked up without due process.

I don’t want that for 45 either, and you won’t hear me say it.

Rebecca Forte is a perpetual vagabond who is happy to settle down in Severna Park… for now.